Coalition praises ABC for ‘historic high’ number of Asians

Constance Wu, Forrest Wheeler, Hudson Yang and Ian Chen photo by Jordin Althaus-ABC - © 2015 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved

Constance Wu, Forrest Wheeler, Hudson Yang and Ian Chen
photo by Jordin Althaus-ABC – © 2015 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved

LOS ANGELES — “ABC will reach a historic high of 18 Asian regulars on their primetime television series” for the upcoming 2015-2016 season, the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition said in a statement.

The previous record was 16 by NBC in the 2007-08 season, the coalition said.

In addition to the return of “Fresh Off The Boat,” a sitcom featuring an Asian American family that stars Randall Park, Constance Wu, Hudson Yang, Forrest Wheeler and Ian Chen, the network will debut “Dr. Ken,” a second Asian American family show starring Ken Jeong.

Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra will headline the drama “Quantico.”

“Critics have called ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ one of the best comedies of the year, with many endorsing Emmy nominations for both the show and breakout star Constance Wu,” APAMC member Miriam Nakamura-Quan said in the statement.

“What’s more, the press has cited ABC’s ‘Fresh Off the Boat,’ ‘Black-ish,’ and ‘How To Get Away With Murder,’ along with Fox’s ‘Empire,’ as the successful series that have led the way in reflecting the changing face of America — a reality finally seen from the viewpoint of people of color.”

Citing Nielsen data from the 2014-15 season, coalition co-chair Daniel M. Mayeda said that Asian Pacific Islanders “in the coveted 18-49 demographic watched programs that featured Asian Americans prominently — like ‘Selfie’ and ‘The Mindy Project’ — at a disproportionally high percentage of their population.” Actor John Cho starred in the since-canceled show, and Mindy Kaling created and started in the latter program.

Mayeda said the “The first several episodes of ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ ‘over-indexed’ among API viewers by 168 percent to 218 percent, making them a destination for advertisers seeking to target the upscale Asian American consumers.”

Among other programs, the “new AMC series ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ stars Maori actor Cliff Curtis. In November, the cable channel will debut ‘Into the Badlands,’ a fantasy/martial arts series starring Daniel Wu as the tough/mysterious hero, and Aziz Ansari’s new sitcom ‘Master Of None’ will premiere on Netflix,” the statement said.

“The Mindy Project” will move to hulu.com.

“In addition to the aforementioned ABC series and ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ (Ming-Na Wen), three out of the four major networks will broadcast series that feature APIs who are listed second in the credits. CBS has ‘Elementary’ (Lucy Liu), ‘Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders’ (Daniel Henney), and ‘Rush Hour’ (John Foo); and Fox offers ‘Lookinglass’ [formerly called ‘The Frankenstein Code’] (Dilshad Vadsaria) and ‘The Guide to Surviving Life’ (Meaghan Rath).

The CW’s upcoming ‘My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ and Netflix’s second season of ‘The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ will both feature Asian men in (previously rare) romantic roles. Steven Yuen continues to play the heroic/romantic Glenn Rhee character on AMC’s ‘Walking Dead,’ which has the highest number of viewers in the coveted 18-49 demographic of any TV show, cable or broadcast,” the statement said.

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