The members of Running Man finally revealed why they no longer play “Name Tag,” the program’s signature game where the players strip off the name tags of other players, and the team with the most remaining members with their name tags intact wins.
On April 24, the program celebrated its 600th episode, a record for a variety program. To commemorate the milestone, the members gathered for a Q&A with fans, where the members finally explained the disappearance of the beloved game.
Fans of the show have been for months, wondering why the program no longer plays “Name Tag.” Many fans have stated it was probably due to the members getting older and that a game that intense was not feasible without risking injury.
Yoo Jae Suk directly contradicted the sentiment, however, when he stated, “The reason we no longer play ‘Name Tag’ is not because of our age. It has nothing to do with that.”
The nation’s comedian instead offered a more honest and logical explanation, stating, “It is because of how difficult it is to come up with different variations of the game.” Yoo Jae Suk stated further,
To be honest, we once planned an elaborate game of ‘Name Tag’ due to the viewer’s demand; however, after the episode aired, we saw our ratings drop drastically.
—Yoo Jae Suk
Haha added, “You guys say you want it, then don’t watch it.”
The game was a cornerpiece of the variety show for many years, and the show’s writers had staged elaborate settings for the game to take place. It seems, however, that the game had fallen dull to many viewers, although hardcore fans insist they miss it.
Running Man has become the last vestige of an era where broadcast companies had long-running franchise variety programs. Shows from the period include MBC‘s “Infinite Challenge,” KBS‘s original “1 Day 2 Nights,” and SBS‘s “Family Outing,” which preceded Running Man.
One of the reasons Running Man has been able to maintain its spot as a top variety program is due to its immense popularity outside Korea. First catching fire in China, the show gained audiences globally as it was at the time one of the few remaining programs that regularly had idols as guests. The program has also been remade in different countries, such as China and Vietnam.
The program would help usher in a new generation of variety programs catered to domestic and international fans of K-Pop idols, now often produced by the idols’ labels.
Will Running Man bring back the “Name Tag”? Only time will tell!