Clever stars put to the test in ‘Code’

By 원호정

Celebrity cast challenged to escape locked rooms using only their wits

  • Published : Dec 29, 2015 - 17:12
  • Updated : Dec 29, 2015 - 17:12

Ten stars, each with different individual strengths in creativity, math or games, lock themselves in a room eight stories underground for JTBC‘s new entertainment program “Code.”

The show is an adaptation of popular “escape room” games that began online with versions like “Doors & Rooms” and “The Mansion,” and eventually grew into physical off-line versions. In the games, players are required to find clues in anything from paintings on the walls to bar codes on the backs of books to help them unlock a door and escape within the allotted time.

Eight of the 10 members of the “Code” cast pose for press at the Stanford Hotel Seoul on Tuesday: (from left) Lee Yong-jin, Shin Jae-pyung, Kim Hee-chul, Choi Song-hyun, Ji Ju-yeon, Seo Yu-ri, Baek Sung-hyun and Han Suk-joon. (JTBC)

The cast for the TV version includes names like Super Junior’s Kim Hee-chul, known for his out-of-the-box thinking, Jung Jun-ha of “Infinite Challenge,” former quiz show host Han Suk-joon, Seoul National University graduate and actress Ji Joo-yeon and music duo Peppertones‘ Shin Jae-pyung, who is known for his high IQ.

On the program, the 10 contestants will compete in a tournament, with winners advancing up one underground floor each week until the final winner emerges at ground level to win 20 million won ($17,100).

At a press conference at the Stanford Hotel Seoul on Tuesday, producer Han Joo-hee said she was surprised at how quickly the cast moved through the rounds.  

“To escape, it’s important to be able to find the hints in the room, and to know how to put them together,” she said. “Everyone on the cast is very smart and we don‘t film for very long because the rounds go very quickly.”

“This isn’t a program where we are given a problem and we have to solve it,” announcer Choi Song-hyun said, introducing the program and its appeal. “It all starts with finding the problem to solve (to escape the room) in the first place. I think it’ll be fun for our viewers to try to guess which items are clues and which items are just there to confuse us.”

Han Suk-joon, who spent 10 years as a quiz show host, said, “The fun in these types of shows is not only in watching the players work their way through problems, but having our viewers try to figure out the solutions along with us. ‘Code’ maximizes that aspect. I hope our viewers will all spend a weekend night each week thinking hard.”

“Code” premieres on JTBC this week. It is set to air every Friday at 11 p.m.

By Won Ho-jung (hjwon@heraldcorp.com)