Running Man (TV series)

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Running Man
RunningMan.jpg
Don't walk, run!
Genre Game-variety show, Comedy
Starring Yoo Jae-suk
Gary
Haha
Ji Suk-jin
Kim Jong-kook
Lee Kwang-soo
Song Ji-hyo
Country of origin South Korea
Original language(s) Korean
No. of episodes 285 (as of February 7, 2016) (list of episodes)
Production
Producer(s) Im Hyung-taek
Ahn Jae-chul
Location(s) South Korea, Thailand, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan
Running time 60-95 minutes per episode
Release
Original network SBS
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
Audio format Stereo
Original release July 11, 2010 – Present
Chronology
Preceded by Family Outing 2
Related shows Good Sunday
Hurry Up, Brother
External links
Website
Korean name
Hangul
Revised Romanization Reon ning maen
McCune–Reischauer Rŏn ning man

Running Man (Korean: 런닝맨) is a South Korean variety show; forming part of SBS's Good Sunday lineup. It first aired on July 11, 2010, and as of 2015, it is currently the longest-running program, at five years on Good Sunday, surpassing X-Man's three and a half years.

Running Man was originally classified as an "urban action variety"; a genre of variety shows in an urban environment.[1] The MCs and guests were to complete missions at a landmark to win the race.[2] The show has since shifted to a more familiar reality-variety show concept focused on games. It has garnered attention as being the comeback program for Yoo Jae-suk, the main MC of the program, after leaving Good Sunday's Family Outing in February 2010.[3]

The show has become popular in other parts of Asia, even reaching its popularity outside Asia, and has gained online popularity among Hallyu fans, having been fansubbed into a number of languages by volunteers, such as English, Spanish, French, Thai, Malay, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indonesian, Myanmar, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian and Turkish.

Running Man is currently airing at 4:50pm KST every Sunday, as the first part of Good Sunday lineup, along with K-pop Star 5, a survival audition competition show as the second part.

Format[edit]

Current[edit]

As of episode 48, the members take part in a series of missions (see Missions below for details) to become the winner(s) at the end of the race. The format of the show moves away from the "race mission + other missions" format into strictly one long race with continuous missions during the race.

Previous[edit]

Special Series[edit]

Throughout the history of Running Man, special series have progressed with storytelling and movie-like episodes. Many of these series have been praised for their thrill and excitement, and are considered some of the more higher quality episodes of Running Man.[9]


Yoo-ames Bond[edit]

  • Episodes 38, 91, 140, 231

The Yoo-ames Bond series is famous for its protagonist, Yoo Jae-suk as Yoo-ames Bond, who is known to use a water gun to eliminate his foes to complete the mission. This series features Yoo Jae-suk against the other Running Man members, who do not know that Yoo Jae-suk is against them. In episode 38, during the Find The Guests mission, there was no guest and Yoo Jae-suk was given the mission to secretly eliminate the other members by spraying their name tag with a water gun. This was the first time Yoo-ames Bond appeared as a character. A year later, Yoo-ames Bond returned for his first anniversary in episode 91, where once again he is against the members. All members are arrested for various crimes they have committed. Yoo Jae-suk is given the opportunity of a pardon, where he must re-imprison the rest of the escaped members by spraying their name tags before they escape the building. If he is successful in re-imprisoning the other members, he will be free to leave while the other members continue to serve time. In Episode 140, it marked the second anniversary of Yoo-ames Bond, where he is framed for spreading the "anger virus" and infecting his fellow members. He must find that person who is impersonating him and eliminate them to retrieve the vaccine. At the end of both episodes (91 & 140), the words "Yoo-ames Bond Never Die" appeared, hinting at future episodes in the series. The later two episodes have been praised for being like a movie instead of a variety show.[10][11] In episode 196, the members "travelled back in time" to the second Yoo-ames Bond episode (Jail Breakers), giving the members a second chance at changing the results with a new protagonist.[12] In episode 231, Yoo-mes Bond makes a comeback but with a Successor this time. Yoo-ames Bond must work together with The Successor to take the members out, but with the rule of being together and to hand over the water gun to The Successor and order him to eliminate everyone. All members are barely eliminated, and with one final step to pass the test of becoming the 2nd Yoo-ames Bond's successor either by shooting Yoo Jae-suk's nametag and it will become a history for Yoo-ames Bond, or cease the shoot and continue on working together in the future as partners. But it predictably turns out that he failed as The Successor shoots and it backfires. It proves that the failed successor is a traitor and full of betrayal. In the end, Yoo-ames Bond wins the entire race. At the end of this episode, Yoo-ames Bond (Yoo Jae-suk) promises that the Yoo-mes Bond will "keep going"

