The Most Popular Korean Variety Show, Ranked

Choose the show you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 14, 2024 06:42
Fans of Korean entertainment often find themselves spoilt for choice with the array of shows available. Every viewer has their preferences, influenced by humor, celebrity guests, or creative challenges that different shows offer. Understanding which shows resonate with viewers can help new audiences find their way into this enriching entertainment segment. This site provides a dynamic, user-generated ranking of Korean variety shows based on popular vote. By participating, users not only support their favorite shows but also help others discover content that best matches their tastes. The list is constantly updated according to new votes, reflecting the latest trends and viewer preferences.

What Is the Most Popular Korean Variety Show?

  1. 1

    Running Man

    Jo Hyo-jin and Kim Joo-hyung
    Running Man is one of the longest-running and most popular variety shows in South Korea. The show features celebrity guests competing in various challenges and games, often with a comedic twist.
    Running Man is a popular Korean variety show that first aired on July 11, 2010. It is a reality game show where the cast members and celebrity guests participate in various missions and challenges. The show is known for its fast-paced and entertaining format, combining physical activities, puzzle-solving, and comedic elements.
    • Genre: Variety show
    • Original release: July 11, 2010
    • Broadcast network: SBS
    • Running time: 90-130 minutes
    • Main cast: Yoo Jae-suk, Kim Jong-kook, Ha Dong-hoon (Haha), Ji Suk-jin, Lee Kwang-soo, Yang Se-chan, Jeon So-min
  2. 2

    Infinite Challenge

    Kim Tae-ho
    Infinite Challenge is known for its unique and creative challenges that often involve the cast members traveling to different locations and completing tasks. The show has won numerous awards and is considered one of the most influential variety shows in Korean television history.
    Infinite Challenge is one of the most popular Korean variety shows, known for its entertaining and unique format. The show features a group of celebrity cast members who participate in various challenges and missions, often incorporating comedy and humor into their performances. It has gained a massive following both domestically and internationally.
    • Air Date: 2005 - 2018
    • Genre: Variety show, Comedy
    • Running Time: Approximately 80-90 minutes per episode
    • Main Cast Members: Yoo Jae-suk, Park Myung-soo, Haha, Jung Jun-ha, Yang Se-hyung, Jo Se-ho
    • Number of Episodes: 558
  3. 3
    Knowing Bros features a panel of comedians who quiz celebrity guests about their personal lives and careers. The show has gained a large following for its witty humor and entertaining games.
    Knowing Bros, also known as Men on a Mission, is a popular South Korean variety show that first aired in 2015. The show revolves around a fixed cast of celebrity hosts who engage in various improvised games, quizzes, and skits with their guests. The hosts, known as the 'brothers,' use humor and wit to create a fun and entertaining atmosphere. Through the show, the guests share stories, showcase their talents, and participate in hilarious challenges. Knowing Bros has gained a significant following due to its unique format and the chemistry between the hosts and guests.
    • Original Release Date: December 2015
    • Genre: Variety show
    • Number of Episodes: 300+
    • Running Time: Approximately 75-100 minutes
    • Main Hosts: Kang Ho-dong, Lee Soo-geun, Kim Young-chul, Seo Jang-hoon, Kim Hee-chul, Min Kyung-hoon, Lee Sang-min
  4. 4

    2 Days & 1 Night

    Na Young-seok
    2 Days & 1 Night is a travel variety show where the cast members go on overnight trips to various locations in South Korea. The show has gained a reputation for showcasing the beauty and culture of different regions in the country.
    2 Days & 1 Night is a long-running South Korean reality-variety show that follows a group of celebrities as they embark on different two-day and one-night trips across various locations in South Korea. The show features various challenges, games, and missions that the members must complete, often involving local traditions, culture, and food.
    • Genre: Reality-variety
    • Original network: KBS2
    • First aired: August 5, 2007
    • Running time: 80-100 minutes per episode
    • Number of seasons: 4
  5. 5
    The Return of Superman follows celebrity fathers who take care of their children for 48 hours without their wives. The show has become popular for its heartwarming moments and the adorable interactions between the fathers and their children.
    The Return of Superman is a popular Korean variety show that showcases the lives of celebrity fathers taking care of their children without the help of their wives. The show is aimed at providing heartwarming and entertaining moments as the fathers navigate through parenting challenges and bonds with their kids.
    • Genre: Reality show
    • Country of Origin: South Korea
    • Original Language: Korean
    • First Episode Date: November 3, 2013
    • Running Time: 90 minutes per episode
  6. 6

    Weekly Idol

    MBC Every1
    Weekly Idol features K-pop idols as guests and showcases their talents and personalities through various segments and games. The show has become a must-watch for K-pop fans.
    Weekly Idol is a popular Korean variety show that focuses on K-pop idol groups. The show provides a platform for various idol groups to showcase their talents, engage in fun activities, interviews, and performances. It aims to provide a light-hearted and entertaining experience for both the idols and the viewers.
    • Genre: Variety Show
    • Format: Talk show, Games, Performances
    • Language: Korean
    • Original network: MBC Every1
    • Original release: July 23, 2010
  7. 7

