In a recent interview, the producer stated that the production team has decided to not to pick a new member to fill in the latter’s spot after he leaves the show.
Additionally, a reporter named Lee Jin Ho also revealed some detailed reasons on why the “Running Man” crew has decided not to add a new member. The former entertainment reporter explained that he had personally confirmed the reasons and explained about this through his YouTube channel.
According to Jin Ho, “Lee Kwang Soo is a key figure in Running Man. He was the one who brought tension to each episode and he was a very talented member. He had a sense of humour and individual skills that brought the entertainment aspect to life on the show.”
The reporter further added, “If Lee Kwang Soo leaves, the 8-member team will become 7-members, which is an uneven number. So the show might need to add an impressive new member. But why is the production team not making their move? The reason can be seen when two new members Yang Se Chan and Jeon So Min were added in 2017. At that time, the addition of the new members was an inevitable choice for the production team.”
Jin Ho then dished that the cast members’ morale was at an “extremely low” point following former member Kang Gary’s departure from the show. “Despite Yoo Jae Seok and Lee Kwang Soo trying to set the mood, they struggled to make such effect,” the entertainment journalist was quoted as saying.
He continued, “As the teamwork began collapsing, there were even rumours circulating that the show will be cancelled. So the production team made the decision to add two new members to overcome this crisis. Therefore, Jeon So Min and Yang Se Chan were added.”
The addition of these two new members had proven to be a success as both the new members were able to settle in the group with their own unique characters, which gave a boost to the show. Jin Ho elaborated, “The two harmonised well with the existing member, reviving the ‘Running Man’ teamwork.”
However, there was a backlash in regards to the difference in popularity between the new members and the existing members. In this case, there was a strong reaction from the international fans. “Running Man” has been known to be more popular overseas as compared to in South Korea. Therefore, many international fans were not keen with the addition of the new members.
“Since Jeon So Min was added as a new member, Song Ji Hyo’s portion of the broadcast had decreased, thus giving Jeon So Min more screentime. This lead to growing complaints from overseas fans,” Jin Ho pointed out. “The fans began taking collective action against Jeon So Min as they terrorised her social media account by sending her direct messages, telling her to leave the show.”
This issue has in turn added tremendous pressure to the production team. The reporter revealed that this was the biggest reason the ‘Running Man’ production team is hesitant about adding a new member. He elaborated, “Because the fandom of existing members are so passionate, the input of another member can simply spark a new conflict. In the end, ‘Running Man’ has decided to strengthen the chemistry of the existing members.”
Meanwhile, Lee Kwang Soo’s final “Running Man” episode will be airing this weekend (Sunday, 13th June).