Events and Updates

April 2, 2013

2011 Asian Pacific American Media Coalition (APAMC) Report Card

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Written by: MANAA

The APAMC issues a challenge to the TV networks:  Within three years, launch a series where the main star is Asian American.  NBC once again comes out on top and is the only network to improve upon its overall grade.

The details:

December 8, 2011-The 10th annual Asian Pacific American Media Coalition (APAMC) report card–drafted by Jack Ong with edits from Guy Aoki, Marilyn Tokuda and Dan Mayeda and final edits from Aoki—is issued.  The grades and press release–“Asian Pacific American Media Coalition Challenges TV Networks to Create Asian American Stars in Next Three Years”–are disseminated by Asian America Justice Center’s Leonie Campbell, Guy Aoki, and Bill Imada.

To see full press release, click here: (not on website)

“Since APAMC began meeting with the networks in late 1999, only two new shows have starred Asian Pacific Americans (APAs),” said co-chairs Guy Aoki and Marilyn Tokuda in a Coalition statement, “‘Cashmere Mafia’ with Lucy Liu and ‘Dance War:  Bruno vs. Carrie Ann (Inaba),’ both on ABC. We believe that, without a timetable, the networks will never confront the perceived obstacles to using APAs as the faces of their series.  So we have issued a challenge that within three years–by the Fall of 2014–they air a series which stars at least one APA clearly cast as the central character (the star’s name usually appears first in the credits when they aren’t listed alphabetically).”

Last year, the total number of APA regulars amongst the top four networks jumped from 32 to 38–an all-time high.  This past season, that number dropped to 31.

Overall, NBC, with a B (up from a B-), ranked highest in this year’s APAMC report cards, which marks the 10th anniversary of judging the inclusion of APAs in eight categories:  actors, unscripted show participants, writers/producers, directors, development, procurement, executives, and network initiatives.

This past season, the peacock network also had the highest grade for actors, development deals, and writers/producers, and tied for top honors in procurement, executives, and diversity initiatives.

CBS maintained a B- for the third year, ABC slid from B- to C+.  Fox fell from C+ to C-, the worst network grade since CBS received the same rating in 2005.


“Last season, NBC had 13 regulars of Asian Pacific descent (boosted by five regulars on ‘Outsourced’,” Aoki stated. “This was the highest number any network has been able to achieve in the 11 years the Coalition has released report cards.  Accordingly, we have issued our highest grade in the actors category ever, a B+. NBC is the only network to receive this high a grade, which they also received in 2004.”

According to the APAMC report, between 2006 and 2008, ABC either had the highest number of APA regulars or tied for that distinction. But ABC’s record has declined noticeably since then. This past season, ABC could claim only 5 regulars and 4 recurring characters, their exact numbers in 2005.  Of all four networks, ABC received the lowest grade in the actors category, a D+.

The day after the new “Hawaii Five-0” debuted in September of 2010, the APAMC encouraged CBS to hire writers and actors from Hawaii in order to truly capture the essence of the people of that state.

HawaiiFive-O-new 4

“We have been disappointed that most of the APAs used are as suspects or villains and increasingly, most of the guest stars—who often get more screen time than regulars Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park and Masi Oka—are white and from the mainland,” Aoki said.  A meeting with CBS has been set for next week to address these concerns.

ABC scored best in the unscripted series category for the fourth consecutive year. Since 2008, the network has featured APAs in many of their unscripted series, including Carrie Ann Inaba as a judge on “Dancing With the Stars.”

CBS made the biggest improvement in reality shows, jumping from a C- to a B- for its profiles of two Asian American CEOs in “Undercover Boss” and many contestants on “The Amazing Race” and “Live to Dance.”

“The networks have always struggled with using APA directors on their shows,” said Coalition co-chair Tokuda, reporting that Fox had the highest number (11) of APAs directing a total of 28 episodes.  Except for one episode of “Traffic Light,” however, all of those shows were animated.  Still, Fox earned the biggest grade improvement in any category this past season, jumping from a D- to a B-.

However, Fox had no development deals with APAs, receiving an F in that category, as well as an F/Incomplete for its failure to report verified procurement data (they have promised to provide this in the near future). The network also received the lowest grade for diversity initiatives (C-), as the head of the Diversity department left in October of last year and the entire team was eventually dismantled. Fox is now taking a different approach with its “Audience Strategy” department, and we look forward to seeing whether its promising new diversity initiatives bear more fruit at the network than have past efforts.

The Coalition singled out CBS President Nina Tassler, praising her for convening a second meeting with her show runners and the APAMC to discuss ways to include more people of color (POC) in their series.  In the 2011-2012 season, CBS will have at least 10 APA regulars, the highest in its history. Unfortunately, this includes the heavy-accented restaurant owner played by Matthew Moy in “2 Broke Girls,” which many in the community feel sets back the cause.  Fox’s numbers also look better for this new season with the inclusion of three Asian Indian/half -Asian Indian regulars as part of the main family on “Terra Nova.” Also, the network once again includes an Asian American doctor–played by Charlene Yi–in “House.”

Despite losing five regulars on the now-cancelled “Outsourced,” NBC only slipped from 13 to 12 as it included 7 new API regulars on 7 new series.

APAMC members include such organizations as East-West Players, Japanese American Citizens League, Media Action Network for Asian Americans, the National Federation of Filipino American Associations, and Visual Communications.

Los Angeles Times ignores the Report Card

December 9, 2011-Aoki emails Richard Nordwind, Calendar section editor (and cc’s Arts and Entertainment Editor  Craig Turner and editor Russ Stanton):  “Predictably, the Times did not cover the Report Card [which he attaches] assessing how well the top 4 TV networks are doing regarding Asian Americans in their programming…  Since 1999, the APAMC has met (at least annually) with the Presidents and VPs of the networks challenging them to do a better job of including our community.

“It’s a shame that we have to do the same with the L.A. Times.

“Over the past 15 years or so, the Times has ignored many media issues concerning Asian Americans.  Despite the fact that we now make up 15% of the state and city–more than blacks and Jews combined–your paper seems only interested when those other groups have media concerns.  In fact, I think I had the record for writing the most number of ‘Counterpunch’ articles, all of which dealt with stories the paper should have covered but didn’t.

“I was waiting for the Times to settle its bankruptcy proceedings before convening a meeting to discuss our community being ignored by Calendar, but the process is taking too long to continue to let our important issues go unreported.  I look forward to your feedback.”

Turner asks to whom he sent the press release to at the paper.

Aoki gives him 10 names.  Turner says two of the writers no longer work there and another no longer writes for the entertainment department.  However, he says he’ll look into the matter and asks for more information about MANAA—“membership, how long it’s been around, activities.”

Aoki sends him information but never hears back from him.

December 10-At David Ono’s Christmas party, Aoki tells Henry Furhmann the Times didn’t cover the report card.

December 12-At Furhmann’s request, Aoki emails him the information.  Furhmann says he’ll follow up with the Calendar section and the TV editor, Martin Miller.  Aoki doesn’t hear back from him, and no story runs.





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