Running Man (Korean: 런닝맨) is a South Korean variety show, which first aired (to air = to broadcast) on July 11, 2010. Running Man was classified as an "urban action variety show"; a genre of variety shows in an urban environment. The MCs and guests were to complete missions at a city landmark to win the race. The show has since shifted to a more familiar reality-variety show concept focused on games. The show has become popular in other parts of Asia, and has gained online popularity among fans.
The first episode of the show received mixed reviews. According to Asiae the show concept was promising but the crew could not use the location to full potential and the pace was not fast and dynamic enough. Despite a slow start, Running Man became increasingly popular in South Korea and throughout Asia. In its home country the show is watched by 2.1 million people on average. Due to the existence of fansubs, it is watched outside of Asia as well, being translated into English, Spanish, Arabic and Myanmar, among others.
According to The Straits Times, the popularity of the show is due to its unpredictability, the comedy involved, the celebrity guests and the chemistry between the regular cast members. Assistant professor Liew Kai Khiun at the Nanyang Technological University attributes the appeal of Running Man to the ability of using public space in a creative way: "Running Man is about taking audiences to the various corners of not only South Korea, but the region as well. In the rather fast-paced urban societies in Asia, the show helps to provide release from the daily tensions that such streets and buildings are associated with."
According to producer Jo Hyo-jin, the show is popular because the concept of having to choose a winner is culturally easy to understand. He also named the good relationship between the regular members as one of the reasons for the show's success. Celebrity guests like Super Junior, Girls' Generation and f(x) play an important part in the success as well, although they sometimes induce criticism. For example, after the airing of the episodes involving the K-pop group 'Big Bang', some viewers complained that the band won too easily. Jo Hyo-jin, however, denied any special treatment of the celebrities. Jo explained that fans are also highly critical of the games, therefore it is not possible for the crew to reuse games without changing them.
The regular members of Running Man have a large fan base and have held several fan meetings throughout Asia. In October 2013, their Singapore fan meeting drew a crowd of 3,000. When the cast arrived for shooting in Vietnam and other countries, they were greeted by thousands of fans at the airport. Running Man continues to be one of the most popular shows on Korean television.
Match the statements below with information in paragraphs 1-5.
A. During filming in other countries, Running Man often attracts many fans.
B. The show involves participants competing in races near prominent urban features.
C. Urban environments are often places that create everyday stress.
D. Subtitles created by fans have helped the show to become popular in other countries.
E. The games in Running Man are always altered if they are used again.
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