Oh the horrors.
It was a very messy ending I must say. For those who are in the dark, let me break it down for you.
14/12/2016: Kim Jong-kook are Song Ji-hyo rumoured to leave RM, RM was courting Kang Ho-dong to join the new season
15/12/2016: Their respective agencies announce that Jong-kook was only informed about his departure two days prior, and Ji-hyo actually found out through the media about the line-up change. Due to this controversy, Kang Ho-dong decides to turn down the show. (Which is quite sad because Yoo Jae-suk & Kang Ho-dong in one show would have brought things back to epic X-man days.)
16/12/2016: Cast and production team hold emergency meeting to sort things out. It has been thus decided that RM will end in Feb 2017 with all 6 cast members. There will be no Season 2.
Sigh. From what I see, it’s highly likely that the higher-ups in SBS issued some sort of ultimatum to the RM production team. It’s no secret that RM has struggling quite badly in terms of ratings (~6%), it’s a far cry from its heyday (~15%), and probably the only thing keeping this franchise alive is its incredibly humongous international popularity. I think RM is the only variety show that flies its casts overseas for fanmeets?!?!
Back to the ultimatum, production team was probably on a fairly tight deadline to turn this sinking ship around, and thus they rushed the whole process of proper communication with Jong-kook and Ji-hyo and the recruitment of Ho-dong. And now that Ho-dong bailed, this Titanic ship started to sink even faster.
So rather than trying to save this sinking ship, they decided to let RM end on a high (as high as it can be with poor ratings, but at least on good terms though?). So Ji-hyo and Jong-kook will be joining back the cast for the remainder of the episodes. Um… won’t things be awkward?
Actually, if RM really wanted to save its ratings, they shouldn’t have recruited Ho-dong. I think Song Joong-ki is the REAL SOLUTION. Even if half the people in love with DOTS tuned in, it will still be a good 15% ratings 😉