10 Very Possible Reasons Why Running Man Could Be Cancelled (Running Man Ratings Have Dropped)

Last Updated on 2020-02-17 , 8:02 pm

Yesterday evening, if you hear cries somewhere, it’s most likely due to a piece of unexpected news that has swept not just Korea, but the whole of Asia as well: Running Man is officially cancelled, and its last episode will be in February 2017. But I’m not surprised—not because of the controversies about Kim Jong Kook and Song Ji Hyo’s sudden dismissal, but it’s just something that is, well, impending to me. While the producers haven’t exactly come out to explain the decision, here’re ten very possible reasons, from a Running Man fan(Yes, Running Man ratings have dropped.)

It’s not the first time they’ve decided on cancelling

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Just think of it this way: is it possible for an on-off relationship to last? No? Same logic: they’ve been playing with the idea ever since the ratings dropped, and for them to continue with the low ratings is like running a business with a loss: unless you’ve got rich parents, it’s a matter of time before the business closed down.

The ratings have been dropping…very sharply

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It’s no secret that the Running Man ratings have dropped, but by how much? Here’re the figures to shock you: at their peak in 2013, the AGB Ratings for nationwide is at 21%. In 2016, the highest AGB Ratings is at 9.1%, and once, it dropped to 4.9%. Do the maths and you’ll see a sharp drop.

And compare this to Infinite Challenge, another Korea variety show: the AGB Ratings for nationwide is at 17.4% highest in 2016. Its lowest? 10.8%, which is still higher than Running Man’s highest.

The bad news is that ratings haven’t just been dropping; it’s so low, it’s almost like sustaining a business that’s losing money.

The China version is doing so well, it overshadows the Korea one

Image: Soompi

Remember the two episodes when Running Man went to China? You can see the number of fans there; and with so many people in China, you can expect lots of viewers from there. Then came the China version of Running Man, Hurry Up, Brother. It did so well that it stayed at the top of the rating charts in China, and propelled Angelababy to an international household name.

Now, remember this: the China version was out in 2014. Korea Running Man’s ratings started to drop in 2014 as well. Coincidence? Seriously?

Change in producers led to lower quality show

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Maybe you didn’t know this, but behind the scenes, there’s been a major change in the producers. Initially, the key producers were Nam Seung-yong, Jo Hyo-jin, Im Hyung-taek, and Kim Joo-hyung.

In 2014, Kim Joo-hyung and Jo Hyo-jin left the crew. In early 2016, Im Hyung-taek left too.

I’m not judging, but remember when the ratings drop? 2014. And 2016.

And oh, just for your info, Im Hyung-teak left because he became the producer for the China version of Running Man. Just saying.

Burnout from viewers, and yet the producers did not change anything

In the past, every episode of Running Man was a new experience: people pranked each other, spies would be against spies and there’ll be guests that have become so horrifying and mysterious, you can never expect what’s next.

Now, think back on the recent episodes. Missions after missions after missions—what’s this, our army ATEC test? It gets so predictable, it’s boring.

The stories disappeared. Completely.

Image: Dramabeans

Remember in the past, Big Nose Ji Suk-jin became a spy in a cruise ship, surprising almost all the Sherlock-Holmes-wannabe detectives? Or when the cast became characters in 90s cartoon shows? Or even games whereby the cast went back in time to save the future?

Now, it’s missions after missions after missions. Yeah, sometimes, there’re stories, but it’s a linear, boring story—not like how Big Nose turned out to be the spy. Lazy writing? Don’t know, don’t care.

The Kim Jong Kook and Song Ji Hyo controversy

Image: SBS

Some people think that this sparked the entire cancellation, but here’s what I think: are the producers blaming the members for the drop in ratings? Because if they really want to revamp the show, they could have changed the format. The members are the one who prevented the rating from dropping to 1%!

I don’t know about you, but if this is all office politics at work (you know, shifting the blame from the producers to the members), it’s really going to be such a pity.

The members’ popularity against the ratings

Image: Soompi

When the show just started, Lee Kwang Soo wasn’t that popular, and Gary was new to variety shows. Seven years later, they’re now hallyu stars, and it’s reasonable that their agencies charge more for their involvement—一分价钱一分货.

But with the ratings dropping, it’s hard for them to balance the members’ salary with the show’s cashflow. This is just pure speculation, but if I were Lee Kwang Soo’s agency, I would of course schedule him in a show or commercial that pays ten times more. It’s not greed; it’s business.

In other words, the ratings affect more than just cashflow.

Lack of online interaction

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The old argument of a show refusing to move along with technology is just so obvious here; Running Man was out seven years ago, when the Internet was popular, but still wasn’t people’s lives. Now, in 2016, people’s lives are about the Internet.

And can you think of how many times they’ve used the Internet to play games? A few times? And how about their interaction with the Internet during broadcast?

The Internet is here to stay, and if they refuse to swim with the waves, they’ll be swept off the ocean.

Complete burnout by viewers

Image: Running Man Daebak

I like the fact that they’re trying to position the series as a “Season 2” in 2017, but really? After seven years? What’s this, the seven-year itch?

If they’ve projected burnout, which is common among people in this Internet era, they should have initiated Season 2 earlier. It goes back to the same argument: why haven’t they been analysing people’s entertainment consumption habits? It’s 2016, when people change their habits as fast as changing clothes, not 1996, when Days of Our Lives can last for thousands of episodes without burnout!