***** UPDATE #2 *****
Following all the controversy surrounding the upcoming departures of long-time cast members Kim Jongkook and Song Jihyo, "Running Man" have issued out an official apology in regards to recent events.
In a new statement released by the "Running Man" production crew, the team revealed that communication was handled poorly in regards to the launch of the show's upcoming second season in 2017 before issuing out an apology to the cast, particularly to Kim Jongkook and Song Jihyo:
“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.
We sincerely apologize once more for not being more thoughtful and considerate towards both of them. We would also like to apologize to the other ‘Running Man’ members who are feeling confused.”
With reports that Kang Ho-dong declined a role in the "Running Man" cast, it remains to be seen what who will be involved with the show in 2017.
***** UPDATE *****
Following news of long-time cast members Kim Jongkook and Song Jihyo's upcoming departure from "Running Man", reports have emerged that their decision to leave the show may not have been mutual.
According to new reports from MyDaily, 10Asia, and Newsen, it is alleged that Jongkook and Jihyo were not informed about their departure from "Running Man" until the last minute, right up to the point when official media reports started coming out.
In a new statement from Jihyo's agency, it was reported that the actress was only informed that "Running Man" would go through changes and that she only found out about her departure from the show when news reports started coming out:
“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 Jihyo’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 production crew in the steps leading up to Song Jihyo leaving the show. There is a lot of regret emotionally but as it is the production’s decision, we will humbly accept it.”
As for Jungkook, his agency released a statement reporting that the he knew that changes were coming to "Running Man" two weeks ago, but was only informed about his departure on December 12:
“2 weeks ago there was talks of a change in formatting and the co-producer visited the set to mention it again. There was still no talks of member changes back then. However, on December 12th they called in Kim Jongkook to tell him he was out. Song Jihyo only found out today after reports came out. It’s true everyone knew that a change was in order due to the fact that the ratings were going low but this type of good bye doesn’t only hurt the producers it wounds the artists as well.“
At the time of writing, representatives from "Running Man" have yet to comment on Kim Jongkook and Song Jihyo's departures.
It goes without saying that "Running Man" had a big shake-up earlier this year when Gary announced that he was leaving, and now it appears that more big changes are coming to the popular Korean variety show.
According to new reports, long-time cast members Kim Jongkook (aka "Mr Capable") and Song Jihyo (aka the second half of Monday Couple) will be leaving "Running Man" at the end of the year due to scheduling conflicts between their various other activities. While the exact recording date of Jongkook and Jihyo's final episode of "Running Man" has not been confirmed yet, the report states that the show will transition into "season 2" starting in 2017.
At the time of writing, Yoo Jae-suk is confirmed to remain on the show while Kang Ho-dong will join the cast as a new member. As for the remaining cast members, Lee Kwang-soo, Ji Suk-jin, and Haha, the trio have yet to decide on whether they will return or leave the show, though an answer is expected soon.
What are your thoughts about the recent (and upcoming) cast changes to "Running Man"?