KBS's long-running variety program 'Happy Together' aired the final episode of its fourth season on April 2. MC Yoo Jae Suk stated that the end of the season is "a goodbye meant to lead to a fresh start". The staff has also said that they would be "stopping the season for a period of rest." However, many wonder if the program will be able to return on air given its poor ratings.
'Happy Together' has been airing since 2001, but recently, the program has been suffering from low ratings. This is also signaling a new change of variety show format popularities, with talk shows declining in popularity. Talk shows were popular at the beginning of the 2010s, with shows such as 'Healing Camp' and more which told the life stories of people. However, with the change of viewer's tastes, this format is now declining in popularity. Even trendy shows like 'Lee Dong Wook Wants To Talk' are suffering from low ratings with ratings in the 2 to 4 percent range. According to Nielsen Korea, 'Happy Together 4's ratings ranged between 3 to 4 percent with the lowest point being 1.8% for the March 5 broadcast.
Although this format is still popular on radio broadcasts, it is clear that trends are shifting in the TV variety world. Competition shows such as 'Mr. Trot' are hitting ratings as high as 35 percent. Pop culture critic Ha Jae Geun stated: "In the past, you could only listen to celebrities talk through talk shows. It's not like that anymore. Now, celebrities reveal their private life on platforms such as Youtube which is growing in popularity. It is hard to gain popularity with a talk show that only has one to two guests that centers around sincere stories."