Running Man (TV series)

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Running Man
런닝맨
Genre Game show
Reality show
Variety show
Comedy
Created by Jo Hyo-jin
Kim Joo-hyung
Im Hyung-taek
Directed by Jung Chul-min
Lee Hwan-jin
Park Yong-woo
Starring Yoo Jae-suk
Haha
Ji Suk-jin
Kim Jong-kook
Lee Kwang-soo
Song Ji-hyo
Jeon So-min
Yang Se-chan
Former members:
Gary
Lizzy
Song Joong-ki
Country of origin South Korea
Original language(s) Korean
No. of episodes 355(as of June 18, 2017) (list of episodes)
Production
Producer(s) Jung Chul-min
Lee Hwan-jin
Park Yong-woo
Location(s) South Korea, Thailand, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Australia, Europe, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, Russia
Camera setup Multi-camera setup
Running time 80-90 minutes per episode
Production company(s) Urban Works Media
Distributor SBS
Release
Original network SBS
Picture format HDTV 1080i
Audio format Stereo
Original release July 11, 2010 – Present
Chronology
Preceded by Family Outing 2
Related shows Good Sunday
Running Man China
External links
Website program.sbs.co.kr/builder/programMainList.do?pgm_id=00000330171
Production
website
www.gorunningman.com
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.

Running Man was 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, and has gained online popularity among Hallyu fans, having been fansubbed into some languages by international audiences, such as English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Malay, Indonesian, Burmese, Arabic, Russian, and Turkish.[4][5]

The show has made it to the list of Business Insider's 20 TV Shows of 2016.[6]

Since April 2017, Running Man is airing as the first part of Good Sunday at 4:50 pm KST and competing against KBS2's The Return of Superman and MBC's King of Mask Singer.[7] Running Man previously aired at 6:25 pm KST on Sundays, as the second part of Good Sunday, airing after Flower Crew, competing against KBS2's 1 Night 2 Days and MBC's Secretly Greatly.

Format[edit]

Current[edit]

As of episode 48, the members take part in a series of missions to become the winner(s) at the end of the race. 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. The format of the show moves away from the "race mission + others", to "one continuous race + missions"

Previous[edit]

Episode 1[edit]

The MCs and guests were locked in a landmark during closed hours and were required to leave before opening hours. In the first episode, they were divided into two teams and raced to find the codes hidden within the landmark that were required to unlock the main doors.[8] With a total of 5 numbers, after one was found, a game was played to determine which team would start first in the next race, and the losing team received a punishment while the other team was given a head start. After all the numbers had been found by either of the teams, they approached the main door and entered the code which they believed was correct. The exact team was allowed to leave the landmark while the losing team was required to complete a punishment inside the landmark.[9]

Episodes 2–5[edit]

From the second episode to the fifth episode, both teams competed to find golden pigs filled with money that was hidden within the landmark and participated in games in the attempt to win more money. At the end of each episode, the team with the most money was declared the winner and was allowed to leave the landmark while the losing team received a punishment. The money collected by the teams was donated in the winning team's honor. Viewers could vote on the official Running Man homepage on who they believed would be the winning team, and a lucky audience who guessed correctly was allowed to have his/her name included in the donation.[10]

Episodes 6–10[edit]

From episodes 6 to 10, a consistent game format was used where both teams competed to obtain the most Running Man Balls (shortened to Running Balls in future episodes). Running Balls were awarded to the team that found a ball, and were also given to individuals who won a game, who received a Running Ball of their team's color (blue or red).[11] Each of the games and races was referred to as missions, and were as follows:

  • Mission 1 featured games related to the landmark. Previously, the Photo Zone Game was played at every landmark.
  • Mission 2 was the race mission.
  • Mission 3 was Leisure Time for a Cup of Tea. This mission was discontinued after episode ten due to controversies.[12]
  • Mission 4 was Morning Team Sports. This mission aired in full only in episode six and only highlights were shown in episode seven due to time constraints.

At the end of each episode, the Running Man Balls collected throughout the night were placed into a lottery machine, and the color of the first ball ejected determined the winning team for the evening. The losing team was required to commute home using public transportation while undertaking an embarrassing punishment.

Episodes 11–25[edit]

As of the eleventh episode, the Running Man members and guests were no longer split into two main teams except for during the race mission, with smaller teams or individual game-play being used during the other missions. Everyone individually earned Running Balls throughout the missions and the balls selected during the lottery machine segment represented the individuals who were the winners for the night. The format of missions was also changed:

  • Mission 1 was Challenge 1 vs. X.
  • Mission 2 was Find the Thief. From episode 15 this was changed to different games related to the landmark.
  • Mission 3 was the race mission, Bells Hide and Seek.

As of the eighteenth episode, only those who had earned no Running Balls at all throughout the night were the ones to be punished.

Episodes 26–43[edit]

Beginning with the twenty-sixth episode, the race mission, Bells Hide and Seek, was replaced with a Find the Guests mission. The MCs and guests were locked inside a landmark and were required to earn Running Balls for a chance to escape punishment. Through a series of missions, the Running Man members were divided into teams and/or individually earned Running Balls. The format for the missions in episodes 26 to 43 were:

  • Mission 1 was the race mission, Find the Guests. From episodes 39 to 41, it was Catch the Running Man.
  • Mission 2 featured games related to the landmark.
  • Mission 3 was the One Chance challenge, which was played in episodes 27 to 31.

If there were many members with no Running Balls, they were automatically punished and no lottery was conducted. Additionally, if the members succeeded in the One Chance mission, they were all relieved of the punishment regardless of how many Running Balls each of them possessed.

As of episode 38 and onwards, there were some episodes which included spy/spies. These spies could either be part of the cast, guest, or both.

