Asian actors are starring on 8 new shows on the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, and NBC) for this coming Fall season 2012-2013! Of the 8 shows, Asian actors are featured in three lead roles while the rest have major roles in the supporting cast.
Asian Actors in Lead Roles
“The Mindy Project” on FOX — Former “Office” star Mindy Kaling is an OB/GYN who balances her professional and personal life in a small office filled with a cast of characters. Kaling is not only the star of the show but she is the creator, the lead writer, and the executive producer!
So, she is the “head everything” and calling “all the shots” for a sitcom that FOX has high hopes!
“Mindy Project” debuts September 25.
“Beauty and the Beast” on CW — Former Smallville star Kristin Kreuk stars as a homicide detective who years earlier witnessed the murder of her mother. Kreuk was going to be killed by a gunman if it wasn’t for a “mysterious beast” who saved her. In the present day, she runs into a man named Vincent and finds out his terrible secret as the “beast.”
The drama is a welcome return for gorgeous the Dutch-Chinese-Canadian actress.
The show is loosely based on the original show of the same name that starred Linda Hamilton (Terminator) in the 80s.
“Beauty and the Beast” debuts October 11 Thursday.
“Elementary” on CBS — Veteran actress Lucy Liu (Charlie’s Angels, TV’s Southland) plays the sidekick Joan Watson to former Scotland Yard consultant Sherlock Holmes (played by Jonny Lee Miller). Both meet up at a rehab center in New York City and become partners solving crimes.
The show updates some of Sherlock Holmes stories in a modern day-setting.
“Elementary” debuts September 27, Thursday.
Asian Actors in Supporting Roles
“Animal Practice” on NBC — Mad TV’s Bobby Lee (photo below) is part of a zany staff at a Veterinarian Clinic that does a lot of “horsing and monkeying around.” The show stars Justin Kirk, Tyler Labine, and Joanna Garcia.
“Animal Practice” debuts September 26.
“Go On” on NBC – Suzy Nakamura is part of an ensemble cast that features Friendsalum Matthew Perry in the title role of a sportscaster dealing with his “issues.” John Cho(Harold and Kumar, Star Trek, Total Recall) plays Perry’s boss, who refers him to a support group.
“Go On” debuted on September 11. Now showing on Tuesdays.
“The Neighbors” on ABC – Tim Jo is part of a group of Aliens who are masquerading as suburbanites living next to the Weavers (played by Lenny Venito and Jamie Gertz as the parents and Clara Mamet, Isabel Cramp, and Max Charles as the children).
“The Neighbors” will debut September 26 Wednesday.
“The Mistresses” on ABC — Lost star Yun Jin Kim is part of an ensemble cast in a show about the scandalous and complex lives of 4 women. The show also stars Alyssa Millano (TV’s Charmed), Rochelle Aytes, and Jes Macallan.
“The Mistresses” will debut May 2013.
“Next Caller” on NBC – Joy Osmanski is in a supporting role in a show that stars comedian Dane Cook (Employee of the Month, Dan in Real Life) as a New York DJ who is forced to share the microphone on a relationship show with an opinionated feminist (Collette Wolfe), who just moved from NPR.
“Next Caller” will debut as a mid-season replacement.
The Goodwin Games on FOX – Melissa Tang plays an executor of an estate where 3 siblings return after their father dies. In order to inherit the $23M he left behind, the 3 siblings have to follow some special instructions from their father’s will and competition from another person and the executor herself.
FOX announced that “Goodwin Games” will be a mid-season replacement.
“Friend Me” on CBS – Indian-American actor Parvesh Cheena will be featured in the comedy sitcom about two brother who move from Indiana to Los Angeles to work for an online consumer business.
Possible mid-season replacement show.
“The Job” on CBS – A reality show hosted by Lisa Ling in which contestants compete for a “dream job.” Created by “Survivor” producer Mark Burnett.
Candidate for mid-season replacement.
A Summary of Network Shows Featuring Asian Actors
CBS leads the networks with 9 shows featuring asian actors: “Hawaii 5-0″ (Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park, and a host of Asian actors), “Unforgettable” (Daiya Vaidya), “2 Broke Girls” (Matthew Moy), “Big Bang Theory” (Kunal Nayyar), “Big Brother” (host Julie Chen), and “The Mentalist” (Tim Kang). In addition to Elementary, The Job, and Friend Me.
NBC is second with 8 shows: “Community” (Danny Pudi and Ken Jeong), “Parks and Recreation” ( (Aziz Ansari)“Grimm” (Reggie Lee), “Whitney” (Maulik Pancholy), and “Saving Hope” (Huse Madjavi). In addition to Go On, Animal Practice, and Next Caller.
ABC has 6 series: “Dancing with the Stars” (judge Carrie Anne Inaba), “Wipeout” (hostess Vanessa Lachey), “Body of Proof” (Sonja Sohn), and “Red Window” (Suleka Mathew and Mido Hamada). In addition fall entries The Neighbors andMistresses.
CW has two with “Nikita” (Maggie Q) and the addition of Beauty and the Beast.
FOX has 3 series with “Glee” (Darren Criss, Harry Shum Jr. and Jenna Ushkowitz) and new fall shows The Mindy Project and the Goodwin Games.
The broadcast networks are making a concerted effort to diversify their shows with faces from different cultures, most notably employing more Asian actors! It is a great step in the right direction but there is always more room for improvement. Sadly, we can’t say the same thing about the film industry.
Baby steps. at least the television industry is going forward and not backwards.