The current format (from episode 17) explores the high school concept where the cast members act like students in a classroom while guests come as newly transferred students. Most of the segments for this format portray activities that every student would do with their classmates. Subsequently, the program sometimes diversifies at the end with a segment outside of the school concept. This format has received praise from the viewers and led to a significant increase in ratings and popularity of the program.
A notable aspect of the show is the usage of the banmal (Hangul: 반말; "informal language") manner of speech used by everyone regardless of their age or seniority, thus disregarding the Korean language's strict seniority rules with spoken language and the sunbae–hoobae hierarchy in the Korean entertainment industry. The informal speech and casual setting also encourages the guests and cast to interact with each other as schoolmates often do, leading them to be comfortable enough to tease one another.
There are at least two permanent segments, which have defined the Brother School format:
- Entrance Application – a segment where a cast member (typically Lee Soo-Geun) reads the application forms the guests filled beforehand and other cast members comment on them. A highlight of this segment is the guests' preference for which cast members they would like or would not like to sit next to. The guests typically show their strengths and/or weaknesses through this segment.
- Guess About Me – a segment where the guests have prepared several questions related to themselves. Some of the questions are vague or extremely private and concern something the guests have never revealed to the public. In another format, idol groups with more than 5 members that are visiting for the first time will have their names covered, and as Heechul reveals a fact about the member, the group members would try to confuse the cast.
The episodes may also feature any of the following segments, usually within, in between, or following the above permanent segments:
- Second Period – a segment that usually comes after the permanent segments and varies between guests. In most cases, the guests have made suggestions on the activities for this segment. Examples include counseling sessions, art class, and physical education class.
- Let's Play – a short segment where the guests challenge the cast members to a game which the former is confident in winning, usually by unorthodox means such as on-the-spot rules. The segment usually ends with a challenge where the guest needs to defeat every cast member consecutively.
- Three No's (No Concept, No Basis, No Script) – a segment that revolves around an ad-libbed skit where the cast members and guests are not given any dialogue or definite storyline. They can only rely on the overall theme of the particular week's skit and their own comedic timing.
- Music Class (Songstagram) – a segment where the guests have created a list of songs with a specific theme of their preference. The segment focuses on the cast members' effort in guessing all of them in the correct order. There are often hints such as release date, characteristics, or "Jonghyun's game" as it was introduced in ep. 29 by the late Jonghyun (Shinee), wherein the beginning syllable/note of a verse is given with its rhythm to help the members guess the song name.
- Lee Sang-min Time – formally introduced in ep. 56 and formerly called Choose Your Type, is a short segment wherein the guests (usually the females) are briefed by Lee Sang-min to choose any of the cast members (plus any accompanying male guest) as their ideal partner. The specifications are that all members are "equal" in terms of legal, socioeconomic, & civil statuses; and that the choice is based only on their physical appearances and personalities.
- Dancestagram – formally introduced in ep. 57 by Chanmi (AOA). In Psy's episode it became a segment where the PD plays the beginning syllable/note of a song and they have to guess the title, lyrics, and dance move.
- 99 Seconds Teamwork Competition – a segment that is often used when a large group of people are guests on the program, such as idol groups. The segment varies each episode in terms of missions, but the members and guests must complete them within 99 seconds. If a team manages to complete them in time, the other team is given a chance to produce a better time record.
- Classical Culture Class - a segment all about pop culture references to forgotten decades.
- Imagination Time - a segment which starts with a warm-up, like drawing something from shapes, and guessing lip-synced words. The highlight of "Imagination Time" (Hangul: 상상력 시간) is Guess the Drama Line. The members and guests have to guess what the next line of the scene from a drama shown to them is.
- Knowing Lunch - a segment that comes in between the Entrance Application segment and the Guess About Me segment. The members and guests answer questions (either in an individual battle or as a team) given by the production team and if they are guessed correctly they can eat one of the numerous side dishes selected, other than white rice and light soy sauce that was already provided beforehand.
- A variation of this is that each member must ask a question of their choice, but only the specified number of people can guess correctly.
- There is also one question where a specially requested item is covered under a cloche. The way to gain the food item varies in each episode.
- XXX Scholarship Quiz - a second half segment in Brother School, where Shindong (Super Junior) enters the classroom and hosts the quiz. The members and guests form pairs and play the games to enjoy the food. Typically this consists of two segments:
- Consonants Charades: When two consonants are given, whichever pair hits the buzzer first gets to answer. To answer, one of the pair has to express the word without saying what the word is, and the other has to guess the word.
- Mix Music Quiz: Shindong sings the lyrics to song "B" in the melody of song "A". One of the pair has to answer song "A" and its singer, and the other of the pair has to answer song "B" and its singer.
- Job Consultation Room - an official corner of the show after the Brother School segment for the episode has ended. Jang Sung-kyu, Shindong and Jeong Se-woon would let guests (different from in Brother School), as Variety Job Lookers, to prove their variety skills to the three.
- After School Activities - the cast members each learn something unique that is not done during the "lesson" in Brother School. This segment is shown on both TV and YouTube, after the end of a Knowing Bros episode.
- Dong Dong Shin Ki: Kang Ho-dong, together with Shindong (Super Junior), visits various idols and learn idol songs choreographs. Several other guests will then watch the final dancing videos and comment on them. This activity lasted from July 11 to October 24, 2020.
- Universe Hipsters: Universe Cowards (Kim Hee-chul, Min Kyung-hoon) visit rappers and learn hip hop and rapping from them. This activity began from October 31, 2020 to January 2, 2021.
- Lots of Advice: Seo Jang-hoon and Lee Soo-geun, a duo in Brother School that is well-known for their chemistry, get advices on various games, alongside Shindong (Super Junior). This activity began from January 16, 2021.
- Special segment: Knowing Bros Award, An annual year-closing episode, Knowing Bros Awards, started on December 29, 2018. In the episode, the hosts review the corners and the appearances from the guests that were featured in the latest year. The second Knowing Bros Awards were held in the episode aired on December 28, 2019.
- Special Episodes: These episodes do not follow the Brother School format.
The program's original cast consisted of Kang Ho-dong, Lee Soo-geun, Seo Jang-hoon, Kim Young-chul, Kim Hee-chul, Hwang Chi-yeul and Kim Se-hwang. Min Kyung-hoon was added to the cast formation on the second episode aired on December 12, 2015. Hwang Chi-yeul and Kim Se-hwang left the program after the seventh episode, which aired on January 16, 2016. Lee Sang-min joined the cast on March 5, 2016.
List of episodes
- Series overview
- Note that the show airs on a cable channel (pay TV), which plays part in its slower uptake and relatively small audience share when compared to programs broadcast (FTA) on public networks such as KBS, SBS, MBC or EBS.
- NR rating means "not reported". The rating is low.
- TNmS have stopped publishing their rating report from June 2018.
- In the ratings below, the highest rating for the show will be in red, and the lowest rating for the show will be in blue each year.
They started their YouTube channel called "아는형님 Knowingbros" on October 10, 2020.
In December 2016, the program received a disciplinary action from South Korea's Broadcast Censorship Committee for using improper remarks which include objectifying female guests in multiple occasions. The committee highlighted the use of improper language between cast members, the use of homophobic remarks and specifically Min Kyung-hoon's act of giving a handcrafted bra to a female guest (Jeon So-min) in one of the episodes. Besides a warning given by the committee, it is reported that the program has also received numerous complaints from viewers regarding the matter.