Episodes 44–47[edit]

From episodes 44 to 47, staff (of the landmark location involved in the game) voted for who they believed would be the overall winner of the games and became supporters of that member/team. Teams were decided by the winner of the race mission, who received the first Running Ball, and the two teams then competed for more Running Balls throughout missions spread over two days (two episodes). The format for the missions was as follows:

  • Mission 1 was the race mission, Find the Guests.
  • Mission 2 featured missions related to the staff of the landmark.
  • Mission 3 was a second race mission.
  • Mission 4 featured missions related to the landmark.

The team with the most Running Balls was declared the winner and their supporters received a bonus from their boss.

Episodes 119, 131, 144[edit]

In these episodes, the members would arrive at the starting venue separately. An announcer would announce that "The XX Running Man is entering the arena". This announcement would include the guests for the day. After all the guest were introduced, the announcer would immediately announce their first mission. The race would officially begin after the first mission ends. The winner of the first mission would be given an advantage to his/her team in the race. The format for the missions are as follows:

  • Mission 1 was the opening mission: Name Tag Elimination
  • Mission 2 onwards would follow the usual format of the show: one long race with continuous missions during the race.

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.[13]

Yoo-mes Bond[edit]

The Yoo-mes Bond series is famous for its protagonist, Yoo Jae-suk as Yoo-mes Bond, who is known to use a water gun to eliminate his foes to complete his missions. This series features Yoo Jae-suk against the other Running Man members, who do not know Yoo Jae-suk's identity or mission.

Episode(s) Airdate(s) Guest(s) Notes
38 April 10, 2011 No guests Yoo Jae-suk was given the mission to secretly eliminate the other members by spraying their name tag with a water gun.
91 April 22, 2012 All members were arrested for various crimes they have committed. Yoo Jae-suk was given the opportunity of a pardon, where he must re-imprison the escaped members by spraying their name tags before they can 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.
140 April 7, 2013 Yoo Jae-suk was framed for spreading the "anger virus" and infecting his fellow members. He must find that person impersonating him and eliminate them to retrieve the vaccine.
196 May 18, 2014 The members "traveled back in the time" to the second Yoo-mes Bond mission, giving the members a second chance at changing the results.[14]
231 January 25, 2015 Yoo-mes Bond must work together with "The Successor" to eliminate the other members, but they must stay together and Yoo Jae-suk decided who and when they must eliminate the members.
318-319 September 25, 2016-October 2, 2016 Tasked to be a "Scene Stealer", Yoo-mes Bond must obtain the highest number of views by stealing others' views.
336 January 29, 2017 Gary (Leessang) During the sixth "Best of the Best Match", Yoo-mes Bond had to shoot other members' name tag with a water gun to get them ousted in the final mission.

At the end of both episodes 91 and 140, the words "Yoo-mes Bond Never Die" appeared, hinting at future episodes in the series. These two episodes have been praised for being like a movie instead of a variety show.[15][16] In episode 196, the members "travelled back in time" to the second Yoo-mes Bond episode (Jail Breakers), giving the members a second chance at changing the results with a new protagonist.[17]

Best of the Best Match[edit]

The "Best of the Best Matches" take place once in a while as the opportunity to decide who is the best "Running Man".

Episode(s) Airdate(s) Guest(s) Notes
42 May 8, 2011 No guests A race to complete missions first then eliminate each other, with the last standing member declared as the first generation best "Running Man".
74 December 25, 2011 Each member was granted a superpower, which can be used to aid their efforts to eliminate the other members.[18]
130 January 27, 2013 A special story, where half of the race takes place in the year 1938 and the other half in 2013. The members are reincarnated in the process, and must find who the final surviving member was in 1938, and who they have been reincarnated as the present time, to solve the mystery and win the race.[19]
196 May 18, 2014 The members "traveled back in the time" to the second Best of the Best Match, giving the members a second chance at changing the results.[20]
257 July 26, 2015 Hong Jin-ho,
Hyun Joo-yup,
Kim Yeon-koung,
Shin Soo-ji,
Song Jong-gook
Instead of being alone, now the Running Man members are accompanied by heroes with special powers. However, the heroes do not know of their superpowers so they must complete a mission to obtain their superpowers. Later, the members with their own heroes face-off in a name tag elimination match, with the heroes acting as helpers.
285 February 7, 2016 No guests The production staff created 3 missions created specifically for the members using data from the past 6 years they have been together on Running Man; involving agility, nerve, and strength. The results of the missions determine the conditions for the final mission, which was a "Standardized Name Tag Elimination" race — each member are given advantages or disadvantages to create equal attributes among the members.
336 January 29, 2017 Gary (Leessang) Gary and the production staff hosted another "Best of the Best Match" where, at the beginning, each member must complete missions to determine their superpowers and its level. The final mission is a name tag elimination race.

Running Man-Grasshopper Hunting[edit]

"Running Man Hunter" is an epithet given to Choi Min-soo who is tasked to eliminate the Running Man members. There is a rivalry between him and Yoo Jae-suk, who betrayed him during his first attempt in the mission. Since then, he had return to appear in the program to hunt the members and always leave Yoo Jae-suk to be the last surviving member.

Episode(s) Airdate(s) Guest(s) Notes
52-53 July 17, 2011-July 24, 2011 Choi Min-soo,
Yoon So-yi
Choi Min-soo was tasked to eliminate all the members. He was later betrayed by Yoo Jae-suk who previously 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.
69 November 20, 2011 Choi Min-soo The other members are tied up to a chair and confined in different rooms. Yoo Jae-suk was given four name tags and must save the six members and to find the way to escape together before Choi Min-soo eliminates him four times.[21]
118 November 4, 2012 Choi Min-soo eliminates every member, except Yoo Jae-suk and at left a piece of his name tag at the place where they were eliminated. Yoo Jae-suk must collect all six pieces to defeat Choi Min-soo.[13]

At the end of the episode 118, Choi Min-soo hinted at a possible return to the Running Man Hunter series in the future.

