In the span of two years, Running Man has been left by three of its members.
In the past year, Lee Kwang Soo, who had been a permanent member of Running Man for 11 years, decided to quit and leave the show that had boosted his popularity.
Two years later, in 2023, it was Jeon So Min’s turn to announce her departure from Running Man after being a regular member for 6 years.
Then, today (18/12), Ji Suk Jin, the oldest member of Running Man, announced through his agency that he would take a temporary hiatus for health recovery. However, Ji Suk Jin also stated that he would soon rejoin Running Man once his health is declared stable.
The departure of three members in a relatively short period has raised concerns about the continuity of Running Man’s broadcasts.
Running Man, which previously featured humorous interactions among 8 members, must now persist with only 5 members, including Yoo Jae Suk, Kim Jong Kook, Song Ji Hyo, Haha, and Yang Se Chan.
Furthermore, after Lee Kwang Soo’s departure, Running Man’s ratings experienced a decline. With the exits of Jeon So Min and Ji Suk Jin, there are fears that the show’s ratings may further decline.
The loss of members and declining ratings ultimately sparks speculation that Running Man may end its broadcast. The members’ aging factor, who are no longer young, and the physically demanding games have prompted fans to prepare for the possibility of Running Man announcing its final episode.
Some netizens expressed their opinions, such as, “Running Man doesn’t seem the same anymore. It seems like it’s time because shooting Running Man is quite challenging.”
“Running Man should either wrap up or be reborn with new members. 13 years is enough. The members are getting older, the show’s concept is stuck, and the ratings are hard to improve.”
“One by one, members resign and go on hiatus. It’s really sad; a show I’ve been watching for over 10 years is at risk of ending.”
In the last episode, Running Man members even jokingly mentioned renting out the vacant space left by Jeon So Min to other artists. However, the Running Man production team itself stated that they currently have no intention of finding replacements for Lee Kwang Soo or Jeon So Min.
Dealing with the absence of three Running Man members, the production staff seems to have to brainstorm even harder to maintain the show.
It’s not enough to boost ratings just by inviting famous artists; the games presented must remain relaxed yet exciting and humorous to increase public interest.