Best of the Best Match[edit]

  • Episodes 42, 74, 130, 196, 257, 285

The Best of the Best Matches take place once in a while as the opportunity to decide who the best Running Man is. The first Best of the Best Match took place in episode 42 as a race to complete missions first then eliminate each other, with the last standing member declared as the first generation best Running Man. The second Best of the Best Match took place in episode 74 with a special twist. Each member was granted a superpower, and can use them to aid their efforts to eliminate the other members. Two times in a row, Gary emerged victorious becoming the best Running Man.[13] The third Best of the Best Match took place in episode 130 with a special story, where half of the race takes place in the year 1938 and then in 2013. The members are reincarnated in the process, must find who the final surviving member was in 1938, and who they have been reincarnated as today, to solve the mystery and win the race. Haha became the third generation best Running Man.[14] In episode 196, the members "travelled back in the time" to the second Best of the Best Match, giving the members a second chance at changing the results. The missions are : the 2nd Yoo-mes Bond, Sherlock Holmes, and Psychic Power. The Yoo-mes Bond and Sherlock Holmes mission are to determine the size of the nametag, while the Psychic Power mission is the name tag elimination game. This time Song Ji-hyo reigned as the Best 'Running Man'.[15] The fourth (official) Best of the Best Match took place in episode 257 with a twist. Instead of being alone, now the Running Man members are accompanied by heroes with special powers. However, the heroes didn't know their superpowers so they must go to somewhere else and complete a mission to obtain their superpowers. Later, the Running Man members with their own heroes face-to-face in a nametag elimination match, with the heroes being invincible and act as helpers in the match. This time, Yoo Jae-suk received the title as the Best 'Running Man'. In episode 285, the staff came up with missions created specifically for the cast using data from the past 6 years they have been together on Running Man involving strength, nerve, and agility. The first mission decided which member was cautious in keeping their name tag on at all times at several locations, whereas the second mission tested the nerves of each of the members while trying to pick up beads inside covered fish tanks containing various objects. The final mission, which was based on strength, was a simple "Standardized Name Tag Elimination" race. With Haha and Suk-jin noted for their disadvantages in the past, the members were equipped with name tags of various sizes based on ranking with additional gear (example: Kim Jong Kook wearing a giant name-tag with wings since he was the strongest, as well as wearing wristbands containing sandbags for extra weight, Gary wearing bells on his shoes). The final survivor of the race eventually turned out to be Haha, who won due to Song Ji-hyo's hair being stuck to her large-size name tag and Haha helping her remove the name tag.

Running Man Hunter[edit]

  • Episodes 52, 53, 69, 118

The Running Man Hunter series originated from episode 52, where Choi Min-soo was featured as a guest and was to eliminate all the members. He was later betrayed by Yoo Jae-suk in episode 53. During that race, Yoo Jae-suk agreed to work together with Choi Min-soo to place name tags on the other team's back first, before turning on each other. However, Yoo Jae-suk quickly placed Choi Min-soo's name tag on his back, eliminating him from the race. Choi Min-soo announced that he will return in a few months for revenge with what he calls, Grasshopper Hunting. He eventually returned in episode 69 as the Running Man Hunter, where the other members are tied up to a chair and confined in rooms in the landmark. Yoo Jae-suk is given four name tags and must save the six members then find the way to escape together before Choi Min-soo eliminates him four times. However, the way Choi Min-soo approached this was to great fear for Yoo Jae-suk. Choi Min-soo succeeded and Yoo Jae-suk proclaimed that the score was 1:1, one for eliminating him in episode 53 and one for being eliminated in episode 69.[16] Choi Min-soo returned a year later in episode 118 to finish off this rivalry with the grasshopper. Once again with a scary theme, he eliminates the other six members and provides Yoo Jae-suk a chance to face off with him for the final time, if he manages to find all 6 pieces of his nametag placed in the location where the members were eliminated. Although Yoo Jae-suk nearly eliminate him twice, the Hunter once again succeeds, marking an end to the Running Man Hunter series.[9] At the end of the episode when Yoo Jae-suk complained once again on the way he eliminate him, Choi Min-soo hinted at a possible return to the Running Man Hunter series in the future.