Running Man Olympics[edit]

The Running Man members competes with guests and each other in order to win the "Olympic" battle.

Episode(s) Airdate(s) Guest(s) Notes
86 March 18, 2012 Gaeko (Dynamic Duo),
Ha Ji-won
They were grouped into three (Red, Blue, Yellow) and they were tasked to finish the Olympics courses in order to win the gold medal. The courses were bowling, badminton, high jump, and name tag ripping relay.
104 July 22, 2012 Eun-hyuk (Super Junior),
Ham Eun-jeong (T-ara),
Jung Yong-hwa (CNBLUE),
Lee Joon (MBLAQ),
Nickhun (2PM),
Si-wan (ZE:A),
Yoon Doo-joon (Beast)
They were tasked to defeat the other team in the courses—name tag relay, trampoline volleyball, pool hurdles, and the hide-and-seek switch off.
129 January 20, 2013 Jung Yong-hwa,
Lee Jong-hyun (CNBLUE),
Kwang-hee (ZE:A),
L (Infinite),
Lee Joon (MBLAQ),
Min-ho (Shinee),
Sulli (f(x))
Instead of getting a gold medal, the winner received gold colored name tags.
184 February 9, 2014 Baro (B1A4),
Kang Ye-won,
Park Seo-joon,
Seo In-guk,
Son Ho-jun
They were to compete against each other on various courses—speed-skating relay race, test of concentration while crossing the stream, test of teamwork to get the flag, and the name tag ripping on ice.

Running Man Football[edit]

The Running Man members were given a chance to participate in charity football matches alongside Park Ji-sung. Each year, the members would participate in training missions with Park Ji-sung to prepare for the football game prior to the match.

Episode(s) Airdate(s) Guest(s) Notes
95-97 May 20, 2012-June 3, 2012 Park Ji-sung,
IU
The 2012 Asian Dream Cup held in Thailand. Kim Jong-kook and Gary were selected after completing missions given by Park Ji-sung.
153-154 July 7, 2013-July 14, 2013 Park Ji-sung,
Koo Ja-cheol,
Sulli (f(x)),
Patrice Evra
The 2013 Asian Dream Cup held in Shanghai, China. You Jae-suk, Kim Jong-kook, Haha, and Lee Kwang-soo were selected by Park Ji-sung and Patrice Evra.
199-200 June 8, 2014-June 15, 2014 Park Ji-sung The 2014 Asian Dream Cup held in Indonesia. All members, except Song Ji-hyo, were able to participate in the game.
283 January 24, 2016 Park Ji-sung,
Jong Tae-se,
Ji So-yun
The 2016 Smile Cup held in Shanghai, China. All members were able to participate in the game.[22]

Tru-Gary Show[edit]

Gary, who is gullible and unable to lie, has been asking the production staff to give him a spy mission. However, when the production staff decided to give him the mission, they decided to trick him and created hidden camera episodes instead.

Episode(s) Airdate(s) Guest(s) Notes
60 September 11, 2011 No guests Gary was assigned as a spy and was tasked 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.
265 September 20, 2015 John Park,
Kyuhyun (Super Junior),
Rap Monster (BTS),
Ye-eun (Wonder Girls)
The members and the guests were trapped on an island and must find and complete their name tags to escape before the the exit path is closed, which will caused them to stay overnight. Unbeknownst to Gary, the production staff informs the other members and guests to prevent Gary from completing his mission and make him the last member to stay in the island.

Long-term Projects[edit]

Since 2017, Running Man has been initiating various long-term projects, which span over multiple episodes with a single objective, rather than the previous episodic format.

Member's Week[edit]

  • Episodes 333-337, 339-340

This is a Running Man project to celebrate the members hard work for more than seven years, which allow members to choose a theme for each week and allowed to construct the episode as they wish.

  • The first week was Song Ji-hyo's week and she decided to go on an MT Trip, but the PD put a twist and set it during the freezing cold weather.
  • The second week was Kim Jong-kook's week, which he decided to leave his theme to the PD. So, the production staff decided to set a blind date for him.
  • The third week was Ji Suk-jin's week and he designed a special prison for the members with himself as the boss. In the end, the mission was to escape from prison and attend Ji Suk-jin's renewal vows ceremony with his wife.
  • The fourth week was Gary's week and he decided to hold the sixth "Best of the Best Match" episode, but as a twist, the members were not told who is the week's host and Gary's involvement in the episode.
  • The fifth week was Haha's week and the producers prepared various missions where he had to keep making difficult choices. Eventually, the final mission was to prevent Haha from winning because the other members already prepared a surprise to congratulate Haha's second to-be-born son.
  • The sixth week was Yoo Jae-suk's week, where he held an athletic competition and invited several guests to join with a twist for the final mission.
  • The seventh and final week was Lee Kwang-soo's week and he planned a night trip with other members to prove their loyalty and bond of friendship. He designed a twist to get revenge for always making him the first person to be suspected in the past episodes.

During the course of the special episodes, Lee Kwang-soo is the only cast member that did not get water-bombed. Yoo Jae-suk is the only cast member who got water-bombed twice, while Ji Suk-jin's water-bombed moment during the preparation episode for the Member's Week project was not aired.

Global Race[edit]

  • Episodes 346-354

This is a Running Man project to commemorate the new members and production staff shift. It involves filming the program in overseas locations with penalties involve visiting dangerous tourist attractions around the world. The penalties are given to members that have collected three Tourist Cards, which are given when they lost during missions.

