Saturday, October 09, 2010

The Korean is two episodes into the new Hawaii Five-O. Has there ever been another American TV show that featured two Koreans in the top-4 of their casting? It has to be a milestone of some sort.

For the record, the Korean thinks the show is stupid. But the Korean Wife likes it, so we continue to watch.


  1. I don't think it's that stupid, but from the perspective of someone who has been living in Hawaii for four years, it's fun to recognize all the places they're filming. That was something I'd enjoyed also with Lost.

    And although I do think their mixing of ethnicities is a bit overboard (Chinho is not Korean and his last name is Kelly and he's related to a Samoan), they do seem to have some of the ethnic vibe down okay. So far.

  2. That makes me wonder, are there any significant number of hollywood movies which actually play in Korea and that have been shot there? Because what comes to my mind is currently...nothing.

  3. How about Gilmore Girls' two Korean characters (played by Japanese-Americans)? Not two main characters, but that show started in 2000 so it beats HFO by ten years for the milestone status.

  4. "For the record, the Korean thinks the show is stupid. But the Korean Wife likes it, so we continue to watch."

    Looks like you will eventually win this battle. The show is in free-fall in the ratings compared to last year's time slot occupant, "CSI: Miami," which was a show long in the tooth which is why CBS moved it to Sunday and gave "Five-O" this great time period on one of the most heavily watched nights of the week. Hell, it looks like it won't even be the season's top rated new drama past this week as Tom Selleck's "Blue Bloods" (in the Bermuda Triangle of ratings on Friday nights) is about to surpass it.

    If "Five-O" doesn't stop the bleeding soon, this costly series won't see a season two. I don't see CBS pulling the plug before May because they put all their eggs in this basket behind a lead actor who has yet to prove that he deserves all the chances he has been given, and it would be a huge loss of face for them after giving the go-ahead for this third take on the series.

  5. The lead actor seems to combine the worst aspects of Keanu Reeves and Nic Cage.

  6. Dear Korean,

    Speaking of Daniel Dae Kim, did his korean bother you in the first couple of seasons? I couldn't understand any of it. I thought the white guys speaking korean did a better job.....Other horrible incidents of spoken korean.

    1. Die Another Day (James Bond movie with Rick Yune)
    2. Team America: World Police! Eric Cartman as Kim Jong il

  7. John from

    I haven't been watching the ratings from week to week, but from what I read, NFL football and postseason baseball caused them to "take a hit."

    If ratings remain low but not in the toilet, I could see the Hawaii government working out a sweet deal to get Hawaii Five-0 to continue production. At the Waikiki "premiere" of Hawaii Five-0, they had the former mayor then running for governor, the acting mayor, the governor, the presumptive next governor, etc., all there making speeches and schmoozing with the CBS execs who came.

    Hawaii has been hit hard by the recession and the loss of "Lost" and the local papers are making a big deal about the money this CBS show is supposed to bring to the local economy. I'd be surprised in Governor Linda Lingle or presumptive future Governor Neil Abercrombie or the new mayor don't do something big to keep it on the air.

  8. kushibo,

    The show is definitely trending downward, and unless Hawaii can pay CBS all the advertising money that they are losing in all fifty states because of its less-than-stellar ratings, I doubt that CBS will stick with it past this year, especially if “Castle” on ABC starts beating it regularly. They could try and pair it with Tuesday’s macho winning “NCIS” combo as “The Good Wife” isn’t looking all that good this year. CBS also has a couple of options standing by. They have “Criminal Minds 2” and “Chaos” waiting in the wings and not too many places to try them out. However, CBS is definitely running scared as the ratings guru there is touting DVR playback numbers (from week 1 though when it was thoroughly sampled) and even your local paper is talking about the show dodging a bullet on Monday barely squeaking by “Castle.”

    Personally, I gave it a couple of episodes before bailing, but the lead is no Jack Lord, Tom Selleck, or Terry O’Quinn/Josh Holloway/Matthew Fox. And when my barometer, who watches everything in the biz, gives up on the show; you know that there are some major problems coming. I’m now very worried about “Chuck” as he gave up on it after Monday’s very weak episode. So, it’s kind of a toss-up as to whether NBC cancels it or “The Chase” next now that they just jettisoned “Outlaw.”

  9. Well, the networks seemed to like reality shows even if they didn't always have great ratings because they were cheaper to produce. The way things apparently go here in Hawaii, I could see them trying to work out something with production costs if they thought the show was going to be canceled.

