SBS broadcast network's Running Man will bow out in February next year and the producers at SBS have decided not to remove actress Song Ji Hyo and singer Kim Jong Kook till the show ends. As per reports, season 2 has been cancelled as well.
The Straits Times and Koreaboo reported that following an emergency meeting with the cast and crew of 'Running Man,' the producers have decided to cancel the show that began in 2010 coming February, but retain all of the remaining members. Soompi reported that on 16 December, an SBS representative had revealed that an emergency meeting of the 'Running Man' members, including Song Ji Hyo and Kim Jong Kook was held with the show's PD.
Koreaboo quoted an SBS statement regarding this development: "Running Man members and producers gathered together in Seoul today for an emergency meeting and overcame their misunderstandings and miscommunications. After deep and lengthy discussion both sides decided to end the show at the end of February 2017."
The statement continued further, revealing that the two recently ousted cast members would re-join the show and stay till the very end. "However, they decided that they did not want to end the show on such a sad note so therefore decided to have all 6 members, Yoo Jae Suk, Ji Suk Jin, Haha, Lee Kwang Soo, Song Ji Hyo and Kim Jong Kook," the SBS statement read.
The actor and the singer released a joint statement announcing their comeback. "To show the strength of friendship that was built over 7 years and thinking of the fans who supported Running Man for such a long time I think we have to show them the best finale possible," it read.
The "misunderstandings and miscommunications" happened following the wrongful ousting of actress Song Ji Hyo and singer Kim Jong Kook, who've been an inseparable part of this show since its very inception in 2010. The two cast members were not informed about their departure by the producers, beforehand and this news led to fan backlash.
The actress's agency had released a statement, saying: "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."
Kim Jong Kook's statement by his agency read: "It is true that we were told about Kim Jong Kook leaving the show one-sidedly. It is regrettable. Even though Kim Jong kook was not in the best health condition, it was a program he really cared for and took part in."
In fact, famous South Korean TV personality and comedian Kang Ho-dong, who was supposed to join SBS TV's season 2 of the show Running Man backtracked on that decision, shortly after. A statement from his agency read: "Kang had deliberated the proposal for a long time before he finally decided to accept it. But we reached a conclusion that other circumstances that came after his decision have put him in an uncomfortable situation," clearly referencing the ousting of Ji Hyo and Jong Kook.
The producers of Running Man regretted their rash actions and formally apologised to Song Ji Hyo and Kim Jong Kook, reported Soompi. "With the news of the unexpected reorganization being released, we hurt both Song Ji Hyo and Kim Jong Kook, two members who we have treated like family for the past seven years. In regards to that aspect, we would like to sincerely apologize to both of them," the apology had read.