  • The first global race took place in Osaka, Taipei and Jeju-do. The members are separated into three groups with each group going to a different place. The Osaka Team is given a mission to find a bathhouse owned by someone named Suzuki, the Taipei Team needs to eat five different local cuisines, and the Jeju-do Team must join a group of female divers to catch octopus.
  • The second global race took place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and Vladivostok, Russia. The members are separated into two groups with each group going to a different place. The Mongolia Team is given a mission to find a descendant of Genghis Khan and milk 4 liters of sheep's milk and the Russia Team must catch a king crab and ten different types of fish.
  • The final global race took place in Japan. Yoo Jae-suk, Ji Suk-jin, Lee Kwang-soo, Jeon So-min and Yang Se-chan visited the Fuji-Q Highland amusement park to complete a mission in its "Super Scary Labyrinth of Fear" attraction. Meanwhile, Haha, Kim Jong-kook and Song Ji-hyo visited Yokohama where their expenditures affected the other members' mission.

1% People's Recommendation[edit]

  • Episodes 355-TBA

This is a Running Man project where the production staff would accept unique recommendations for tourist attractions made by the minorities. Only two Running Man members are chosen to complete the project, signified by the accumulation of three I-Go Stickers.

Personnel[edit]

Cast[edit]

The original members of Running Man are Yoo Jae-suk, Gary, Haha, Ji Suk-jin, Kim Jong-kook, Lee Kwang-soo, and Song Joong-ki.[23] 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).[24] 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.[25] Lizzy was initially a guest for episode 13 and episode 14, but later officially joined the program, starting episode 18. However, she has left the crew since episode 26 due to schedule conflicts with After School, the K-pop group she joined. She later makes a comeback as a guest in episode 292, after 5 years since her last appearance.[26][27] On October 25, 2016, Gary announced to be leaving the show to focus on his music career after being with Running Man for 6 years, but later returned as a guest, only a week after his final recording.[28] On April 3, 2017, it was confirmed through various media outlets that Running Man is adding actress Jeon So-min and comedian Yang Se-chan. The decision came after seeing their chemistry with the other members and their performances during their time as guests.[29]

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)
Yoda (요다)
Grasshopper King (뚜기왕)
Episode 1 – present The main host of the show, who is known for his escaping abilities and quick thinking during race missions. 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 close 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. His theme songs are "Step by Step" by New Kids on the Block and "Extreme Ways" by Moby. His official colour is green.
Haha Haroro (하로로)
Roro (로로)
Mad/Crazy Haroro (미친 하로로)
Penguin (펭귄)
Playboy (난봉꾼)
Kid (꼬마)
Schemer (모사꾼)
Ha-Rad Pitt (하래드 피트)
Octopus (주꾸미)
Spaghetti (스파게티)
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 very 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, highlighted when he won the Best of the Best Match two times, along with Gary who also held the same title. He was shown to be in a rivalry with Gary, before the latter left the show. His theme songs are "Perfect Love" by Lutricia McNeal and the theme song of Pororo the Little Penguin. His official colour is yellow.
Ji Suk-jin Big Nose (왕코)
Impala (임팔라)
Race Starter (레이스 스타터)
Yoo Jae Suk's Sunflower (유재석 의 해바라기)
Celebrity Paparazzi (연예인파파라치)
Suk-ja (석자)
Ji-dolph (지돌프)
Episode 1 – present The oldest member of the show and one of Yoo Jae-suk's closest friends, having known 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. Dubbed the "Race Starter" during the race missions, he is shown to be one of the weakest members and is the most frequently eliminated, so easily that the other members would declare that the race has officially started after his elimination. He is also the most gullible among the cast, as he gets easily tricked, particularly towards business investments, though he is also sometimes portrayed to be smart, particularly towards Korean history. His theme song is "House You Live In" by Park Jin-young. His official colour is orange.
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 member of the cast, 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 show off his aegyo. His only apparent weakness is women and he is often teased for having a particular fondness towards Yoon Eun-hye. His theme songs are "What We Need Is A Hero" by Alan Silvestri and his own song, "One Man". His official colour is red.
Lee Kwang-soo Framer Kwang-soo (모함광수)
Dance Machine (댄싱 머신)
Giraffe (기린)
Giraffe's Tricks (꼼수 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 (광두꺼비)
Kwang-ja (광자)
Lee Sa-rang (이사랑)
Man who Easily Falls in Love (쉽게 사랑게 빠지는 남자/쉽사빠)
10-Slot Kwang-soo (십광수)
20-Slot Kwang-soo (이십광수)
Kawaii (카와이)
Episode 1 – present The tallest member of the cast, 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 rumors. 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. He is also known to be one of the most unluckiest member, having earned the worst results in nearly every luck-based missions. It was revealed that he is one of the most popular members and earned a great reputation in various regions of Asia through the series, which left the others in shock. His theme song is "Saint Agnes and the Burning Train" by Sting. His official colour is black.
Song Ji-hyo Blank Ji (멍지)
Ace (에이스)
Bad/Gangster Ji-hyo (불량지효)
Monday Girlfriend (월요여친)
Song Ji-yok (송지욕)
Beardy Ji-hyo (수염지효)
Gold Ji-hyo (금지효)
Goddess of Luck (행운의 여신)
Goddess of Sleep (잠의 여신)
Finger Lady (손가락 숙녀)
Episode 2 – 5 (guest)
Episode 7 – present (regular)
The bravest and luckiest member of the show, who 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 often seen with confused or blank facial expressions most 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. Her theme song is the Angry Birds theme song. Her official colour is purple.
Jeon So-min Female Kwang-soo (여자 광수)
Female Traitor (여성 반역자)
Missing Person (누락 된 사람)
Wandering Girl (떠돌아 다니는 여자)
Crazy (돌아이)
Parrot (앵무새)
Episode 224, 343 (guest)
Episode 346 – present (regular)
One of the youngest members of the show, who initially appeared as a guest for a couple of episodes. She was officially added to the main cast since episode 346. She is often referred as the female version of Lee Kwang-soo because of her attitude to turn back from her team and betray them, and she is often paired as Lee Kwang-soo's partner by the other members. She also loves to wander around by herself and suddenly missing as she doesn't care about the missions with her team. Her official colour is dark blue.
Yang Se-chan Strawberry Yang (양딸기)
The New King of Misfortunes (불운의 새로운 왕)
Number 8 (여덟 번째)
The Emerging Unlucky Guy (신흥꽝손)
Episode 321, 323 (guest)
Episode 346 – present (regular)
One of the youngest members of the show, who initially appeared as a guest for a couple of episodes. He was officially added to the main cast since episode 346. Since becoming a member, he quickly becomes a member of the unlucky group along with Yoo Jae-suk, Ji Suk-jin and Lee Kwang-soo. He is also referred as the #8, in terms of appearance. His official colour is grey.