    John wrote:
    However, CBS is definitely running scared as the ratings guru there is touting DVR playback numbers (from week 1 though when it was thoroughly sampled) and even your local paper is talking about the show dodging a bullet on Monday barely squeaking by “Castle.”

    I was going to write a post on this and talk about (with a screen capture) how Hawaii Five-0 news is a front-page story here, much as it was with "Lost."

    Anyway, while I can easily see why touting DVR playback numbers might seem desperate, since I've read about the growing importance of within-the-week DVR and online numbers quite a lot even before they had anything to do with Hawaii Five-0, I don't know if I would call that "scared."

    Hawaii Five-0's debut was the most DVR'd show ever, so maybe it does mean something. And I, in that coveted demographic category, have watched over 99% of my favorite programming on DVR, on, or on network sites for the past four years that I've lived in the US. I think there is some there there.

    In this tightly competitive new media, a show can be a hit even with smaller and smaller ratings than before. I hope CBS remembers that; it's annoying when good or decent shows are not given a chance (I'm still bitter about The Black Donnellys being canceled), and I like Hawaii Five-0 way better than CSI: Miami (in part because I don't like the way Long Beach and L.A. County become stand-ins for Vegas and Miami, but mostly because of lame story lines and acting... my favorite David Caruso role was in Hudson Hawk and didn't speak).

  10. I’ve loved living commercial-free for the past 12 years thanks to Dish Network and never plan on watching another advertisement again thanks to the wonderful invention, the DVR. However, how long can “commercial” television survive as more and more people are bypassing the main means of television programming support, the 30-second commercial? As people rapidly discover the ease of DVR time shifting, they are waiting 15-20 minutes after a program begins to bypass these annoyances before watching, and this is has even hit the most hallowed of hallowed advertising dollars, NFL football.

    Right now, cable network channels are thriving (AMC, HBO, SyFy, USA, etc.) with their limited reliance on a few new programs aired in mainly off-peak months, but they receive the majority of their money from a paying subscriber base. How long will it be before the big 4 networks (and the CW) are forced off the free airways and need to charge to provide their programs to the masses? Will Americans stand for a monthly TV taxation like the public does in South Korea (I really hate paying the tax here, especially as I don’t have a TV or even watch South Korean programming), or will the main free over-the-air U.S. networks be forced to reduce the amount of new programming on their current schedules and then champion only a limited schedule like the networks on cable TV do?

    That “most DVR’d program” statement could be the final nail that advertisers need to close on the free TV coffin, especially as those ratings get smaller and smaller on “hit” shows which, in actuality, means that even fewer people than ever before are watching those commercials .

  11. John, I always appreciate your insight into TV-related matters. Though I don't share your knee-jerk negativity, I do see the gloom and doom scenarios you describe as exciting challenges.

    That said, I think we are coming at TV from different circumstances and I think there are enough people with me that, with a few innovations, "commercial" TV can survive.

    Can I ask, though, do you pay for the Dish Network, and if so, do they pay anything to the networks? Just curious if they enjoy any revenue stream from that regardless of whether you watch their commercials.

    Anyway, right now, largely because my digital-to-analog converter blew out and I have problems picking up NBC, I've been watching almost all of my shows on or their network sites (e.g., Survivor). And when I do that, I am "forced" to watch their commercials. In fact, I get commercials that are actually relevant to me ("M," with whom I watched the last few seasons of "Lost," will likely buy a Kia Sorento if she ever buys a car), a fact I would hope the networks would capitalize on when they sell ads.

    Before converter blew out (my Panasonic DVR is analog, purchased in 2006), I watched about half to 2/3 of my programs on the DVR. And you know what? I did watch commercials. Not all of them (I could easily jump ahead in 30-second or one-minute intervals), and not the same ones over and over again, but I did watch the ones that were relevant to me and/or caught my eye or were new, and I doubt I'm alone in that regard, something the networks and/or advertisers can and should take heed of.

    Then again, if the young people all become online viewers or DVR watchers who never see a commercial again, maybe that will force the networks to stop "ignoring" older viewers who may not fall into the "coveted" age group targeted by advertisers. We're already seeing that, I guess, since pharmaceutical ads became allowable.

    And then there is product placement, which is sorta old school, which, with some innovations, could be a moneymaker that viewers may not mind. I certainly don't object to seeing Apple products or Android phones or Carnation evaporated milk in a storyline.

