MANAA Urges ABC to Give “Fresh Off The Boat” Another Season

manaalogo

April 24, 2015

Mr. Paul Lee

President, ABC Entertainment Group

500 S. Buena Vista Street

Burbank, CA  91521

Dear Paul,

I hope this letter finds you well.  Congratulations on an historic year for ABC.

You should rightfully be proud of showing the industry that new series starring people of color–“How To Get Away With Murder,” “Black-ish,” and “Fresh Off The Boat”—can be successful and that this model needs to be emulated if networks are to appeal to the ever-changing racial and cultural demographics of this country.

As you probably know, there have been several community screenings of “FOTB” in New York and Los Angeles, with hundreds having to be turned away.  The night of its February 4 preview, #FreshOffTheBoat was the most popular twitter subject in the country even dethroning #BrianWilliamsMisremembers.

Obviously, Asian Americans have gravitated toward “FOTB,” the first Asian American sitcom in over 20 years.  Nielsen tells me that for its first 7 episodes, 19.4% of all Asian American households watched at least one episode within 7 days and for the first 8 episodes, they over-indexed at 227, meaning Asian Americans were 127% more likely to watch the series within 7 days.

During that time, white and black audiences were also watching the sitcom in greater proportion to their populations.

“FOTB” is a favorite of the critics, many of whom (e.g., Hollywood Reporter, Daily Variety, Huffington Post, Boston Herald) called it one of the best shows—if not the best show–of the season.  Time found it “damn funny… Three episodes in, it’s the best broadcast comedy of the new season… a show with more voice after three episodes than most sitcoms have after three years.”  Robert Lloyd of the Los Angeles Times wrote:  “’Fresh Off the Boat’ does what few television shows do now, which is to make race not beside the point.  It sits inside a minority culture and looks with bewilderment and bemusement at the dominant one… it’s a consistently funny and even important one, with some lovely, nuanced performances.”

It’s a prestigious show that you cannot afford to lose.

Despite being put in the tough Tuesday night 8 p.m. hour with no lead-in, new episodes of “FOTB” average a 1.73 Live+same day rating in the 18-49 age group, but jump to a 2.2 with Live+7 numbers, which consistently increased each of the past six weeks.  Its 18-49 Live+SameDay and total viewership numbers always beat competitors “MasterChef Junior,” “Hell’s Kitchen,” “The Flash,” and “Parks and Recreation.”  “FOTB” is ABC’s top Tuesday night show, as well as the most popular comedy of the night outperforming “New Girl,” “The Mindy Project,” “Undateable,” “One Big Happy,” “Repeat After Me,” “Weird Loners” and (in the 18-49) even re-runs of “NCIS.”

Impressively, “FOTB” held its 1.8 rating on February 24 even with the return of NBC’s “The Voice.”  “FOTB’s” last three episodes have increased its 18-49 numbers.  Also, its 18-49 and total viewership numbers are better than last season’s “The Goldbergs” (1.73, 5.75 million total vs. 1.68, 5 million total), which you renewed.

Last season, “The Goldbergs” held the Tuesday 9 p.m. slot but improved impressively when moved this season to Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. (up 30.87% to a 2.2 and up 39.94% in total viewers to 7.08 million) with “The Middle” as its lead-in vs. the less compatible “S.H.I.E.L.D.”  Perhaps next season “FOTB” would also benefit from having a strong, compatible lead-in?

Given all of these considerations, we hope you will renew “Fresh Off The Boat” and give it sufficient promotion to ensure its long-term success. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Guy Aoki

Founding President, MANAA

cc:  Samie Falvey

Vicki Dummer

Keli Lee

Andy Kubitz

Marla Provencio

Tim McNeal

MANAA Asks CBS to Renew “Stalker” Co-starring Maggie Q and “Elementary” Co-starring Lucy Liu

manaalogo

 April 17, 2015

Ms. Nina Tassler
Chairman, CBS Entertainment
4024 Radford Avenue
Studio City, CA 91604

Dear Nina,

I hope this letter finds you well. Over the years, under your leadership, CBS has made great strides in including Asian Americans as regulars of its drama, comedy, and reality series. The two CBS shows which feature Asian Americans in the most significant roles are “Stalker” with Maggie Q and “Elementary” co-starring Lucy Liu. As Lt. Beth Davis and Joan Watson, respectively, their stories very often drive the narrative of the main plot of the week and both defy the traditional way Asian American women have been portrayed in the media. Davis is no shrinking violet and commands the anti-stalking unit of the Los Angeles police force, and Watson displays her own talent at solving crimes even under the formidable shadow of the legendary Sherlock Holmes and is not cast primarily as the love interest of anyone.