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, 292 (guest)
Episode 18 – 25 (regular)
Formerly known as the youngest member of the show (at 19 years old), Lizzy is known for her cute looks and her "aegyo". She originally appeared as a guest in episodes 13 and 14, but later joined the main cast in episode 18. She also uses a unique Busan dialect when speaking. Lizzy has left Running Man since episode 26. Her reason for leaving was never mentioned in the show, but possibly due to scheduling conflicts between the show and After School activities. After 5 years of not appearing in the show, she makes a comeback as a guest in episode 292.[26][27] Her theme song is "A-ing", by After School's sub-unit Orange Caramel. Her official colour is pink.
Song Joong-ki Flower Joong-ki (꽃중기)
Pretty Boy Joong-ki (꽃미남중기)
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)
The visual member of the show, who was 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 known for his intelligence, enthusiasm and optimism, often trying out new things and attempting to figure out puzzles and strategize during the race missions; but often result in ultimate failure. As of episode 41, he left the cast to focus on his acting career.[25] However, he reappeared in episode 66 as a guest. He was initially set to return as a guest in 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. His theme song is "Pretty Boy", by M2M. His official colour is sky blue.
Gary Peaceful Gary (평온개리)
Stress Gary (스트레스개리)
Industrial Spy (산업의스파이)
Straight-Going Gary (직진개리)
Tycoon (태풍)
Gaelly (갤리)
Monday Boyfriend (월요남친)
Mr. Gary (개리 쒸)
Wild Gary (야생개리)
Sudden Commander (뜬금 능력자)
Random Mr. Capable (임의 씨 가능)
Squid (오징어)
Episode 1 – 324 (regular)
Episode 325, 336 (guest)
The most gullible and honest member of the show, who was 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. Throughout the series, he has been involved in the official loveline of the show alongside Song Ji-hyo, as well as an unofficial rival of Haha. 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 the match twice in a row. He is also known to be easily irritated whenever the members, particularly Haha, called him a "squid" (as the byword for being ugly), which often leaves him depressed. His theme songs are his various Leessang songs. He left the cast as of episode 324 to focus on his music career, but briefly return in the following episode 325 as a guest.[28] His official colour is blue.

Timeline[edit]

Relationships[edit]

