Casting Controversy and Departure of Jung Joon-ha & Shin Bong-sun: Yoo Jae-suk's 'Hangout with Yoo' Show Accused of Unfair Play
The MBC entertainment show 'Hangout with Yoo' has confirmed the departure of two of its members. Contrary to expectations of a large-scale reshuffle, it appears that only Jung Joon-ha and Shin Bong-sun are being let go. Coincidentally, these two had previously stirred up controversy for being neglected in the 'Ddaengchul Entertainment' project three months ago. Many are scratching their heads at the restructuring approach of 'Hangout with Yoo', which seems to be retaining actors while dismissing comedians.
The revamp of 'Hangout with Yoo' is set to take place in July. This comes not even a year after the show was restructured into a seven-member system with the addition of Lee Yi-kyung and Park Jin-joo in September last year. On the 5th, 'Hangout with Yoo' announced that Jung Joon-ha and Shin Bong-sun, who had been with the show for the past two years, will be leaving, expressing their gratitude for the laughter they brought to the show.
When news of 'Hangout with Yoo's' restructuring first broke last month, it was initially reported that along with Jung Joon-ha and Shin Bong-sun, Lee Yi-kyung and Park Jin-joo would also be leaving. Additionally, there were talks about the show's PD, Park Chang-hoon, moving into a Chief Producer role and placing a younger directorial team.
However, the final decision by 'Hangout with Yoo' differed. Lee Yi-kyung and Park Jin-joo are not leaving, and while Park Chang-hoon has indeed been appointed as CP, he will be completely stepping down from 'Hangout with Yoo'. The main direction of the show will be managed by Kim Jin-yong and Jang Woo-sung PD, who have worked on 'Hangout with Yoo' previously.
Ultimately, the seven-member 'Hangout with Yoo' will return to a five-member system. The change is that former members Jung Joon-ha and Shin Bong-sun will be leaving, while newcomers Lee Yi-kyung and Park Jin-joo will be staying. Regrettably, Jung Joon-ha and Shin Bong-sun were the only members who didn't make it as trainees in the 'Ddaengchul Entertainment' project, aimed at debuting boy group One Top and female duo JuJu Secret in March.
Back then, Jung Joon-ha and Shin Bong-sun, assigned as manager and director respectively in the project, faced reality far from expectations. Jung Joon-ha was sidelined, watching the members practice their dance moves, while Shin Bong-sun suddenly transformed into Dongmin's mother, taking care of the members' meals.
There were also accusations of unfair treatment, with comedians Jung Joon-ha and Shin Bong-sun being used as comic relief, while actors and singers were placed at the forefront of the project. Additional criticism was drawn over the decision to determine the activities of One Top and JuJu Secret via a paid text voting system.
Jung Joon-ha and Shin Bong-sun were "plus" members recruited by Yoo Jae-suk to alleviate the burden of his one-man operation. Jung Joon-ha, who has been working with Yoo Jae-suk since 'Infinite Challenge', played a supportive role in various projects since the early days of 'Hangout with Yoo'. Shin Bong-sun, who also had chemistry with Yoo Jae-suk in 'Happy Together', was responsible for laughter with her bold disguises. The fact that only these two are leaving, while Haha, Imi-ju, Park Jin-joo, and Lee Yi-kyung remain, is a situation that can't be described as anything but 'swallow when sweet, spit when bitter'.
'Hangout with Yoo' will take a break from broadcasting in the third and fourth weeks of June to reorganize for two weeks. Having hit a low of 3% viewership in four years, can 'Hangout with Yoo' overcome this crisis with a new five-member structure? The public's cold gaze remains on 'Hangout with Yoo', despite their promise to return stronger.