UPDATE: Lee Kwang Soo contemplates on leaving RUNNING MAN!

Lee Kwang Soo to leave Running Man too? Gary deletes instagram posts because Ji Hyo and Jong Kook were kicked out?

SAD NEWS for Running Man fans all over the world!

It looks like Kang Gary is just the first person this year to leave the phenomenal “RUNNING MAN”, the Korean variety show which has fans worldwide. It’s confirmed that Song Ji Hyo (ACE) and Kim Jong Kook’s (THE COMMANDER/TIGER) would be leaving the show by January 2017 (date may change because of negotiations between the artists and the Running Man producers).

Song Ji Hyo’s handler/label, MY Company confirmed it and announced that she’s leaving Running Man because of overwhelming work with handling both acting, promotions and a variety show. She plans to focus on her acting career. The exact date when she would leave is still under negotiation. Meanwhile, our Tiger, Kim Jong Kook’s label, Maroo Entertainment also announced that he’s leaving Running Man but the exact date is still unknown and some are speculating it would be around January 2017. Let’s wait for the final announcement but for sure, many fans will be grieving the “loss” of two of the BEST Running Man Members.

During the course of RUNNING MAN, 4 members expressed their concerns and feelings regarding leaving the show. Those are Kang Gary, Song Ji Hyo, Ji Suk-jin and Kim Jong Kook. Kang Gary left because of his music and perhaps because of his back condition. Kim Jong Kook has scoliosis and he’s getting old and people expect too much from him. Song Ji-Hyo may have intentions to leave the show because she might concentrate more on her acting career and Korean Dramas. Out of the 4, only Suk-jin a.k.a. Big Nosed Hyung will be sure to stay for Season 2.

No more ACE but the worst part of it is, no more SPARTAKOOKS! Fans will surely miss the Sparta moments 🙁

What’s worse is MY company and Maroo Entertainment made some statements about the two, that they were FORCED to leave RUNNING MAN.

An article from AllKpop mentioned that there have been talks of format change since two weeks ago but there were no talks about member changes. However last December 12, King Jong Kook had a meeting and they told him he was off the show. Song Ji Hyo first knew about their being axed from the TV series because it made headlines not only in Korea since Running Man is certainly very popular even outside of South Korea.

Statement from Song Ji Hyo’s agency, “MY Company”

“We knew Running Man would go through changes from SBS but it is true that we only found out from news reports which members would not be invited back. We do not want to comment on Song Ji Hyo’s feelings but it is not our official stance that it was not a good farewell. There is a definite road she needed to walk as an actress and considered leaving the show so it [seemed] natural to leave the show during the season-change. However, it is true there was a lack of active communication from the chief producer in the steps leading up to Song Ji Hyo leaving the show. There are a lot of regrets emotionally but as it is the production’s decision, we will humbly accept it.”

Statement from Kim Jong Kook’s agency, “Maroo Entertainment”

“It is true that we were told about Kim Jong Kook leaving the show one-sidedly. It is regrettable. Even though Kim Jongkook was not in the best health condition, it was a program he really cared for and took part in.”

If this is true, fans all over the world might rebel against the show and its Season 2 might lack the support of their loyal fans because of the way the two original cast members were treated. I wish this isn’t true though and if the 2 are leaving, I hope it was from their own accord and decision.

Kang Ho Dong declines offer to join RUNNING MAN

There were news reports that Kang Ho Dong is reportedly joining RUNNING MAN. However, Kang Ho Dong’s label SM C&C officially revealed that he has declined the offer.

SM C&C statement:

“Hello, this is Kang Ho Dong’s label SM C&C. As it was reported yesterday, Kang Ho Dong was given an offer for SBS ‘Running Man Season 2’, and he did make the decision to join after giving it a deep thought. However, we found out that Kang Ho Dong’s decision has become uncomfortable due to various

However, we found out that Kang Ho Dong’s decision has become uncomfortable due to various situations.

As a result, we are here to officially announce our stance. We don’t know every detail of the situation, but we don’t want Kang Ho Dong’s appearance to be uncomfortable to the viewers even a little bit. With that in mind, we feel hurt and sorry, but will politely decline the offer. We apologize for creating complications to the loving fans of ‘Running Man’, the producers, and SBS associates who made the offer. We apologize.”

