Song Ji Hyo and Kim Jong Kook Confirmed to Leave SBS running Man
Kyung Ho Kim, Dec. 14, 2016, 9:12 a.m.
The cast mates Song JI Hyo and Kim Jong Kook have been confirmed to leave SBS Running Man. Recent rumors circulating revealed that a new season is in the discussion for next year with a new member, Kang Ho Dong, joining, and current members, Song Ji Hyo and Kim Jong Kook, leaving the show.
Song Ji Hyo's label MY Company confirmed the reports, and announced, "Song Ji Hyo is leaving 'Running Man'. There was a long discussion with the producers as it was overwhelming for her to handle both acting promotions and a variety show. She plans to focus on her acting career after leaving 'Running Man'. The date of her departure is currently in adjustment." Kim Jong Kook's label Maroo Entertainment also announced, "Kim Jong Kook decided to leave 'Running Man'. The exact date of departure is not yet confirmed."
Running Man is a South Korean variety show, forming part of SBS's Good Sunday lineup. It first aired on July 11, 2010, and as of 2016, it is one of the longest-running variety programs in South Korean history, currently at six years, surpassing the channel's previous variety show, X-man (at three and a half years), and behind MBC's Infinite Challenge (11 years), and KBS2's 1 Night 2 Days (9 years).
Cheon Seong Im, better known by her stage name Song Ji-hyo, is a South Korean actress and model. She first made her acting debut in Wishing Stairs (2003), one of the films in the Whispering Corridors film series. Her notable roles include being the ballerina Min Hyo-rin in the popular television series Princess Hours (2006), Lady Ye So-ya in Jumong (2007), the Queen in the movie A Frozen Flower (2008), and Oh Jin-hee in Emergency Couple (2014). Song gained international fame for being the only female member of the popular Korean variety show Running Man, which made her popularity rise across Asia. Her strong and easy-going personality endeared her to many Korean and international fans.
Kim Jong Kook is a South Korean singer and TV personality. He was initially part of the Korean duo Turbo, however, he later pursued a successful career as a solo artist. Apart from being a 3 Daesang Award winning singer, he is also an active participant in variety shows such as X-man and Family Outing (since episode 19). His last filming of the variety show, Running Man is set on 19 December 2016. He is also known for having hosted a documentary program called Escape Crisis No.1 (also known as Safety First!) until April 2016.