Actor Lee Kwang-soo will not be replaced on the popular South Korean variety show Running Man anytime soon, says the programme’s producer.
The actor had announced his decision to leave the show in April, citing health problems for his leg following a traffic accident last year. Lee was one of the seven original cast members on the long-running show, which made its premiere in 2010, and had been a mainstay.
However, he faced difficulties keeping up with the show due to the physical demands, as he is still undergoing physical therapy. According to his agency, Lee made the decision to leave the show to focus on his ankle recovery, per Soompi.
Speaking to Hankook Ilbo, Running Man‘s producer Choi Bo Pil, said that Lee’s departure was “not all that sudden [to us]”. And, as a result, the team currently has “no plans to change the current nature of the programme”, as translated by Koreaboo.
“We will be monitoring the transition and figuring it out on our own. We may decide later on that we want to add new members, but we are not actively working towards that right now,” he added. “We will be focusing on building the chemistry between the current members and using that to better our [the show’s] direction”
Since its debut in 2010, Running Man has become one of South Korea’s most popular variety shows. The show currently has over 550 episodes and continues to air weekly. A Chinese adaptation of the show called Keep Running started in 2014.
Lee is not the first original cast member of Running Man to leave the show. Previous cast members such as actor Song Joong-ki and singer-rapper Gary departed from the show in 2011 and 2016, respectively. The last major cast change was the additions of comedian Yang Se-chan and actress Jeon So-min in 2017.