Best Variety Show MCs of 2017

The Best Variety Show MCs of 2017

I got the idea for making this list after watching Jo Woo-jong rank various MCs on Knowing Bros Episode 61. Of course, the top five list is subjective, but I did my best to keep by biases out and try to create a fairly accurate list.

There were certainly a lot of people who I thought about adding, but just didn’t make the cut like Park Myung-soo, Jun Hyun-moo, Kim Seong-joo, Kim Yong-man, and Park Soo-hong, so I thought I’d at least give them a mention here.

When coming up with the top five, I thought about both their longevity and impact on Korean variety shows.

Also, one unfortunate thing I noticed was that there were no women on the list. Hopefully, that will change in the next few years because there are quite a few promising rising stars like Park Na-rae and Jang Do-yeon.
The Top Korean Variety Show MCs of 2017 Yoo Jae-suk, Kang Ho-dong, Kim Gura, Lee Kyung-kyu, Shin Dong-yup Daesang Grand Prize Winners 2012-2016 KBS MBC SBS Hall of Fame MC Korean Song Hae, Johnny Yune, Joo Byung-jin, Heo Cham 1970s - 1980s Early variety shows were held in the style of school field days. MCs of this time were relatively serious with an emphasis on clear, straightforward pronunciation. One of the most famous MCs was announcer Byeon Woong-jeon of "A Delightful Blessing" (유쾌한청백전). Another popular MC was singer Park Sang-gyu who was known for his wit. He hosted "All Star Show" (올스타쇼) and "Sunday Big Festival" (일요큰잔치).. 1980s - 1990s This period saw the rise of diverse formats such as MC Song Hae's "National Singing Contest" (전국노래자랑), Lee Sang-yong's "Friendship Stage" (우정의무대), and Heo Cham's "Family Arcade" (가족오락관). This was also the start of talk shows led by a single, charismatic MC such as Joo Byeong-jin, Johnny Yune, Lim Sung-hoon, Lee Hong-ryeol, and Kim Hyeong-gon. 1990s - 2000s Starting in the mid-1990s, variety shows started to favor MC teams or casts that were led by one or two charismatic main MCs such as Yoo Jae-suk, Kang Ho-dong, and Lee Young-ja. Popular shows of this time include Hero 6, X-man, Family Outing, Infinite Challenge, and  1 Night 2 Days. 2000s - 2010s In addition to the classic MC who was polite and friendly, these decades saw the rise of aggressive MCs such as Tak Jae-hoon and Kim Gura. Also, the popularity of audition programs and reality shows meant that variety shows now often had a large number of panel or cast members which led to a preference for MCs with colorful personalities.



  1. Anonymous

    May I know what you use for making infographics? Is it Canva? I use that too and it looks quite similar. Canva is very helpful. 😀

  2. le

    Nice post, interesting to learn about the history of variety show MCs. BTW can you post about female MCs? It feels rare to see a female host on variety shows nowadays.

    • Korean Variety Recaps

      The only female main MCs I can think of are the ones on Video Star like Kim Sook and Park Na-Rae. Of course there are tons of female MC right now but they mostly play supporting roles like Jang Do-yeon on the Yang Nam Show or Kim Ji Min on 3 chefs. Can you think of any other female MCs that have had an impact?

      I guess I could open it up to those who aren’t currently that active like Kim Won-hee or Jo hye-Ryun.

      • noiha

        lee young ja 😀

  3. M

    For me for the latter half 2016 and 2017 until now, Kim Heechul has been hosting several shows really well and seems to be at the top lately.

    • Korean Variety Recaps

      I agree. Kim Heechul has been doing well on cable, but his basic channel shows haven’t been doing well. For example, he’s pretty lackluster in Secretly Greatly. I think it’s because his crew (other than the guys from Knowing Bros) is made up of mostly young idols, so it’s more fitting for cable.

      He has a pilot show though Bragging Room Guest with Park Myung-soo, so maybe that will get picked up. I haven’t watched it though.

      Thanks for the comment. I love hearing from people.

  4. noiha

    kim gura also hosted king of masked singer, how could you miss one of his highest rated show lol jk

    anw i’m a bit sad about lee soogeun because he’s on his way to daesang if only he didn’t involve in scandal. i hope he can do more shows in public broadcast too. and i always thought both tak jaehoon and shin junghwan are genius but they screw themselves over -_-

    what do you think of jeon hyeon moo? that guy took so many shows at the moment. and if you could pick top 10, who are the other 5? xD

    • Korean Variety Recaps

      I only like Lee Soo-geun when he’s with Kang Ho-dong, and I think he misses the mark a bit when he’s not with him. He’s really good with ad libs and comes up with the most hilarious jabs on “Knowing Bros” and “New Journey to the West,” but in “Secretly Greatly” and “Guesthouse Daughters” his jokes just don’t have the same punch.

      I’m not really a fan of Jeon Hyun-moo. I can appreciate how hard working he is, but I just don’t find him entertaining or witty. I’ll watch his shows if I’m bored, but I won’t go out of my way to watch them.

      If i made a top 10 list, I’d definitely add Park Myung-soo. Even though he’s seems so grumpy on TV, he actually helps mentor a lot of nobodies who do internet broadcasts, so I respect him for that.

      Lee Soo-geun and Lee Sang-min would be on that list too. Not sure about the other three. I’ll have to think about it some more.

      Also, thanks for the great insight!


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