If you can remember, he’s part of another variety show, 2 days & 1 night and was the host of STAR KING.

The last episode of “Star King” aired on August 9, 2016.

STAR KING was the Korean show that propelled Charice Pempengco to a whole new level (internationally) ever since her first guest appearance which you can find in the youtube video below.

(Note: The video is not mine and only posted here as a reference)

I personally think that even if they added Kang Ho Dong to Running Man, it wouldn’t be enough to draw viewers in and keep the current fan base of Running Man hooked. Also, they seriously need more young blood introduced. Plus, SBS and the producers should apologize to Kim Kong Kook and Song Ji Hyo for treating them so badly. We and the rest of the RUNNING MAN fans are hurt and angered because of what has happened. As a fan, I feel somewhat betrayed, I’m sure the two RM members feel deeply saddened, hurt and betrayed because they’ve given adn dedicated the best time of their lives to Running Man. 🙁

UPDATE (12/15/2016): According to Soompi, Running Man Production issued an apology containing the statement below:

“The producers of SBS’ ‘Running Man’ are making a statement on the current controversy concerning the change in members. The ‘Running Man’ producers have been working with the goal of the last 10 days of January 2017 for season 2 in mind. During this process, reports of the reorganization involving Kim Jong Kook and Song Ji Hyo unexpectedly made the news when we didn’t fully communicate with the ‘Running Man’ members. We ended up hurting Kim Jong Kook and Song Ji Hyo, who were like family for the past 7 years. For that, we sincerely apologize to them. The ‘Running Man’ producers also feel ashamed in front of the viewers, who’ve loved ‘Running Man’ for so long. We once again sincerely apologize for not being more deeply considerate of Kim Jong Kook and Song Ji Hyo. We also apologize to the rest of the ‘Running Man’ members, who must’ve been confused.”

It’s good that they’ve apologized but I still feel that it’s lacking something. A lot of fans (including us) are still hurting. Their timing was horrible and they should have given both RM members some time and options instead of being cast away just like common garbage. I feel really bad for Ji Hyo and Jong Kook. Running Man is like a family and for some people, they only talk about business. They should have been open and honest and discussed it properly. If only Running Man fans knew about this development, they would have exerted more effort to increase the ratings and they would have given more social media support for more coverage and publicity for their beloved show, RUNNING MAN.

However, we cannot turn our backs to the remaining members of Running Man as well. So I hope everything will be fixed. More than anything, I hope SBS and the producers change their minds and get the Ace and Commander back because Running man will never be the same without them.

Since I love RUNNING MAN so much, here are my suggestions:
1) Get at least 1 female member (preferably one who can dance well) to join the group. Notice that when there’s a competition or statistics about viewer ratings, the highest tend to be the episodes where there are sexy female members dancing on the show.

2) Get a flower boy! Since Song Joong ki left, no one took over his role. I think it’s about time to place one or two flower boys in Running Man. This is to create balance in case the show gets another female Running Man member. Plus, they really need people to play as the new “couple” because Koreans and other RM fans love to “ship” and root for couples. Quite frankly, my favorite in RM was the Monday couple.

3) Get 1-2 strong guys like Kim Jong Kook and increase hyper and exciting name tag eliminations. This is what hooked people to become fanatics of Running man in the first place and the iconic name tags are very popular even outside Korea.

4) Get more comic relief because that’s what makes the show so popular. I always watch episodes of RM just to de-stress and laugh at the RM antics. I wish they would add FRESH faces in variety shows like Kang Ki-Young who looks and acts like a cross between Yoo Jae Suk and Lee Kwang Soo (Dragon Ball Fusion Technique), and of course, I hope they would also consider David Lee, who kind of reminds me of Kang Gary. I think they would be an excellent addition to the show and perhaps it’s a good way to inject young blood into the hit variety show, RUNNING MAN.

David Lee and Kang Ki-Young (Screenshot from Let’s Fight Ghost)

They haven’t even visited my home country, the Philippines yet (as a group), which is really sad.

Hopefully, Running Man Season 2 would consider filming in the Philippines especially in places like Palawan, Bohol, Boracay, etc.

Speaking of goodbyes, here’s a look back of the final episodes of the former Running Man members, Song Joong Ki and Kang Gary (again, videos are from youtube and I do not own them):