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Kim Byung-man expresses disappointment over “Jungle Bob” and reflects on “Law of the Jungle” legacy

Kim Byung-man expresses disappointment over “Jungle Bob” and reflects on “Law of the Jungle” legacy.

Kim Byung-man expressed his disappointment regarding the news of the new SBS variety show “Jungle Bob”.

“Jungle Bob” is a program that explores foreign food cultures, directed by Kim Jin-ho PD, who led the “Law of the Jungle” series. Some view “Jungle Bob” as a spin-off, but SBS clarified that it is a completely different program from the planning stage. Kim Byung-man was not included in the lineup of participants.

According to Kim Byung-man, around February this year, he met with high-ranking officials from SBS entertainment studios and proposed an idea for a spin-off focused on experiences and healing rather than jungle survival. Kim Jin-ho PD was also present. The concept involved setting up a chef’s table with ingredients hunted in the wilderness, sharing meals and conversations with guests. Kim Byung-man wanted to visit remote areas, meet indigenous people, and explore local cuisines, which were scenes frequently seen in “Law of the Jungle”. This was an extension of those ideas.

At the time, the discussion progressed in a tone of “Let’s try this together.” Kim Byung-man mentioned, “Later, I invited PD Kim to my office and discussed further ideas like ‘Let’s try this as well,’ or ‘If we’re doing it on air, let’s develop it further.’ However, after a month or two, I heard rumors about ‘Jungle Bob,’ and later, PD Kim contacted me. He told me they would proceed without me. Copyright? It’s natural for the broadcasting station to own it. Casting? It’s naturally the production team’s choice.”

“They said they would do it without me. I asked PD Kim what comes to mind when he hears ‘jungle.’ He replied, ‘Kim Byung-man.’ Although ‘Law of the Jungle’ is in an ambiguous hiatus, won’t people associate ‘Jungle Craft’ with a spin-off? So, why exclude Kim Byung-man? I suggested considering a different title instead.”

However, on the 17th, news about the new program “Jungle Bob” was announced. Kim Byung-man said, “PD Kim claimed ‘Jungle Bob’ is unrelated to ‘Law of the Jungle,’ but he didn’t want ‘Jungle’ to be forgotten. Isn’t that contradictory? If he felt that way, he should have done his own program. Ultimately, it feels like they stole ideas, leaving out the person. So, it feels like I’ve been tossed aside.”

Law of the Jungle (TV Series 2011– ) - IMDb

For Kim Byung-man, “Law of the Jungle” holds special meaning. Kim Soon-young, the former SBS entertainment department director who brought Kim Byung-man to SBS from KBS 2TV’s “Gag Concert,” testified, “‘Law of the Jungle’ started from Kim Byung-man’s idea.” He recalled, “‘During ‘Kiss and Cry’ filming, Kim Byung-man said, ‘Give me a knife, and I’ll take a few people to live in the jungle and come back.’ His idea was approved immediately because Kim Byung-man was going to do it himself. After ‘Kiss and Cry’ ended in August 2011, we went straight to Namibia in October for the first shoot.”

Kim Byung-man said, “I consider ‘Law of the Jungle’ the first and last program with my name involved. It’s a program that has given me a lot. I also risked my life to challenge skydiving instructor certification, scuba diving, pilot certification, etc. I invested time and money to acquire the skills needed for filming. I also studied documentaries and learned about wilderness food. It sparked my interest in ESG and coexistence with nature. It changed my life, so I worked harder and approached it with a sense of ownership.”

He continued, “I’ve been hurt a lot while doing broadcasts. Although I love what I do, it’s not something I want to do for a long time. I don’t have a strong desire to make a lot of money. I just want to communicate with fans and staff simply and live with them for the rest of my life. But now that it’s ending like this, it feels bittersweet. I have no intention of appearing. I don’t want to beg, but I don’t want to lie either.”

“Law of the Jungle” is a program that documents the survival experiences of Kim Byung-man and other cast members, which premiered on October 21, 2011. It went on hiatus briefly due to COVID-19 in June 2020 but resumed broadcasting in August 2020, ultimately ending in May 2021. Since then, Kim Byung-man has been showcasing “Jungle Craft” content on his YouTube channel with “Law of the Jungle” staff.


Author Nat.O
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