PD Kim Tae Ho Talks About His Planned Dream Finale For “Infinite Challenge,” Potential For 2nd Season, And More
Producing director (PD) Kim Tae Ho produced MBC’s “Infinite Challenge” for 13 years. In a recent interview with Ilgan Sports, he talked about his work, the show, and the future.
The cast and crew filmed “Infinite Challenge” on Thursdays and new episodes were aired on Saturdays. After the end of season one, Kim Tae Ho said his first thought was, “What do I do starting next Thursday?” and said he wants to fill his time and mind with literature.
The crew was rewarded with a paid vacation from the network after the season wrapped. Kim Tae Ho commented, “13 years ago, there was no status for variety shows. The primary goal was, ‘How do I make this efficiently with low production costs?’ Before we were a famous program, it was difficult to get this kind of treatment. In some way, we concluded with applause. I think if we continued longer then came to an end, we may have been outside of people’s interest.”
When asked if the members will join them on the reward vacation, Kim Tae Ho replied, “Even if we can’t go on the reward vacation, we said let’s grab a meal together or go on a trip to somewhere nearby. We talked about going for years but couldn’t go. I’m trying to think about it slowly. I think Yang Se Hyung and Jo Se Ho are receiving lots of offers from other programs and will be busy, so it’ll probably be difficult for them to participate.”
Kim Tae Ho also shared the reaction of previous cast member Kwanghee, who’s currently serving in the military. “It’s said he cried a lot in the military,” said the producing director. “He called Yang Se Hyung and the writer, said that he’s sad about ‘Infinite Challenge’ ending, and sobbed.”
Talking about what’s next, he said, “I’m going to think a lot about new things. Many people are asking about my plans, but I can’t give a specific answer. I’ve rested for six months because of the strike and have intentionally taken time off for two months, but since I eventually returned to ‘Infinite Challenge,’ I kept adjusting to that mold.”
He continued, “I know the members too well inside and out, so I could no longer create a fun story as before. So, I thought that the PD needed to be changed. What I thought the most was, ‘What can I do about ‘Infinite Challenge’? I tried not to think about myself. It’s a program that lasted way longer than its initial plan of six months. We only continued trusting the viewers and wanted to think about the ending with viewers as well, so I’m sad that we weren’t able to do that.”
He also revealed his biggest reason for stopping the show. Kim Tae Ho stated, “All of us know our usefulness very well. I didn’t think that I brought out the things that were useful for ‘Infinite Challenge.’ I was worried about what a fatal weakness that would be. I poured out all of my stories from my past 20 years into ‘Infinite Challenge.’ I need to gain other experiences to do it again.”
He added, “Many people who make Korean variety content tend to get exhausted. It’s unfortunate that they become exhausted as creators and storytellers because they’re on air for so long. This time, I don’t want to set a framework and want to think about a variety of genres starting with music videos. I also want to meet a variety of people and listen to their concerns.”
During the press conference for the end of “Infinite Challenge,” Kim Tae Ho questioned if the show was really No. 1. About this, he commented, “It’s embarrassing when it’s said that I ran this for 13 years. I didn’t do it by myself and many crew members did it with me. However, there were times when we ran out of time and broadcasted something we just put together. It’s nice that we’re the No. 1 program that Koreans like, but I suddenly questioned, ‘Are we really No.1?’”
He continued, “It seemed like a lie when it wasn’t fun even when I watched it, but I had to send out teasers and advertise it as if it was fun. Netflix has a seasonal show called ‘Black Mirror.’ There aren’t a number of episodes set for each season. It comes out when there’s a story that needs to be told. I want ‘Infinite Challenge’ to be that special too. Korean variety programs are either observing or variety. Yoo Jae Suk is the symbol of variety programs and I want each program to use him in various ways. I’m thinking about how it can look different. In some way, I trust that it’s a good thing that I stopped now. We’ll find out later, but for now, I think that it was a good decision.”
Kim Tae Ho revealed what his dream finale was for the show. He explained, “Up until a few years ago, I wanted to do an ‘Infinite Challenge’ concert, invite singers that came on the show, and do it in a boisterous way. As the song ‘My Way’ played, I wanted each member to say something, wave their hands, and go backstage as the ending.”
He continued, “I thought about inviting Noh Hong Chul and Jung Hyung Don at the end, but they needed a lot of courage to come on the present-day ‘Infinite Challenge.’ However, after going to the temple with Jo Se Ho, I became calm. Some people may say that we rushed to end it and some say that it wasn’t that special, but I thought that it would be nice to do it as a continuing special.”
The background music chosen for the last minutes of the show was BIGBANG’s “Flower Road.” Kim Tae Ho said, “A while ago, Yoo Jae Suk said that if we end the show, we should record it ourselves because then it’ll be viewed as a challenge. But instead, I thought that it would be nice to end it calmly. BIGBANG and ‘Infinite Challenge’ started around the same time, so I think it portrayed the emotions well. After thinking about ending it in a stylish way, I decided in the direction of ending in a composed, calm way.”
He also clarified the many rumors and reports of Noh Hong Chul’s return to the show. Kim Tae Ho explained, “We worked hard for his return, but when Noh Hong Chul became open to it, the schedule didn’t work out and after a year of that passed, it became hard for him to join. The opportunity then went to Jo Se Ho.”
The producing director also answered the question everyone’s been asking about a second season for “Infinite Challenge.” He stated, “There’s a large part of me that wants to do it. I want to say that I’ll confidently do it because then it means that I’m already prepared to do it. I can’t deny the fact that we came this far because of the growing inertia. It’s something we forcefully stopped. In order to get that ball rolling again, we need a lot more strength than what we previously had. If we do season two, then I’ll need an amazing amount of confidence and ideas.”
Watch the latest episode of “Infinite Challenge” now!