Members Relation Details
Gary,
Song Ji-hyo
Monday Couple (월요커플)[30] The primary loveline of the show, they show interest in each other on Mondays, which is the day the show was filmed. The first mention of the term "Monday Couple" was in episode 12, although the relationship had been developing a few episodes prior. The relationship seemed one-sided until episode 16 when Ji-hyo told the cast that on Mondays she has a man, referring to Gary. Song Joong-ki would attempt to come between them on several occasions and many jokes were made from other cast members about Gary's appearance (the fact that compared to Joong-ki, he was far inferior). It became a major loveline after Song Joong-ki left the program.[31] (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 with each other when they meet. Usually Kim Jong-kook wins the battle. They have been known as rivals since the 1st episode, and are considered as two of the strongest players in the series.
Song Joong-ki,
Song Ji-hyo
Song-Song Couple (송송커플)[31]
Song-Song Siblings (송송남매)[32]
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)[31]
SpartAce [Couple] (스파타에이스 [커플])[31]
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)[33] Lee Kwang-soo claims to be close friends with Song Joong-ki as they were of the 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-Mong (유멍)
In episode 42, Song Ji-hyo gives Yoo Jae-suk a candy to make an 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)[34]
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.[35]
Kim Jong-kook,
Gary,
Haha,
Lizzy
Kim Jong-kook and the Two Kids (김종국과 아이 둘)[36]
Kim Jong-kook and the Three Kids (김종국과 세 자녀)
A twist on the name of the former Korean band Seo Taiji and Boys (서태지와 아이들). In earlier episodes, Gary and Haha 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. Lizzy later joined the team at episode 20 to form "Kim Jong-kook and the Three Kids".
Kim Jong-kook,
Ji Suk-jin
The Strongest And The Weakest (최강과 최약)
The Awkward Partners (어색한 파트너)
During the first Running Man Hunting (episode 52), Kim Jong-kook and Ji Suk-jin were the first members to be eliminated via rolling the dice in the Race to Kyungjoo mission. Since it was the first time the strongest and weakest member were together, the mood after the elimination was awkward. Yoo Jae-suk was the first to pinpoint the series' latest combination.
Kim Jong-kook,
Lee Kwang-soo,
Ji Suk-jin
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)[37]
Dumb and Dumber (덤앤더머)
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, and would lead to the members claiming that they miss her. They finally met and become a team with UEE in episode 137, doing the "Yoo-Lee" cross. The name also pertains to IU, a popular Korean singer.
Lee Kwang-soo,
Yoo Jae-suk,
Ji Suk-jin
Jail Regulars Trio (감옥 단골 3인방)[37]
Lee-Yoo-Ji Brothers (이유지 브라더스)
The Unlucky Trio (꽝손 트리오)
The Unlucky Brothers (꽝손 브라더스)
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)
Yoo-Ji (유지)
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)[38] 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.
Gary,
Haha
Two Kids (아이둘)
Real Rivals (레알라이벌)
Squid and Octopus (오징어와 주꾸미)
The rivalry between Gary and Haha 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.
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 phrases said by Yoo Jae-suk and Haha.
Kim Jong-kook,
Lee Kwang-soo
Commander Jong Kook and Disciple Soo (능력자종국 과 그의조수)
Kook-Soo (국수)
Tiger and Giraffe (호랑이와 기린)[39]
This was formed in episode 82 when Lee Kwang-soo and Kim Jong-kook were paired in 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.[40]
Haha,
Lee Kwang-soo,
Ji Suk-jin
Betrayers Club (배신자 클럽)[41] 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 Betrayers Club who attempts to steal a treasure.
Lee Kwang-soo,
Song Ji-hyo
Kwang-Mong Siblings (광멍남매) These two are often seen playing around with each other. Although they often bicker, they take care of each other just like close siblings. They also show a Tom and Jerry-esque relationship, similar to Lee Kwang-soo's relationship with Kim Jong-kook.
Lee Kwang-soo,
Jeon So-min
Betrayers Couple (배신자 부부) Ever since her first appearance in the program, Jeon So-min has been showing similar personalities as Lee Kwang-soo. Additionally, they have a great chemistry and easily betray the other members and each other, even when being partnered together.
Kim Jong-kook,
Jeon So-min
Kook-Min (국민) As the relation name implies, Kook from Kim Jong-Kook and Min from Jeon So-min. These two paired for the first time during episode 349's secret mission named Kook-Min's Pick in relation to the Global Race Project. During the missions, as soon as the PD announced that they fail, the pair needs to secretly touch each other and call out the name of the member who will get the Whale Badge within a minute. However, if other members noticed the secret mission, he/she will be exempted from the penalty, and if more that three members notice it, both of them will get it. In the end, they were caught by Yoo Jae-suk and Haha.
Song Ji-hyo,
Jeon So-min
Blank-Dumb Sisters (멍돌 자매) This was formed in Episode 351 when Yoo Jae-Suk calls them the 'Blank-Dumb sisters' and says that the 'Blank' applies to Song Ji-hyo cause she's known to be Blank aka Mong in Korean and the 'dumb' applies to Jeon So-min because she's deceitful and dumb.
Kim Jong-kook,
Haha,
Lee Kwang-soo,
Yang Se-chan
Kim Jong-kook and The Three Lackeys (김종국과 삼 개의 협박) This alliance was formed after Yoo Jae-suk created it, due to the fact that the mentioned members were in one team. Kim Jong-kook was the leader and the three other members had to serve Jong-kook so that he wouldn't pick one of the three lackeys to go to the dangerous attraction. The four members also often to have a special connection, which the other members of the show couldn't understand. This is a rebirth of the relationship Kim Jong Kook had with Gary and Haha where they were known as Kim Jong Kook and the Two Kids (김종국과 아이 둘) or Kim Jong Kook and the Three Kids (김종국과 세 자녀) with Lizzy.
Yoo Jae-suk,
Ji Suk-jin,
Lee Kwang-soo,
Jeon So-min,
Yang Se-chan
Unlucky Avengers (운이없는 복수 자) This was formed in Episode 353 when the 5 bad luck members were confirmed to enter the "Super Scary Labyrinth of Fear".

Production staff[edit]

The staff run the games, often showing up on cameras either by actively participating in the game or influencing the outcome of various missions. This includes the personal cameramen (VJs), production directors (PDs), floor directors (FDs), stylists, boom operators, etc.

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[42] 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 Hwan-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 Inkigayo.[43]

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), Jo Seong-Oh (Gary's primary VJ), and Kim Ki-jin (Kim Jong-kook's primary VJ).

On November 19, 2014, the show's head director, Jo Hyo-jin, announced his departure from the show after working with the members for four years.[44]

On March 20, 2016, the show's main PD, Im Hyung-taek left the show (as of episode 291) as he became the producer of Hurry Up, Brother, resulting in new generation PDs to take over, notably PD Lee Hwan-jin, PD Jung Chul-min, and PD Park Yong-woo.[45] FD Go Dong-wan also announced his leave via his Instagram.[46]

On July 3, 2016, the show's main PD, Lee Hwan-jin confirmed the return of producer Kim Joo-hyung to the show.[47] That same month, it is confirmed that he will be the new main PD of the show.[48] However, it didn't last long as PD Kim Joo-hyung announced that he is leaving the show shortly after. Subsequently, PD Lee Hwan-jin has taken over as the main PD of Running Man until March 2017. As of April 2017, Running Man main PD is Jung Chul-min.[29]

Most Appeared Guests[edit]

During its run, some of the guests were occasionally featured or invited to the show. These guests were notable for their constant appearances and were often considered to be the "8th Running Man". The following list is the list of the guests who appeared the most often as of 17 October 2016.

