Song Ji Hyo And Kim Jong Kook Are Leaving 'Running Man' As Kang Ho Dong Joins

The long-running South Korean variety show Running Man is losing two more stars Song Ji Hyo and Kim Jong Kook as fans still mourn rapper Gary departing from to show to focus on his music career. It was also announced that a new format of the series will air in 2017 and the current process of Running Man will end. Despite its huge popularity among Hallyu fans, the series has garnered mix reviews.

Song Ji Hyo was the only female regular cast member and was popular among fans of the show. According to AllKPop, her label made the following announcement:

"Song Ji Hyo is leaving Running Man. There was a long discussion with the producers as it was overwhelming for her to handle both acting promotions and a variety show. She plans to focus on her acting career after leaving Running Man. The date of her departure is currently in adjustment."

Kim Jong-Kook will film his last scenes in the variety show next week before officially departing. As part of Running Man's shake-up, comedian Kang Ho Dong is reportedly joining the series. Many fans are suggesting that they will no longer watch the series with Yoo Jaesuk, Song Jihyo, Gary, and Kim Jong Kook departing from the series. Some Hallyu fans state that they don't enjoy Kang Ho Dong brand of comedy while others think he will bring something new to the long-running series.

Some upset fans suggest that they change the name of the series due to the many departures from the show.

Song Ji Hyo and Gary were known as the Monday Couple to fans of the popular series due to their on-screen chemistry. This has fueled dating rumors; however, both parties have denied being in a relationship. Many fans were not surprised by Song Ji Hyo departure since Gary left the show first.

Comedian Park Myung Soo has been rumored to appear in the series. However, a rep for Myung Soo shut down the rumors stating: "It's untrue. We did not receive any offers or had any discussions. It is clearly false."

Many fans have complained about the former producing director (PD) Kim Joo Hyung who praised the cast members of Running Man who were Yoo Jae Seok, Ji Suk Jin, singers Kim Jong Kook, Gary, and Haha, as well as Kwang Soo and actress Ji Hyo at the time.

In an interview published by Soompi, Kim Joo Hyung spoke about the chemistry of the cast members:

"It's a game variety show and the members have their own characters and that's where the strength of the show comes out. Their relationships have been built over a long time and instead of being exhausted, the relationships have been maturing even more. Given our format, we have to have guests but since the members are our strengths, we are able to show that off nonetheless."
PD Lee Hwan-jin has since taken over the show and is being accused of removing Song Ji Hyo and Kim Jong Kook from the show. However, some sources say it is not the PD's decision, while others accuse the series of forcing them out.
"Two weeks ago, we heard from Running Man that the show would be reorganized with two cast members leaving. We found out this morning that Song Ji Hyo would be one of the two leaving," according to a source from the Song ji Hyo label, which contradicts earlier reports.

Running Man is not going to end anytime soon; however, the show will be drastically different.

Are you looking forward to the changes?

Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

[Featured Image by Neilson Barnard/Han Myung-Gu/Getty Images]