With flagging ratings, massive backlash from their handling of firing Kim Jong Kook and Song Ji Hyo, and Kang Ho Dong turning them down to avoid the toxic property, ‘Running Man‘ has announced the show will end in February of next year after an emergency meeting with the cast and production.
On December 16, SBS revealed, “We held an emergency meeting with the members as well as the production staff. After the discussion, we have decided that ‘Running Man’ will finish at the end of February with all six current cast members.” PD Lee Hwan Jin also stated, “We met with the cast members and we all shared our thoughts. In the end, we were able to smooth over all the misunderstandings that had grown over time. All the cast members and the production team, including Kim Jong Kook and Song Ji Hyo, shared their opinions, and we have decided to wrap up ‘Running Man’ at the end of February. For the sake of all the viewers and their great support, everyone has decided to do their very best till the end.”
Given everything that’s transpired, this is somewhat unsurprising, as alienating what minimal loyal fans the show had left was not going to be solved by issuing an apology.
This plan at least gives the current cast a proper sign-off instead of having the cloud of two of the members being unceremoniously booted hanging over them, their replacement, and the show before it likely would’ve got unceremoniously cancelled itself. Of course, it’s rather awkward now, but the alternative of ditching it immediately with no goodbye is probably worse.
All told, this is probably the best solution to a problem that didn’t have a realistic scenario that ended with the show continuing and thriving.