Number Name No. of Appearance Episodes Appeared Occupation
1 Jung Yong-hwa 12 07, 11, 17, 35-36, 72-73, 104, 127, 129, 186, 242 Member of CNBLUE
2 Nichkhun 11 04-05, 19, 40, 50-51, 104, 195, 248, 256, 306 Member of 2PM
3 Park Ji-sung 9 96-97, 152-154, 199-200, 283-284 Soccer Player (Retired)
4 Suzy 8 55, 93-94, 117, 155, 172-173, 208 Member of miss A
5 Lee Chun-hee 7 02-03, 76-77, 226, 269, 339 Actor
Lee Joon 7 08, 95, 104, 108, 129, 162, 320 Former member of MBLAQ
Kim Kwang-kyu 7 15, 32, 159, 176, 271-272, 274 Actor, Comedian
Kim Woo-bin 7 138, 166, 188-189, 191, 225, 240 Actor
9 Seung-ri 6 30, 84-85, 163, 190, 250 Member of Big Bang
Dae-sung 6 35-36, 84-85, 163, 250 Member of Big Bang
Sulli 6 55, 75, 129, 152-154 Former member of f(x)
Chansung 6 150, 162, 195, 201, 256, 318 Member of 2PM
Park Soo-hong 6 179-180, 207, 220, 274, 321 MC, Comedian
14 Kim Soo-ro 5 09, 67-68, 138, 262 Actor
Kim Je-dong 5 11, 21, 79, 106, 207 Comedian
Uee 5 34, 137, 249, 271-272 Member of After School
Taecyeon 5 40, 150, 234-235, 256 Member of 2PM
IU 5 43, 77, 96-97, 168 Singer
Choi Min-ho 5 75, 129, 201, 254, 323 Member of Shinee
Hyo-rin 5 75, 162, 307, 348-349 Member of Sistar
Junho 5 151-152, 195, 240, 256 Member of 2PM
Park Seo-joon 5 184, 198, 246, 263, 295 Actor
Kim Jun-hyun 5 249, 271-272, 305, 323 Comedian

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 52 January 3, 2016 (January 3, 2016) December 25, 2016 (December 25, 2016)
2017 TBA January 1, 2017 (January 1, 2017) TBA (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, Jeon So-min, Yang Se-chan) or former members of the show (Lizzy, Song Joong-ki, Gary), only the times they were a guest are counted. The guests were sorted according to their appearances and the number of episodes appeared.

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.[49]

Despite a slow start, Running Man became increasingly popular in South Korea and throughout Asia.[50][51][52][53][54] In its home country the show is watched by 2.1 million people on average.[55] Due to the existence of fansubs, it is watched outside of Asia as well, being translated into English, Spanish and Arabic, among others.[56]

According to 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.[57] 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."[57] 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".[57]

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.[58] Celebrity guests like Super Junior, Girls' Generation and f(x) play an important part in the success as well, although they sometimes induce criticism. 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.[58]

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.[59] When the cast arrived for shooting in Vietnam and other countries, they were greeted by thousands of fans at the airport.[60]

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]

2017[edit]

International[edit]

Running Man Cast in Malaysia for the 2014 Running Man Fan Meeting; from left to right: Haha, Lee Kwang-soo, Song Ji-hyo, Kim Jong-kook, and Ji Suk-jin

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.[63] 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,[64] which reiterated Running Man's popularity in Asia.[65]

Producer Im Hyung-taek confirmed that the program would be filming in Macau, China and Hanoi, Vietnam in early February,[66] 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.[67][68]

A spin-off of Running Man, titled Hurry Up, Brother, was announced in May 2014. The spin-off, which is the Chinese version of Running Man was scheduled to air in the fourth quarter of 2014 on Zhejiang Television. Cast from the Korean version will participate in the Chinese version as well. The spin-off was a success, and currently the show has aired its fourth season. There was also an Indonesian adaptation of the show, titled Mission X, following a similar format on the show, with the exception that the members would using armbands, and the games would be played just for fun rather than playing it to win the prize.[69]

In February 2016, it was reported that the crew were considering an episode set in Dubai, UAE, which they eventually filmed in the end of February. The episodes were aired in March.

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, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates. International episodes are notable for their ability to draw large groups of fans to mission venues.

Episode(s) Airdate(s) Location(s) Guest(s) Notes
50-51 July 3- July 10, 2011 Thailand Kim Min-jung,
Nichkhun (2PM)
61-62 September 18-September 25, 2011 Beijing, China Kang Ji-young (Kara),
Kim Ju-hyuk,
Lee Yeon-hee
Kang Ji-young appeared as substitute for Song Ji-hyo in episode 61.
72-73 December 11-December 18, 2011 Hong Kong Jung Yong-hwa (CNBLUE),
Lee Min-jung
97 June 3, 2012 Thailand Park Ji-sung,
IU
IU missed half of the episode due to schedule conflicts, and Yoo Jae-suk had to leave early due to schedule conflicts as well.
133 February 17, 2013 Macau, China Han Hye-jin,
Lee Dong-wook
134, 136 February 24, March 10, 2013 Vietnam
154 July 14, 2013 Shanghai, China Koo Ja-cheol,
Park Ji-sung,
Patrice Evra,
Sulli (f(x))
188-189, 191 March 9-March 16, March 30, 2014 Australia Kim Woo-bin,
Rain
200 June 15, 2014 Indonesia Park Ji-sung
212 September 7, 2014 Taiwan Ailee,
Im Seul-ong (2AM),
Ji Chang-wook,
Kim Tae-woo (g.o.d),
Lee Sung-jae,
Skull,
Song Eun-yi[70]
Only Yoo Jae-suk, Haha, Ji Suk-jin, Lee Kwang-soo, Ji Chang-wook, Lee Sung-jae, and Skull appeared in the Taiwan section. Song Eun-yi originally was supposed to appear as well, but eventually did not due to schedule conflicts.
234 February 15, 2015 Hong Kong, Thailand Fei (Miss A),
Kim Sung-ryung,
Seo Woo,
Shoo,
Taecyeon (2PM),
Yeon Jung-hoon,
Yoo Sun[71]
Certain parts of the episode.
283-284 January 24- January 31, 2016 Shanghai, China Ji So-yun,
Jong Tae-se,
Park Ji-sung
289-290 March 6-March 13, 2016 Dubai, United Arab Emirates Jung Il-Woo,
Lee Da-Hae
347-348 April 23-April 30, 2017 Osaka, Japan
Taipei, Taiwan
Jang Do-yeon Yoo Jae-suk, Ji Suk-jin, and Jeon So-min appeared in the Osaka section of the episode while Haha, Song Ji-hyo, and Yang Se-chan appeared in the Taipei section of the episode.
351-352 May 21-May 28, 2017 Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Vladivostok, Russia
No guests Yoo Jae-suk, Ji Suk-jin, Song Ji-hyo, and Jeon So-min appeared in the Mongolia section of the episode while Kim Jong-kook, Haha, Lee Kwang-soo, and Yang Se-chan appeared in the Russia section of the episode.
353-355 June 4-June 18, 2017 Fuji-Q Highland, Japan
Tokyo, Japan
Jung Hye-sung Jung Hye-sung appeared in episode 355.