Running Man Football Special[edit]

  • Episodes 95-97, 153, 154, 199, 200, 283

The Running Man members first participated in the 2012 Asian Dream Cup held in Thailand. Kim Jong-kook and Gary were selected after completing missions from Park Ji-sung. Since then, Park Ji-sung has invited the members to participate in future Asian Dream Cup games. The 2013 match was held in China and Indonesia in 2014. In China, Yoo Jae-suk, Ha-ha, Kim Jong-kook, and Lee Kwang-soo were selected to play. In Indonesia, all members played except Song Ji-hyo. Each year, the members would participate in training missions with Park Ji-sung to prepare for the Asian Dream Cup prior to the actual match. After a year absence, the series returned on 2016, this time in the 2016 Smile Cup, a charity event in which Park Ji-sung was invited. This time, All members played in the game. Many of these episodes have featured past and current football stars that would otherwise be hard to see on television.[17]

Tru-Gary Show[edit]

  • Episodes 60, 265

Tru-Gary Show begins at episode 60, where Gary being assigned as a spy and was tasks to eliminate the members. Unbeknownst to him, his entire actions and plans were watched by the rest of the members, knowing that Gary is the spy. The members were later tasked to fool Gary until the end of recording. The hidden camera was a success and the members were awarded with prizes, more larger than Gary's. The series returned 4 years later, now set on the island. In this episode, the members and the guests were trapped on an island and must complete their nametag to escape. Gary was desperate at that time, as he must be present the next day to finish his new album. This eventually prompted the producers of the game to resurrect Tru-Gary Show, with the members and the guests must escape and left Gary alone in the island. The mission was eventually a success, with Gary completely tricked. The end of the episode reveals that Gary were allowed to go home with the rest of the members

Missions[edit]

Missions form the basis of Running Man as members try to avoid punishment in earlier episodes or to win prizes. Multiple missions are presented in each episode, with the highlight of Running Man being race missions.

Personnel[edit]

Cast[edit]

The original members of Running Man are Yoo Jae-suk, Ji Suk-jin, Kim Jong-kook, Haha, Lee Kwang-soo, Song Joong-ki, and Gary.[18] Song Ji-hyo was originally a guest for the second (episode 2-3) and third landmark (episode 4-5). She officially joined the program in the fourth landmark (episode 6) but was unable to attend until the fifth landmark (episode 7).[19] In April 2011, Song Joong-ki recorded his last episode (episode 41) in May, and has left the program to focus on his acting career but returned on episode 66 as a guest after leaving for almost half a year, and later made cameo appearances in several episodes.[20] Lizzy officially joined the program since episode 18, but has left the crew in episode 26 due to schedule conflicts with After School, the K-pop group she joined.

Current cast[edit]

