Running Man Yoo Jae Suk to take on new show on Korean cable channel

SEOUL (KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK ) - Running Man comedian Yoo Jae Suk will host a pilot for a show for channel JTBC, paving the way for big-name entertainers to move to cable networks.

Since his debut in 1991, Yoo has grown to become one of South Korea's most popular television hosts, sweeping entertainment industry awards for several years.

He has been involved in some of the country's most popular and longest running variety programmes, such as MBC's Infinite Challenge and SBS's Running Man. With his popularity across generations and terrestrial broadcasters, he has earned the moniker Yooneunim, a combination of his name and the Korean word for god.

He is set to be the star host of a show JTBC is planning for August.

Along with Kang Ho Dong, another showbiz heavyweight, Yoo had until now stuck with terrestrial broadcasters.

Yoo's decision is said to have been influenced in large part by his connection to producer Yoon Hyun Joon, who will be working on the JTBC programme.

It is also indicative of JTBC's changing status in the country's broadcasting industry.

Since its launch in 2011, JTBC has set the pace for general cable channels. JTBC and three other general cable channels - TV Chosun, Channel A and MBN -- were launched that year.

While its three competitors have focused on older viewers with political talk shows and current affairs programmes, JTBC has given significant weight to entertainment from the outset.

JTBC's entertaining programming has succeeded with variety shows such as Hidden Singer, a competition programme featuring singers and impersonators, and Non-Summit, a talk show featuring non-Korean men living in Korea.

The JTBC shows has given rise to new stars, such as the expat cast of Non-Summit, and shed new light on established celebrities.