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[72] Chongqing Chongqing International Expo Center Gary, Haha, Ji Suk-jin, Kim Jong-kook, Lee Kwang-soo, Song Ji-hyo
23 October 2015[73] Beijing Capital Indoor Stadium **All members**
30 October 2015[73] Shenzhen Shenzhen Bay Sports Center Gary, Haha, Ji Suk-jin, Kim Jong-kook, Lee Kwang-soo, Song Ji-hyo
20 November 2015[74] Nanjing Nanjing Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium
11 December 2015[74] Wuhan Wuhan Gymnasium Yoo Jae-suk, Haha, Ji Suk-jin, Kim Jong-kook, Lee Kwang-soo, Song Ji-hyo
Race Start! Season 4 – Running Man Fan Meeting 2017
Date City Country Venue Attendees
10 February 2017 Taipei Taiwan Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center Haha, Ji Suk-jin, Kim Jong-kook, Lee Kwang-soo, Song Ji-hyo, Gary (Special Guest)
18 February 2017 Macao Macao Cotai Arena, The Venetian Macao Haha, Ji Suk-jin, Kim Jong-kook, Lee Kwang-soo, Song Ji-hyo,[75][5]
11 March 2017 Bangkok Thailand Thunder Dome, Muang Thong Thani
25 March 2017 Hong Kong Hong Kong AsiaWorld-Expo
22 April 2017 Selangor Malaysia The Mines International Exhibition And Convention Centre
7 July 2017 Melbourne Australia Plenary MCEC
9 July 2017 Sydney Hordern Pavilion

Other Works[edit]

Merchandising[edit]

The Running Man 300th Anniversary Special hats and socks on display

In order to "relay the feeling of Running Man", Running Man has made merchandises available on sale since 2015. The products ranging from stickers, socks, hats, shirts, and shoes[76]

On May 26, 2015, a special project called the "Running Man Challenge" was made in collaboration with a footwear co-created platform, ROOY.[77] Its main objective is for the fans to design a shoe that "would unify and coordinate between the cast members." 777 submissions were made, and in June 2015, a design made by a fan named Noh Seung-soo is selected to be the official design for the shoes. The shoes went on sale on February 22, 2016.[78][79] Currently, a second "Running Man Challenge" is held. The winner for this challenge will have his/her design to be the new shoes.[80]

In 2016, Running Man collaborated with NBA to make a 300th Anniversary special hats and shirts.[81]

Animation[edit]

On June 14, 2017, it was announced that Running Man will be adapted into a half-hour animated show. It will features the original seven members, including former member Gary, in animal form.[82] The show will have 24 episodes and EXO-CBX will provide the theme song for the show. Additionally, the animated show will be the first show to be broadcast in UHD in South Korea.[83]

Comic Book[edit]

In March 2013, a comic book adaptation of the series was published. The series, titled Running Man: How do I Find the Kidnapped Idol?, is written by Hong Yong-hoon and illustrated by Kim Moon-shik. The comic book, which is aimed for children, was released on March 25, 2013.[84][85]

Other Appearances[edit]

Years Title Network Member(s) Notes Ref
2015 The Girl Who Sees Smells SBS All Cameo (episode 1) [86]
Game of Dice N/A Ji Suk-jin, Kim Jong-kook, Gary, Lee Kwang-soo, Song Ji-hyo Commercial film [87]

Controversy[edit]

Gary leaving Running Man[edit]

On September 2012, Gary made a surprising announcement on social media about his intention to leave the program. It is believed that his intention came from the recent criticism concerning the "Super 7 Concert" which his company, Leessang Company, was producing. Gary decided to take responsibility for its failure by resigning himself from any activities. Due to this, Running Man production staff and the members decided to postponed their filming schedule on September 24–25, 2012 to convince him to stay in the program.[88][89] A week later, Gary officially apologized due to the controversy that he created and confirmed his decision to remain as a member of the program.[90]

Season 2 proposal[edit]

On December 14, 2016, it was announced that Kim Jong-kook and Song Ji-hyo were leaving the show, as a new season with a new format starring the remaining cast members and new member Kang Ho-dong will air in January 2017.[91][92][93] Initial reception were mixed. However, it was revealed that Song Ji-hyo and Kim Jong-kook were not given any notice about their removal, resulting in an overwhelming negative reaction.[94][95] In addition, news of Kang Ho-dong refusing the offer to join the new season results in a possible cancellation of Season 2 of Running Man.[96]

On December 16, 2016, an emergency meeting was held with the consensus reached of all members agreeing to leave and ending the program altogether in February 2017[97][98][98][99] with a subsequent program taking its place.[100]

However, on January 24, 2017, SBS announced that the show will continue airing with all of the remaining cast members. The decision came after Nam Seung-young, the new Vice President of SBS Entertainment Headquarters, who was involved in conceiving Running Man, had further conversations with every member in regards to the show's future.[101][102] Particularly, after apologizing to Kim Jong-kook for all of the issues regarding the program, the latter then became actively involved in convincing the other members to continue working on the program.[103]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Running Man has been nominated for 59 awards, winning 44.

References[edit]

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