Name Nickname(s) Duration Notes
Yoo Jae-suk Yoo-ruce Willis (유르스 윌리스)
Yoo Hyuk (유혁)
Yoo-mes Bond (유임스 본드)
Grasshopper (메뚜기)
Cicadanem (매미넴)
Ddakji King (딱지왕)
Episode 1 – present The main host of the show and known during the race missions for his escaping abilities and quick thinking. As a main host, he has been featured as a protagonist in many special episodes, which presented him with a nickname of Yoo-mes Bond. He is shown to have a closer relationship with a lot of the guests on the show, which he often boasts about to the other members. He is also often referenced to the color green throughout the show and is also known for his nickname "Grasshopper" from his first television appearances. He started off as a weak player during the race missions, but later becomes one of the strongest players in the series, and is, along with Kim Jong-kook, considered to be one of the two main powers in the race missions.
Gary Peaceful Gary (평온개리)
Straight-Going Gary (직진개리)
Tycoon (태풍)
Monday Boyfriend (월요남친)
Mr. Gary (개리 쒸)
Wild Gary (야생개리)
Sudden Commander (뜬금 능력자)
Random Mr. Capable (임의 씨 가능)
Squid (오징어)
Episode 1 – present Introduced alongside Lee Kwang-soo and Song Joong-ki as one of the "variety rookies" due to his lack of experience on variety shows prior to Running Man. He is shown as the most gullible but honest member. Throughout the series, he has been involved in the official loveline of the show alongside Song Ji-hyo. Although shown to be quite clueless at times, he is known as "The man full of surprises" and the "dark horse" of Running Man during race missions, highlighted when the show held the Best of the Best Match with him winning on two occasions.
Haha Haroro (하로로)
Roro (로로)
Penguin (펭귄)
Playboy (난봉꾼)
Kid (꼬마)
Schemer (모사꾼)
Episode 1 – present The primary joker of the cast and is usually picked on by other members because of his height and his similar appearance to Pororo the Little Penguin. He also has a tendency to feel as though he is the main lead in a movie created by his imagination. When things don't go his way, he lashes out verbally, causing great laughter among the cast. He is also the playboy of the cast, as he always confesses his love to female guests. However, this ended when he became engaged to singer Byul, changing to a "married man" and becoming rough to female guests. He was initially a weak player during the race missions, occasionally being picked on even while on the chasing team, however he has improved over the course of the show.
Ji Suk-jin Big Nose Older Brother (왕코형님)
Impala (임팔라)
Race Starter (레이스 스타터)
Yoo Jae Suk's Sunflower (유재석 의 해바라기)
Celebrity Paparazzi (연예인파파라치)
Episode 1 – present The oldest member of the show and one of Yoo Jae-suk's closest friends, knowing each other for more than 20 years. He is shown to be jealous of the good relationship between Yoo Jae-suk and Kim Jong-kook. During the race missions, he is shown to be one of the weakest members and is the easiest and most frequently eliminated out of the cast, so easily that the other members would declare that the race has officially started after his elimination.
Kim Jong-kook Sparta-kook (스파르타국)
Commander (능력자)
Kookie (꾹이)
Tiger (호랑이)
Coach Kook (꾹코치)
Mr. Capable (능력 씨)
Father-in-law (시아버지)
Kook-minator (꾹네이터)
Jong-sook (종숙)
Episode 1 – present The strongest man on the show, Kim Jong-kook is known for his strength and skill during the race missions. During the missions, he is known for his sudden appearances that are often accompanied by the soundbite "This is Sparta!" taken from the movie, 300. His smart tactics are often successful to eliminate the other members and as a result, he is known for having both brains and brawn. He is also shown at times to act cute and show off his aegyo. His only apparent weakness is women and he is often teased for having a particular fondness towards Yoon Eun-hye.
Lee Kwang-soo Framer Kwang-soo (모함광수)
Giraffe (기린)
Kwangvatar (광바타)
Betrayer Kwang-soo (배신광수)
Icon of Betrayal (배신의 아이콘)
Icon of Bad Luck (불운의 아이콘)
Prince of Asia (아시아 의 왕자)
God of Variety (예능신)
KwangToad (광주두꺼비)
Kwang-ja (광자)
Episode 1 – present The youngest and tallest member of the cast and initially introduced alongside Gary and Song Joong-ki as one of the "variety rookies" due to his lack of experience on variety shows prior to Running Man. During the earlier episodes he was known for framing his fellow members with embarrassing and often absurd rumours. He is often picked on by the rest of the cast, particularly Kim Jong-kook, due to his timid nature. He is one of the weakest players, often the first to be eliminated during race missions. However, he has grown to easily betray his fellow members without hesitation. His theme song is "Saint Agnes and the Burning Train" by Sting. It was revealed that he is one of the most popular member and earned a great reputation in various regions of Asia through the series, which left the others in shock.
Song Ji-hyo Blank Ji (멍지)
Ace (에이스)
Bad Ji-hyo (불량지효)
Monday Girlfriend (월요여친)
Song Ji-yok (송지욕)
Gold Ji-Hyo (금지효)
Goddess of Luck (행운의 여신)
Goddess of Sleep (잠의 여신)
Episode 2 – 5 (guest)
Episode 7 – present (regular)
The only current female member of the show and initially only appeared as a guest but was added to the main cast in episode 6. During the earlier episodes, Song Ji-hyo was often known to swear during broadcasts especially towards Haha and Lee Kwang-soo. She is also known to be often seen with confused or blank facial expressions a lot of the time. Throughout the series, she has been involved in the official loveline of the show alongside Gary. She is one of the strongest players during race missions with similar running and catching capabilities as well as comparable intelligence to Yoo Jae-suk and Kim Jong-kook.

Former cast[edit]

