To this day, Running Man is still the most popular Korean variety show. Since its initial airing on July 11, 2010, Yoo Jae Suk, Gary, Haha, Ji Suk Jin, Kim Jong Kook, Lee Kwang Soo, and Song Ji Hyo have been invited into Korean households through their television sets. Probably the reason why the K-variety show has lasted so long is the ingenuity of the crazy games they play, but it is also how much heart the show has, too. Some examples from previous episodes includes inviting GFriend to “touch the hearts” of over 100 people by performing for them and reuniting the cast of People Who Are Searching For Smile with their families.
Despite the fact Running Man is a K-variety show, aspects of drama have been incorporated over the years of its run, especially when it comes to the “Monday Couple” relationship both Gary and Song Ji Hyo have. It is, however, unknown if their relationship is real or just a dramatized love line, because both Gary and Ji Hyo have neither confirmed nor denied the relationship. Still, Ji Hyo being in a relationship with any of her fellow cast members from the past six years is a hot topic. Lee Kwang Soo put her in the hot seat by asking her the husband potential of each member of Running Man recently during an awards ceremony.
According to Soompi, Lee Kwang Soo asked Song Ji Hyo to rank the other Running Man members on their husband potential during the Seoul Broadcasting System’s 2015 SBS Entertainment Awards on Wednesday, December 30, 2015. Given that Gary was not in attendance, it was fairly easy for Kwang Soo to ask Ji Hyo to do such. Anyways, after some thought, she only gave the top three, in which Yoo Jae Suk was No. 1, Haha was No. 2, and Kim Jong Kook was No. 3. Afterwards, Kwang Soo insisted Ji Hyo reveal who was in last place. It would have been saddening if she said it was Gary, but instead, she said Kwang Soo, the one who wanted to know, was dead last.
For the K-variety show itself, Running Man saw a dramatic increase in viewership since its initial debut, with viewership ratings averaging between five to seven percent. For awards however, Running Man dominated winning 10 of the 12 awards it was nominated for across four awards shows. It won the Best Variety Show Award at the 3rd DramaFever Awards and the Entertainment Spirit Award at the 2014 Youku Night Awards.
As for the 2015 SBS Entertainment Awards, AllKpop reports it won the Viewer’s Choice Award for Best Variety Show, Excellence Award for a Variety Show (recipient: Ji Suk Jin), and two Top Excellence Awards for a Variety Show (recipients: Gary and Song Ji Hyo). Yoo Jae Suk won two awards for Viewer’s Most Popular Award and the Grand Award (Daesang).
Running Man has aired a total of 279 episodes as of December 27, 2015. This also makes it the longest-running K-variety show in the history of any Korean broadcast network. For those who would like to find out what all the hype is about, Running Man airs on SBS during their Good Sunday lineup. For those who do not have access to SBS, future episodes, as well as past episodes, are available for viewing pending region, for free (with ads), on DramaFever and Viki.
[Image via Promotions for the “Mission Song“]