    Happy Together

    Kim Mi-hwa
    Happy Together is a talk show where celebrity guests share their personal stories and experiences. The show has been praised for its relaxed and casual atmosphere, allowing guests to open up and share their candid thoughts.
    Happy Together is a popular Korean variety show that airs on KBS2. The show brings together celebrity guests, who share their stories, play games, and engage in humorous conversations with the hosts. The main goal of the show is to provide entertainment and laughter to viewers. Happy Together has been on-air since 2001 and has gained immense popularity among Korean audiences.
    • Original network: KBS2
    • First aired: November 8, 2001
    • Genre: Variety show
    • Language: Korean
    • Country of origin: South Korea
  8. 8

    New Journey to the West

    Na Young-seok
    New Journey to the West is a travel variety show where the cast members go on a journey to find the scriptures of Buddhism. The show is known for its hilarious moments and the chemistry between the cast members.
    New Journey to the West is a popular Korean variety show that follows a group of celebrities on a comedic journey inspired by the classical Chinese novel Journey to the West.
    • First Aired: September 4, 2015
    • Genre: Reality, Comedy
    • Number of Seasons: 6
    • Main Cast: Kang Ho-dong, Lee Soo-geun, Eun Ji-won, Ahn Jae-hyun, Kyuhyun
    • Running Time: Approximately 80 minutes
  9. 9

    I Live Alone

    Na Young-seok
    I Live Alone follows the daily lives of celebrities who live alone. The show has become popular for its honest and relatable portrayal of the struggles and joys of living alone.
    I Live Alone is a popular South Korean variety show that follows the daily lives of celebrities who live alone. The show gives viewers an intimate and unfiltered look into the personal lives of these celebrities, documenting their routines, hobbies, and interactions with family and friends.
    • Genre: Reality TV
    • Original network: MBC
    • Original release: March 22, 2013 – present
    • Country of origin: South Korea
    • Language: Korean
  10. 10

    Three Meals a Day

    Na Young-seok
    Three Meals a Day is a cooking variety show where the cast members cook their own meals using ingredients from the surrounding area. The show has gained a following for its relaxing and cozy atmosphere, showcasing the beauty of the countryside.
    Three Meals a Day is a popular Korean variety show that follows the concept of celebrities living in a rural setting and cooking their own meals with limited resources.
    • Genre: Reality-cooking show
    • Original release: 2014-present
    • Network: tvN
    • Main cast: Lee Seo-jin, Ok Taec-yeon, Eric Mun, Yoon Kyun-sang
    • Running time: Around 90 minutes per episode

Missing your favorite show?


Ranking factors for popular show

  1. Ratings and viewership
    One of the key factors is the ratings and viewership of the show. High ratings indicate the show is well-received and popular among the audience. It is also essential to consider the show's performance over time, as maintaining consistent high ratings is a mark of a successful variety show.
  2. International appeal
    With the rise of streaming platforms, it is crucial to consider the show's popularity outside of Korea. International viewership may indicate that the show has a broader appeal, and can contribute to its overall popularity.
  3. Online engagement
    Social media presence, discussions on forums, and the number of website views can serve as indicators of a show's popularity. The more people are talking and engaging with the content, the more popular the show is likely to be.
  4. Awards and accolades
    An esteemed variety show often garners awards and honors from the entertainment industry. Taking note of the awards the show has received can be an indicator of its quality and popularity.
  5. Longevity and consistency
    A show that has been running for several years implies that it has consistently appealed to audiences and maintained its popularity over time. Additionally, the show's ability to adapt and stay relevant is a crucial factor in determining its ongoing success.
  6. Talent and cast chemistry
    The appeal of the hosts and guests on the show is vital. Popular and well-liked cast members can draw viewers in, while the chemistry between them can contribute to the show's overall appeal.
  7. Production quality
    High production values, creativity, and engaging content are essential to maintain viewers' interest and contribute to a show's overall popularity.
  8. Impact on pop culture
    Look for references to the show in other media, such as parodies or catchphrases becoming part of the popular lexicon. The more influential a show is in pop culture, the more popular it is likely to be.
  9. Format and uniqueness
    The format of the show and what sets it apart from other programs in the genre can contribute to its popularity. A unique or groundbreaking format can attract more viewers and keep them entertained.
  10. Critical reception
    Last but not least, consider what critics and experts in the field have to say about the show. Positive reviews can enhance a show's credibility and contribute to its popularity.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular Korean variety show. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or show is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 215 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each show once every 24 hours. The rank of each show is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular korean variety show

South Korea has become a hub for entertainment, particularly for its television shows, known as K-variety shows. These shows are often referred to as "reality shows" or "variety shows" and typically feature celebrities, comedians, or other public figures engaging in various challenges, games, and activities. Some of the most popular K-variety shows include Running Man, Infinite Challenge, Knowing Bros, and 2 Days & 1 Night. These shows not only provide entertainment but also give viewers a glimpse into Korean culture and lifestyle. In recent years, K-variety shows have gained international recognition and popularity, with fans all around the world tuning in to watch their favorite shows. With so many great options to choose from, it's no wonder that people are constantly debating which K-variety show is the most popular.

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