Name Nickname(s) Duration Notes
Lizzy Busan Girl (부산 소녀)
Cowardly Girl (겁 많은 소녀)
19 Years Old Girl (19 살 소녀)
Vitamin (비타민)
Episode 13 – 14 (guest)
Episode 18 – 25 (regular)
Initially appeared as a guest in episodes 13 and 14, but later joined the main cast in episode 18. Lizzy is known for her cute looks and "aegyo". As of episode 26, Lizzy has left Running Man due to scheduling conflicts between the show and After School activities. During her short period of time in Running man she did not develop a strong presence on the show due to low screen time.[21]
Song Joong-ki Flower Joong-ki (꽃중기)
Brain Joong-ki (브레인 중기)
Active Young Man (적극청년)
Detective Joong-ki (형사 중기)
Episode 1 – 41 (regular)
Episode 66 (guest)
Episode 71, 97, 251, 283 (cameo)
Introduced alongside Gary and Lee Kwang-soo as one of the "variety rookies" due to his lack of experience on variety shows prior to Running Man. He was shown as being the smartest and also having the best looks out of the cast. He was known for being able to figure out puzzles and strategize during the race missions. He was also shown to be very optimistic and is often seen attempting new things but ultimately failing. As of episode 41, he left the main cast to focus on his acting career.[20] However, he reappeared in episode 66 as a guest and also in episode 71 in a short cameo as part of his promotion for the drama, Deep Rooted Tree. He had a cameo on episode 97 as a soccer player for the 2012 Asian Dream Cup. He also had a cameo on episode 251 to meet the members. He was initially set as a guest for episode 283 for the 2016 Smile Cup, but later appeared in that episode as a special appearance only due to his injury to his knee, preventing him from taking part in the missions.

Relationships[edit]

