Run BTS: Is the Variety Show Ending?

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BTS has been professionally “running” in the form of a “self-produced” variety show for six years and over 150 episodes, and, last week, Weverse announced the long-running series will be taking a break. Run BTS is a variety show, first launched in 2015, that features the seven members of BTS taking part in challenges, fighting zombies, dodging water guns, playing games, making kimchi, being silly, and occasionally writing heartfelt letters to one another. This past Tuesday marked the release of Episode 154, which saw the members reflecting on all they’ve done on the show so far, as well as what it has meant to them and ARMY, before going on the announced break. BigHit has not yet announced when Run BTS will return.

Is Run BTS ending? Short answer: no. The members make clear in the two-part finale that this is a pause, but not a full stop. The members are about to go on a mini-tour, playing four sold-out concerts at the end of November and early December in Los Angeles, as well as an online concert later this month. (And, hopefully, they will have a chance to go on a wider, in-person tour soon.) Past that, they have a different show, In the Soop Season 2, premiering Friday.

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Of course, a busy schedule hasn’t stopped BTS from filming episodes of their self-produced variety show in the past. They have notably filmed some episodes from hotels while on tour, in-between shows. What’s different? Well, they’re incredibly popular, for one, which means they can take a break without worrying about losing too much (or any) momentum. Also, they’ve been a group for more than eight years at this point, which means that, for new ARMY in particular, there is eight years’ worth of content to catch up. Heck, even ARMY who have been with BTS from the beginning likely have content to catch up on, given how hard these members and their team have worked to create content for fans since debut. (OK, actually since before debut.)

It’s worth noting, as well, that just because BTS is taking a break from their incredibly popular (and endlessly delightful) variety show doesn’t mean they are taking a break from making content altogether. There is the previously-mentioned In the Soop and concerts, of course, but BTS hasn’t released an album in almost a year, since November 2020’s “BE.” That’s not a huge gap, and it’s not like BTS hasn’t been releasing chart-topping songs in the meantime. However, BTS has no doubt had more time to produce music, given they mostly haven’t been able to travel or perform in person for more than a year. Could BTS have a new album around the corner? If so, the promotion around their comeback would no doubt take a lot of time and energy away from filming new episodes of Run BTS.

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Whatever the details behind the hiatus, the bottom line is that BTS and the Run BTS crew deserve a break. As Jimin said in Episode 154: “To tell the truth, we chose this rest. We made this decision to do better with our members and ARMY. We chose to take a break because we want to do even better. So I’m not too sad. We chose this. It can be disappointing and sad now, but I don’t want you to be sad. I hope you aren’t too sad or disappointed. I am very grateful to ARMY for your continuous support.”

“About this break, we need it, but our crew does too,” added Suga, noting that they have been making the show since shortly after the second anniversary of their debut. “Our crew worked really hard, and BTS as well.”

Run BTS is taking a break,” concluded leader RM, “but it will definitely continue.”

When Will Run BTS Be Back?

At the absolute earliest, Run BTS could be back at the beginning of 2022, but I would expect a much longer break, especially if BTS goes on a proper concert tour. The show has gone on hiatus before without this level of fanfare, so BTS and BigHit seem to want to communicate to fans that this break is different—i.e. longer.

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There’s also BTS’ mandatory military service to consider. While an exemption is certainly possible, it is by no means definite at this point. Jin, BTS’ oldest member (though he is only three months older than Suga) will turn 30 in December of next year, which means he would have to enlist in the military before then, with the other members to follow at various points after. If this happens, BTS’ content schedule will of course be impacted.

Whenever Run BTS returns, we know it will return. As Suga said: “A comma is not an end.” And I always trust Suga.

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