Four of Korea’s most popular TV shows are at risk after popular host Kang Ho-dong abruptly announced Friday that he would “tentatively” retire from the entertainment industry due to public uproar over his evasion of tax.
Earlier, on Monday, Kang had apologized to the public for failing to properly declare his income, after being ordered by the National Tax Service to pay penalty taxes.
Kang has been one of the two most prominent hosts, along with MC Yoo Jae-seok, in recent years.
Before his announcement, Kang was the host KBS reality show “Happy Sunday: 1 Night, 2 Days,” SBS talent search program “Star King” and variety talk show “Strong Heart” and MBC talk show “Golden Fishery: Knee Guru.”
TV show host Kang Ho-dong at a press conference at a hotel in Seoul, Friday (Yonhap News)
It has been confirmed that “1 Night, 2 Days” will be aired until February 2012. Broadcasters have not said whether they will continue the other three shows with a new MC or scrap them.
On Friday, Kang held an unscheduled press conference, announcing that he would leave show business “temporarily.”
The Korean traditional wrestler-turned-entertainer said he could not give joy and happiness to TV viewers after causing public uproar over his “unintended” tax evasion.
He did not elaborate on how long his semi-retirement will be or whether he will ever be back.
The NTS said Kang had been under a tax evasion probe for five months. His lawyer and tax service provider raised a few objections to the NTS but they concluded that Kang paid less money in taxes than he was supposed to pay.
The sum of Kang’s additional taxes was not disclosed but news reports said he will pay hundreds of millions of won.
Before the tax evasion debacle, Kang had announced that he would leave “1 Night, 2 Days,” prompting speculation that he would move to one of the new “comprehensive programming channels” to be run by four major conservative newspapers.
By Kim Yoon-mi (email@example.com