Members Relation Details
Kim Jong-kook, Haha, Gary Kim Jong-kook and Two Kids (김종국과 아이둘)[22] A twist on the name of the former Korean band Seo Taiji and Boys (서태지와 아이들). In earlier episodes, Haha and Gary were often found in the same team, and were usually under the control of the domineering Kim Jong-kook. Thus, they are often shown as being afraid of Kim Jong-kook.
Gary, Song Ji-hyo Monday Couple (월요커플)[23]
Business Couple (비즈니스 커플)
The primary loveline of the show, they show interest in each other on Mondays, which is the day the show was filmed. It became a major loveline after Song Joong-ki left the program.[24] (Later, the show was filmed on both Mondays and Tuesdays, leading to jokes about the couple not being in effect on Tuesdays.)
Yoo Jae-suk, Kim Jong-kook Eternal Rivals (영원한 숙적)
Running Man's Two Pillars of Power (런닝맨 권력 양대산맥)
These two are often arguing, joking and fighting at each other when they meet. Usually Kim Jong-kook wins the battle. They have been known as rivals since the 1st episode. They are considered as two of the strongest players in the series.
Song Joong-ki, Song Ji-hyo Song-Song Couple (송송커플)[24]
Song-Song Siblings (송송남매)[25]
Another popular loveline, it first attracted attention from episode 15 when Song Joong-ki kissed Song Ji-hyo on the cheek. They later evolved into a siblings relationship as the Song-Song Siblings.
Kim Jong-kook, Song Ji-hyo Commander and Ace (능력자&에이스)[24]
Spartace (스파타에이스)[24]
The two are considered to be one of the strongest teams in Running Man since they first worked together from episode 21.
Lee Kwang-soo, Song Joong-ki Same-Aged Friends (동갑내기)[26] Lee Kwang-soo claims to be close friends with Song Joong-ki due to their same age (both born in 1985), but Song Joong-ki would often deny their close friendship, leaving Kwang-soo appearing depressed. Song Joong-ki finally admitted to their close friendship in his leaving speech during the filming of his last episode (Episode 41).
Yoo Jae-suk, Song Ji-hyo Candy Alliance (사탕동맹)
Yoo-Blank (유멍)
In episode 42, Song Ji-hyo gives Yoo Jae-suk a candy to make alliance with him. In the end, Song Ji-hyo betrays Yoo Jae-suk by ripping off his name tag.
Lee Kwang-soo, Ji Suk-jin New Dumb and Dumber (신형 덤앤더머)
Easy Brothers (이지 브라더스)
Feel, Touch, Cross! (필촉 크로스)[27]
The New Dumb and Dumber relation was first depicted in episode 65, when they became a duo, acting similarly to the Dumb and Dumber couple of Family Outing. Later, they were known as the Easy Brothers when they were designated spies for episode 68, and a clue was offered to the other members that threatened to reveal their identities. The clue was "Easy", a combination of their surnames 이(Lee, pronounced ee) and 지(Ji). Whenever they are paired up, they are also known for performing their "Feel, Touch, Cross!" (필, 촉, 크로스!) cheer before each mission.[28]
Kim Jong-kook, Ji Suk-jin, Lee Kwang-soo Serengeti (세렝게티)
Animal Kingdom (동물의 왕국)
Kook-Easy Brothers (국이지 브라더스)
This group has a set of animal nicknames. Kim Jong-kook is the tiger, Ji Suk-jin is the Impala and Lee Kwang-soo is the giraffe. When they are grouped, they always have an serengeti atmosphere as Kim Jong-kook says in episode 87.
Haha, Lee Kwang-soo Betrayal Masters (배신 마스터)
In the series, these two are known for betraying other members. In episode 99, they've given a spy mission to oust their kings respectively but they fail the mission.
Yoo Jae-suk, Lee Kwang-soo Yoo-Lee (유이)
Yoo-Lee, I miss you! (유이 보고 싶다)
Lee-Yoo (이유)[29]
This was formed when Yoo Jae-suk and Lee Kwang-soo was paired up as a team in Episode 90 by combining both their surnames together, 유(Yoo) and 이(Lee, pronounced ee). Throughout episode 90, Yoo Jae-suk and Lee Kwang-soo often does the "Yoo-Lee" cross. Often at which, Lee Kwang-soo would state that it sounds like the name of After School's UEE. They would say that they miss her. They would finally meet and become one team with her in episode 137. They also do the "Lee-Yoo" cross. They are pertaining to IU which is a popular Korean singer.
Lee Kwang-soo, Yoo Jae-suk, Ji Suk-jin Jail Regulars Trio (감옥 단골 3인방)[29]
Lee-Yoo-Ji Brothers (이유지 브라더스)
Running Man's Unlucky Trio (런닝맨 재수 3인방)
In earlier episodes, this trio was often eliminated the earliest during Bells Hide and Seek, and met each other at the jail. They are also known as Lee-Yoo-Ji, an evolved form of Easy Brothers. It was created when Ji Suk-jin was getting jealous of Lee Kwang-soo being close with Yoo Jae-suk, and calling themselves Lee-Yoo in episode 81. Asking whether Lee Kwang-soo was with Easy or the new Lee-Yoo, Yoo Jae-suk replies "that is the reason" ("the reason" is "Lee-Yoo-Ji" in Korean), and Ji Suk-jin reluctantly joins them to become Lee-Yoo-Ji, which is their last names put together. They are also known for being the most unlucky members in Running Man, particularly in missions.
Yoo Jae-suk, Ji Suk-jin Suk-Brothers (석브라더스)
Two-Suks (투석스)
The two MCs have been close friends for more than 20 years and that they both have "Suk" in their name. However, Ji Suk-jin is always jealous of the good relationship Jae-suk has with Kim Jong-kook. In episode 27, Ji Suk-jin was referred to as Yoo Jae-suk's "sunflower" (always facing towards him) and was officially christened as such in Episode 40.
Kim Jong-kook, Haha My Big Brother and My Little Brother (우리 형, 내 동생)[30] These two are often on the same team and they have an endearing older brother/little brother relationship throughout the show and often address each other as such in a playful manner. The two have performed and toured together as the Running Man Brothers.
Haha, Yoo Jae-suk Ha-Suk (하석) This "loveline" was formed after the announcement that Song Ji-hyo was dating the CEO of her company in episode 82. Ji Suk-jin commented that a new loveline was needed in the show. Following which, Haha commented that he was preparing for a love line and Yoo Jae-suk immediately jokingly replied, saying that he couldn't sleep because he has been thinking about Haha too much. They often argue with each other with the superpowers given on episode 74. "The one who controls time" and "The one who drives me crazy" are the top two said by Yoo Jae-suk and Haha.
Kim Jong-kook, Lee Kwang-soo Kook-soo (국수)
Tiger and Giraffe (호랑이와 기린)[31]
This was formed in episode 82 when Lee Kwang-soo and Kim Jong-kook were paired into a team. Since Kim Jong-kook resembles a tiger and Lee Kwang-soo resembles a giraffe, their relationship is known as Tiger and Giraffe. This happened again in episode 84 where Lee Kwang-soo and Kim Jong-kook were chosen by the opposing team to pair up together with paper handcuffs, leaving both of them stuck to each other for the rest of the episode. The two show a Tom and Jerry-esque relationship.[32]
Haha, Ji Suk-jin, Lee Kwang-soo Betrayer's Club (배신자 클럽)[33] After Haha and Lee Kwang-soo became betrayal masters, Ji Suk-jin was added and they became the Betrayal Team. They were known for their constant betrayals in missions. They could even betray each other, thus distrust always exist in the team. In episode 146, there was an episode featuring them, where they were listed as the Betrayer's Club who attempts to steal a treasure.
Song Ji-hyo, Lee Kwang-soo Mong-Kwang Siblings (멍광남매) These two are often playing at each other, sometimes they are fighting but if you look closer, they take care of each other like close siblings.
Haha, Gary Two Kids (아이둘)
Real Rivals (레알라이벌)
The rivalry between Haha and Gary had existed since way back but was just recently confirmed in episode 275 where they'd have been bickering a lot more than usual in the past few episodes. Ironically, they were often in the same team and have won in many occasions.

