“Running Man” Producer Explains Need For Long-Term Guests And How Yoo Jae Suk Has Changed Since “Infinite Challenge” Finale

The chief producer (CP) of “Running Man” has opened up about recent changes to the hit variety show.

At a press conference for SBS variety programs that took place in Seoul on June 28, CP Gong Hee Chul shared his thoughts on the difficulties of producing such a long-running show. “Honestly,” he confessed, “the production staff has a hard time during meetings because [‘Running Man’] is a program that has run for 8 years. It seems that there’s nothing we haven’t already done [on the show].”

He added, “Also, as for the things we haven’t filmed, there’s always a reason why we didn’t film them. There are some things we scrapped in the planning process because of money matters, and there are other things we weren’t able to pull off because we realized once we got to the set that it was too different from what we had imagined during pre-production.”

Gong Hee Chul went on to reveal that the producers’ search for something new and fresh to bring to the show had been the motivation behind their recent long-term projects. He explained, “‘Running Man’ has given birth to a lot of stars, but we realized that one episode wasn’t enough time to really show a [guest’s] character. So, because it seemed as though people wanted to see guests for more than one episode, we came up with the idea of trying a multiple-episode structure.”

“We want to unearth new variety stars this way,” he continued. “If Lee Sang Yeob and Lee Da Hee had only been on the show for one episode each, I think it would have been difficult for their characters to shine. Because they appeared for multiple episodes, the viewers became familiar with them.”

The CP also mentioned that having guests appear for several episodes in a row made it possible for them to travel abroad with the program’s cast.

“The PD [producing director] and Yoo Jae Suk also feel the strong need to continuously discover new characters,” said Gong Hee Chul. “We want to find great characters among our guests.”

When asked if he had noticed any differences in Yoo Jae Suk since the season finale of MBC’s “Infinite Challenge” earlier this year, the producer reported that Yoo Jae Suk now had more time to discuss “Running Man” with the show’s producing director.

Gong Hee Chul commented, “[Yoo Jae Suk] is someone who always takes his responsibilities seriously, so there isn’t that much difference [from before]. However, it seems like he communicates more often with the PD [nowadays].”

“Because he’s someone with so much [broadcast] experience, he tells the PD about his own personal experiences,” said Gong Hee Chul. “Those experiences and stories are a huge help to the PD. I see it less as meddling and more as passing on his know-how. It’s only possible now that he has more time on his hands.”

“Running Man” airs on Sundays at 4:50 p.m. KST. Check out the latest episode below!

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