    For decades, Korean television had commercials at the beginning or end of the shows, not during. Yet they made money. Sure, they didn't pay their actors Friends-esque salaries, so a Matt LeBlanc would be forced to do commercials where the real money was, and KoKos love those commercials.

    I'm not saying the Korean way is the way CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, and the WB will go, but there are other models out there. The only person really in danger, as I see it, is a network exec who sits on his arse and whines about how things are different from before.

    Back to you, John. :)

  12. Yes, I come from both the fan side and the business/network side, but for the last several years a second job of mine has been in the focus group analysis side (for a couple of networks and numerous advertisers), and that knee-jerk negativity is actual analysis based on thousands of surveys (and discussions) with the viewing public. The consensus would be that you are an oddity in that you actually watch “the occasional commercial” as you are now being “forced to,” while the vast majority of viewers are actually multitasking (usually on the computer) while they watch the tube and aren’t paying attention to even much of the actual show being watched and even less to a commercial that they inadvertently happen to sit through. What’s really scaring the advertisers right now, is how to reach the 80 million strong “Generation Y” in a recession when they are, “so far,” un-pegable and more prone to do extensive Internet research before making any major purchases than previous generations.

    So when the advertisers bring up lackluster ratings (“Hawaii Five-O’s” 11 million viewers this past Monday out of a nation of well over 300 million), it gets everyone in commercial television extremely nervous as they worry about this house of cards crumbling further. Right now, the advertisers are running scared, but there isn’t really anything else for them to use to try and get their products before a substantial amount of prospective buyers. However, they have noticed the lack of ratings and are no longer paying the large amounts of money for commercial ad space that networks once demanded. This declining revenue is forcing networks to shelve the once hallowed 22 week season (39 episodes back in the early days of television) and pare it down to mini-runs of 10 episodes or so per year to gauge audience interest (remember “V?” from last year) or running all the episodes in a row with no breaks to try and keep viewers watching (“24” and “Lost”). Also, one really disturbing thing about both Generation Y and Generation X (well, for advertisers and the networks anyway) is just how many of them have no problem just downloading shows off the Internet via torrents and by-passing commercials in this manner.

    Old school has come and gone with the audience not caring much if the survivors on “Survivor” crudely built their shacks with Home Depot tools or furnished it with Target bedding while downing Mountain Dew and Pringles as a reward. And, while Subway did help keep “Chuck” around a little longer, the addition of the advertising within the program didn’t add any new viewers to it and actually upset some who hated this type of "pandering" lessening the integrity of the show.

  13. Had the likes of the recent re-incarnations of “Knight Rider,” “The Bionic Woman,” “V,” and, probably, “Hawaii Five-O,” all started out directly on cable networks, like USA and SyFy, they would have enjoyed numerous seasons without having to worry about not getting only the highest of ratings from the get go as the re-incarnation of “Battlestar Galactica” was able to do and current cable network hits like “Burn Notice,” “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” “Psych,” “Warehouse 13,” “Eureka,” and “Greek” are doing. So, it presents a big choice to aspiring producers of television programming today, do they try and go the commercial network route and hope that they strike gold (while the majority of new programs won’t last one season) or do they go the cable network route thinking that several seasons of bronze is good enough like “Monk” was able to do?

    And, since you asked, I used to pay for Dish Network (I believe they do pay the commercial networks for including them in local packages), but thanks to the inventions of the Slingbox and the Havabox, I’ve been able to piggyback off my brother’s account (and a couple of other friends' accounts around the world) for about five years or so now. It’s very easy as he has a dedicated DVR set up for me. Also, I watch a lot of pre-first-run programming as it is being tested, and then the following focus groups, as I access the feeds directly over the Internet in order to write the reports.

  14. As usual, thanks for the insight, John.

  15. Here's one last piece of interesting information combed from all the mind-numbing surveys I've seen over the last couple of years. It seems that in today's new technological world order, instead of even looking at commercials, a lot of computer savvy people are relying on the likes of craigslist, DealNews, Overstock, and various coupon issuing websites in making their money stretch farther. As "Black Friday" approaches, you can't find better deals any better than what you can find on DealNews.

    By the way, a good way for the layman (and industry professionals) to keep on top of the latest developments in television is to frequent websites such as tvbythenumbers and Cynopsis.


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