Production staff[edit]

The staff both run the games and often show up influencing the outcome of various missions and sometimes even actively participate or show up on camera. This includes the personal cameramen (VJs), production directors (PDs), floor directors (FDs), stylists, boom operators, and so on.

Chief producer, Nam Seung-yong, is responsible for the production of the program, with PD Jo Hyo-jin, Im Hyung-taek, and Kim Joo-hyung[34] mainly responsible for the directing and production of the recordings of the program since inception. Other PDs have joined the program to assist as the program shifts from a single landmark to multiple locations for recording, notably Hwang Seon-man and Lee Hwang-jin. FD Go Dong-wan assists in the recordings of the program and is known to be shown on camera many times, as well as delivering and assisting the members in missions. Producer Kim Joo-hyung has left the show as of episode 182 as he was reassigned to The Music Trend.[35]

Each member has their own personal cameramen who follow them around exclusively during recordings. Notable cameramen include Ryu Kwon-ryeol (Yoo Jae-suk’s primary VJ), Kim Yoo-seok (Ji Suk-jin’s primary VJ), Choi Yoon-sang (Lee Kwang-soo’s primary VJ), Yoon Sung-yong (Haha’s primary VJ), Sung Gyu (Song Ji-hyo’s primary VJ), Ham Jung-hwa (Gary’s primary VJ), and Kim Ki-jin (Kim Jong-kook’s primary VJ).

On November 19, 2014, the show's head director, Cho Hyo-jin, announced his departure from the show after working with the members for four years.[36]

List of episodes and guests[edit]

List of episodes[edit]

Series overview[edit]

Year Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
2010 23 July 11, 2010 (July 11, 2010) December 26, 2010 (December 26, 2010)
2011 51 January 2, 2011 (January 2, 2011) December 25, 2011 (December 25, 2011)
2012 52 January 1, 2012 (January 1, 2012) December 30, 2012 (December 30, 2012)
2013 52 January 6, 2013 (January 6, 2013) December 29, 2013 (December 29, 2013)
2014 49 January 5, 2014 (January 5, 2014) December 28, 2014 (December 28, 2014)
2015 52 January 4, 2015 (January 4, 2015) December 27, 2015 (December 27, 2015)
2016 TBA January 3, 2016 (January 3, 2016) TBA

List of guests[edit]

Many guests have taken part in Running Man. The following is a compilation of guests and the number of times they have been on the show. With regards to guest-turned-members (Song Ji-hyo) or former members of the show (Song Joong-ki), only the times they were a guest are counted.

Reception[edit]

Kim Jong-kook (middle) and Haha (right) in Dallas in 2014, at a Running Man Brothers concert
Five of Running Man's permanent cast (Haha, Lee Kwang-soo, Song Ji-hyo, Kim Jong-kook and Ji Suk-jin) in Malaysia at a fan meeting

The first episode of the show received mixed reviews, according to Asiae the show concept was promising but the crew could not use the location to full potential and the pace was not fast and dynamic enough.[37]

Despite a slow start, Running Man became increasingly popular in South Korea and throughout Asia.[38][39][40][41][42] In its home country the show is watched by 2.1 million people on average.[43] Due to the existence of fansubs, it is watched outside of Asia as well, being translated into English, Spanish and Arabic, among others.[44]

According to the The Straits Times, the popularity of the show is due to its unpredictability, the comedy involved, the celebrity guests and the chemistry between the regular cast members.[45] Assistant professor Liew Kai Khiun at the Nanyang Technological University attributes the appeal of Running Man to the ability of using public space in a creative way: "Running Man is about taking audiences to the various corners of not only South Korea, but the region as well. In the rather fast-paced urban societies in Asia, the show helps to provide release from the daily tensions that such streets and buildings are associated with."[45] Liew thinks that the cast members are not particularly good looking, thus have nothing to lose, even if they "wrestle with one another like children".[45]

According to producer Jo Hyo-jin, the show is popular because the concept of having to choose a winner is culturally easy to understand. He also named the good relationship between the regular members as one of the reasons for the show's success.[46] Celebrity guests like Super Junior or Girls’ Generation play an important part in the success, as well, although they sometimes induce criticism, too. For example, after the airing of the Big Bang episodes some viewers complained that the band won too easily, Jo Hyo-jin, however, denied any special treatment of the celebrities. Jo explained that fans are also highly critical of the games, therefore it is not possible for the crew to reuse games without changing them.[46]

The regular members of Running Man have held several fan meetings throughout Asia. In October 2013, their Singapore fan meeting drew a crowd of 3000.[47] When the cast arrived for shooting in Vietnam and other countries, they were greeted by thousands of fans at the airport.[48]

Ratings[edit]

In the ratings below, the highest rating for the show will be in red, and the lowest rating for the show will be in blue each year.

