This should be another banner year for Asian Americans on television.
ABC will have a record number of Asian regulars on their prime time schedule this season. The Asian Pacific American Media Coalition counts 18 Asian Americans, beating by two the old record of 16 set by NBC in the 2007-2008 season.
New series on ABC include Dr. Ken starring Ken Jeong, the second Asian American family show after Fresh Off The Boat. There’s also lots of excitement building around Quantico starring Priyanka Chopra. The Coalition believes no single network has ever had three prime time series with Asian actors getting top billing. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns with Ming Na Wen and Chloe Bennett.
“A few years ago, ABC had the lowest number of Asian/Pacific Islander (API) regulars amongst the top four networks,” said Daniel M Mayeda of APAMC. “Now, they’re the acknowledged leader in diversity and APIs are a significant part of that success story. This proves that with determined leadership, any network can turn its fortunes around. Congratulations to ABC President Paul Lee and his development and casting executives on this achievement.”
APAMC has met annually with the top four networks since 1999 advocating for more diversity and inclusion. Mayeda says Asian Americans in the highly desired 18-49 age group for advertisers watch at a disproportionately high percentage of their population shows which feature Asian Americans. African Americans and Whites watched Fresh Off The Boat in proportion to their population. In fact Whites make up 60 percent of the show’s audience.
Other shows featuring Asian Americans in prominent roles includes Fear the Walking Dead with Maori actor Cliff Curtis and Into the Badlands starring Daniel Wu, both on AMC. Masters of None starring Aziz Ansari will premiere on Netflix and The Mindy Project gets a second life with new episodes on hulu.com.
Three out of the four major networks will broadcast series with Asian and Pacific Islander actors listed second in the credits. There’s Elementary with Lucy Liu, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders with Daniel Henney, and Rush Hour with John Foo.
On Fox you can see Dilshad Vadsaria on Lookingglass and Meaghan Rath on The Guide to Surviving Life.
The CW’s upcoming My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Netflix’s second season of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will both feature Asian men in 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 APAMC encourages everyone to support these shows and to watch the second season of Fresh Off the Boat, which debuts Tuesday, September 22 at 8:30 p.m./7:30 Central; Quantico, which premieres Sunday, September 27 at 10 p.m/9 Central; and Dr. Ken, which starts on Friday, October 2 at 8:30 p.m./7:30 Central.