However, both series have not had strong 18-49 ratings, and we are concerned about their chances for renewal for the 2015-2016 season.

New episodes of “Stalker” average a 1.53 Live+same day rating in the 18-49 age group, but jump 62% to a 2.48 with Live+7 numbers. It usually beats NBC’s “Chicago P.D.” (which has already been renewed for the Fall) and ABC’s “Nashville.” “Stalker’s” last new episode (which aired February 18) fell to an all-time low of 1.15, but that was due to the weak lead-in of the two hour finale of “The Mentalist,” which averaged a 1.28, the lowest 9 p.m. rating for any CBS first-run episode all season.

Though new episodes of “Elementary” average a 1.3 Live+same day rating in the 18-49 demo, the Live+7 audience jumps 85% to a 2.42. The show was probably hurt by beginning Season 3 a month later than usual (October 30) and a weak lead-in from “The McCarthys,” which was pulled from the schedule in February (perhaps a drama lead-in would be more helpful next season?). “Elementary” has done considerably better in the 2015 calendar year than the Fall of 2014, perhaps due to viewer unhappiness with the dominance of the Kitty character (Opehlia Lovibond), whose storyline ended in January. “Elementary” is currently beating its competition on ABC (“American Crime”) and NBC (“The Slap,” “Dateline”) and is getting closer to producing enough episodes so it can be sold into syndication. In addition, we are happy that co-star Lucy Liu has been able to demonstrate her impressive talents as a director on the show.
Given these considerations, we hope you will renew both “Stalker” and “Elementary” and give them sufficient promotion to ensure their long-term success. We would also like to see more Asian American guest stars as, for some reason, they have been sparse on those shows. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Guy Aoki
Founding President, MANAA

Cc: Christina Davis
Glenn Geller
Kelly Kahl
Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i

All the Great APAs on Lost

lost

Two articles about Lost and all of our favorite Asian American actors on the show:

Melinda Hsu Taylor

In Part 1 of our Lost interviews, writer/producer Melinda Hsu Taylor talks about her favorite characters to write for and her affinity for the sci-fi genre.

Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse

Executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse talk about how Lost came to feature so many diverse Asian and Asian American actors.

Asian Americans on “The L Word”

As a huge fan of the lesbian melodrama “The L Word,” I’ve been keeping my eye out for Asian Americans since the show began. Despite a petition last fall to see more LGBT Asian Americans on the show, it seems that the best we can hope for are mixed race Asians, or Asians playing other races. In looking back at past seasons, there are actually quite a few instances of this. Unfortunately, in the case of mixed race characters, their Asian American identity is never mentioned. This is particularly disappointing given the sensitivity that the show has given to the issue of Bette’s biraciality, which has resulted in one of the best portrayals of mixed race identity we’ve seen. It’s also clear that Asian American women can only stand in as brief love interests, and then they disappear forever.

l word - catherine

Sandrine Holt as Helena’s love interest in season four. They have a weird relationship where Catherine seduces Helena into her high-stakes gambling career. Holt is half-Chinese, half-French.

l word - jamie

This season’s hapa star—Mei Melancon as Jamie Chen, Alice and Tasha’s third wheel crush. Jamie is Chinese, Japanese and French. With the character’s last name “Chen,” Melancon is officially the first character to be actually noted as being of Asian heritage. We’ll see if this ever comes up in the plot.

l word - carmen

l word - papi

Last but not least, it must be mentioned that Shane’s beautiful ex-fiancee Carmen was played by Sarah Shahi, who is Persian, and Janina Gavankar as the notorious Papi is Indian and Dutch. However, both roles are decidedly Latina.