2010[edit]

2011[edit]

2012[edit]

2013[edit]

2014[edit]

2015[edit]

2016[edit]

International[edit]

Running Man Cast in Malaysia

In November 2011, the rights to air the show was sold to nine areas in Asia, namely Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Cambodia, and Malaysia proving Running Man’s rise in popularity as a Hallyu program.[51] In January 2013, SBS announced Running Man in Asia as one of the big projects of 2013. Producer Jo Hyo-jin, stated that the program would be touring two countries in Asia in the first half of 2013. The program has previously travelled to Thailand, China, and Hong Kong for filming. Jo Hyo-jin has also mentioned interests raised by Singaporean television stations in purchasing the Running Man format,[52] which reiterated Running Man’s popularity in Asia.[53]

Producer Im Hyung-taek confirmed that the program would be filming in Macau, China and Hanoi, Vietnam in early February,[54] and the respective episodes were aired on television in late February and early March. In February 2014, Jo Hyo-jin announced that the program was invited by the Australian Tourist Commission to film in Australia, and did so in mid-February which aired in March.[55][56]

In May 2014, it was announced that a Chinese version of Running Man called Hurry Up, Brother will air in the fourth quarter of 2014 on Zhejiang Television. Cast from the Korean version will participate in the Chinese version as well.[57] It was also reported that the crew were considering a episode set in Dubai.

International episodes[edit]

The popularity of Running Man throughout Asia provided the opportunity to take the show outside of South Korea. Running Man has traveled to various countries including China, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, Indonesia, and Taiwan. International episodes are notable for their ability to draw large groups of fans to mission venues.

Tour[edit]

The popularity of Running Man throughout Asia has also provided the opportunity for the production team to organize fan meeting tours in Asia since 2013.

Race Start! Running Man Fan Meeting Asia Tour 2013
Date City Country Venue Attendees
13 July 2013 Hong Kong Hong Kong AsiaWorld–Expo Gary, Haha, Ji Suk-jin, Kim Jong-kook
21 September 2013 Beijing China Beijing Exhibition Center
5 October 2013 Shanghai Shanghai Indoor Stadium
19 October 2013 Singapore Singapore Singapore Expo Gary, Haha, Ji Suk-jin, Kim Jong-kook, Song Ji-hyo
Race Start! Running Man Fan Meeting Asia Tour Season 2 2014
Date City Country Venue Attendees
27 September 2014 Bangkok Thailand Queen Sirikit National Convention Center Haha, Ji Suk-jin, Kim Jong-kook, Lee Kwang-soo, Song Ji-hyo
4 October 2014 Hong Kong Hong Kong AsiaWorld–Expo
25 October 2014 Jakarta Indonesia Istora Senayan
1 November 2014 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Stadium Negara
29 November 2014 Singapore Singapore The Star Performing Arts Centre
Race Start! Season 3-Running Man Special Tour 2015
Date City Country Venue Attendees
3 July 2015 Hong Kong Hong Kong AsiaWorld–Expo **All members**
21 August 2015 Shanghai China Mercedes-Benz Arena
18 September 2015[60] Chongqing Chongqing International Expo Center Gary, Haha, Ji Suk-jin, Kim Jong-kook, Lee Kwang-soo, Song Ji-hyo
23 October 2015[61] Beijing Capital Indoor Stadium **All members**
30 October 2015[61] Shenzhen Shenzhen Bay Sports Center Gary, Haha, Ji Suk-jin, Kim Jong-kook, Lee Kwang-soo, Song Ji-hyo
20 November 2015[62] Nanjing Nanjing Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium
11 December 2015[62] Wuhan Wuhan Gymnasium Yoo Jae-suk, Haha, Ji Suk-jin, Kim Jong-kook, Lee Kwang-soo, Song Ji-hyo

Awards and nominations[edit]

Total wins and nominations
Totals 39 52

Due to its popularity, Running Man has won numerous awards and has been nominated many times. As of 2015, Running Man has been nominated for 52 awards, winning 39.


References[edit]

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External links[edit]