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 2016, it is one of the longest-running variety programs in South Korean history, currently at six years, surpassing the channel’s previous variety show, X-Man (at three and a half years), and behind MBC’s Infinite Challenge (11 years), and KBS2’s 1 Night 2 Days (9 years).
Running Man was initially classified as an “urban action variety”; a genre of variety shows in an urban environment. The MCs and guests were to complete missions at a landmark to win the race. 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.
The show has become popular in other parts of Asia, even reaching its popularity outside Asia, has gained massive online popularity among Hallyu fans, and having been fansubbed into a number of languages by international audiences, such as English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Malaysian, Indonesian, Burmese, Arabic, Russian and Turkish.
Running Man currently airing at 6:30 pm KST on Sundays, as the second part of Good Sunday, airing after Fantastic Duo, and competing against KBS2’s 1 Night 2 Days, and MBC’s Real Men
Best Funny Running Man Video
|Genre||Game-reality-variety show, Comedy|
|Created by||Jo Hyo-jin
|Directed by||Lee Hwan-jin|
|Starring||Yoo Jae-suk (2010 – present)
Haha (2010 – present)
Ji Suk-jin (2010 – present)
Kim Jong-kook (2010 – present)
Song Ji-hyo (2010 – present)
Lee Kwang-soo (2010 – present)
Gary (2010 – 2016)
Song Joong-ki (2010 – 2011)
Lizzy (2010 – 2011)
|Country of origin||South Korea|
|No. of episodes||324 (as of November 6, 2016)|
|Location(s)||South Korea, Thailand, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, Europe, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates|
|Camera setup||Multi-camera setup|
|Running time||60-80 minutes per episode|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||July 11, 2010 – Present|
|Preceded by||Family Outing 2|
|Related shows||Good Sunday
Hurry Up, Brother
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.
Despite a slow start, Running Man became increasingly popular in South Korea and throughout Asia. In its home country the show is watched by 2.1 million people on average. Due to the existence of fansubs, it is watched outside of Asia as well, being translated into English, Spanish and Arabic, among others.
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. 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.” 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”.
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. Celebrity guests like Super Junior or Girls’ Generation or f(x) 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.
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. When the cast arrived for shooting in Vietnam and other countries, they were greeted by thousands of fans at the airport.