INTO THE NEXT STAGE: Is ‘Hawaii Five-O’ in Trouble?

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By GUY AOKI

During its first two seasons, the rebooted “Hawaii Five-O” competed against ABC’s “Castle” in the 10 p.m. Monday night slot. While “Castle” usually beat it in overall viewers, “Five-O” usually won with people in the 18-49 age range, the demographic advertisers prefer. Now, with the introduction of NBC’s “Revolution,” the show about the 50th state is in a struggle for second place.

Last week’s Season 3 premiere brought in only 8 million viewers to “Castle’s” 10.45 million and “Revolution’s” 9.45 million. “Revolution” ruled with a 3.4 rating in the 18-49 demo followed by “Castle” with a 2.1 rating and “Five-O” with a measly 1.8. This past week, preliminary figures showed that “Castle” still had the most viewers (10.3 million) followed by “Revolution” (8.4 million) and “Five-O” (7.7 million). In the 18-49, “Revolution” was king with a 3.2 rating, followed by the other two shows tied for a 1.9.

Last week, even though the Live +3 ratings — those who tape a show and watch it within three days — boosted “Five-O’s” 18-49 rating by 44% (to about 2.6), “Castle’s” improved by 38% (to 2.9) and “Revolution” jumped 53% (to a 5.2 rating). Meaning even with the 18-49 demo, “Five-O” is in third place.

In May’s season finale, a vengeful cop (Billy Baldwin) targeted two women close to Chin Ho (Daniel Dae Kim): his cousin Kono (Grace Park) and his wife Malia (Reiko Aylesworth). He only had time to save one of them, so he rushed home to help his wife. He found her bloodied on the floor, unconscious. In the meantime, Kono, who was tied up and gagged, was pushed into the ocean.

New “Five-O” regular Michelle Borth, left, with star Alex O’Loughlin.

In the frenetic first few minutes of the season opener, we see Kono’s boyfriend Adam (the excellent Ian Anthony Dale) diving into save her. While paramedics work on Malia, she’s already lost too much blood (apparently she was shot in the stomach). She dies. Chin Ho angrily punches the wall. Cut to the familiar rolling drums and the theme song.

With an added surprise. Michelle Borth (who played Steve MacGarrett’s on again/off again girlfriend mostly in the first season and who then starred in ABC’s summer drama “Combat Hospital”) is added to the credits after Masi Oka. Gee, that’s great.  The show’s producers, apparently never content or confident about the original four main characters, kept adding white recurring/regular characters: a brunette CIA agent, then a blonde officer (Lauren German) sent by the black (blacks make up 3% of the state’s population!) governor to watch over the team.

They often had more screen time than Kim, Park, and Oka. They just weren’t added to the official opening credits. Now the producers finally did it. Just what we need: another regular white presence on the show.

At least the second episode, which ran this Monday, was well done. The episode opened with a “surfer’s tribute” with people paddling out on surfboards to form a circle in the ocean as Chin Ho released the ashes of his wife. Throughout the hour, we returned to Chin, who, quite understandably, was still grieving over his loss. It led to two nice, emotional scenes with Kono and Danno (Scott Caan).

Kono (Grace Park) and Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) are reunited in the Season 3 opener.

Even coroner Max Bergman (Oka) got a couple of long scenes and the main white guest star, Edward Asner, didn’t dominate. However, most of the locals were heavies (and one must have been 300 pounds). And the poor kidnapped victim was white as was her family. In other words, as far as the crime of the week goes, audiences are continually made to care about white people and not the Asian Pacific Islander locals.

By the way, at the end of the first episode last week, Chin caught up to the Billy Baldwin character, Delano, following him to a parking structure and walking confidently as if he were bulletproof (Delano kept shooting at him and missing). Finally, when Delano ran out of bullets, he told Chin, “You’re not going to kill me. You said it yourself, you’re not a dirty cop, Chin. Only a dirty cop would shoot an unarmed man.” Chin shot him dead. Pretty dark. And the beginning of another internal investigation that may bring him down?

More Ratings Department:  NBC’s “Go On,” starring Matthew Perry and featuring John Cho and Suzy Nakamura, has been doing well enough to get renewed for a second season. The peacock’s “Animal Practice” with Bobby Lee, on the other hand, is already in danger of being cancelled. Only 5.19 million people tuned in to its first regularly scheduled episode, and it got a 1.4 rating in the 18-49 demo for fourth place in its timeslot.

“The Mindy Project,” starring (hey, it’s great to be able to say that!) Mindy Kaling, is doing all right. Its lead-in, “New Girl,” had a 2.7 18-49 rating and Kaling’s show dipped only slightly down to a 2.4.

The alien family on “The Neighbors.” From left: Ian Patrick, Tim Jo, Simon Templeman, Toks Olagundoye.

ABC’s new Wednesday night comedy “The Neighbors,” about a family moving into a neighborhood inhabited solely by green-skinned aliens, has received some of the worst reviews of the season. It features Korean American Tim Jo as the son of the main alien couple. They’re all named after professional athletes, so the white dad is Larry Bird, black mom is Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Jo is Reggie Jackson. I enjoyed it, and its first episode did relatively well with 9.2 million viewers and a 3.2 18-49 rating.

Some 13.4 million people tuned in to watch CBS’s “Elementary,” starring Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Watson. It got an OK 3.1 rating in the 18-49 demo.

You Gotta Be Kidding! Department: Last time, I mentioned that the ubiquitous video of “Gangnam Style” helped push South Korean rapper Psy onto the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart at #64. The following week, it made a gigantic leap to #11, then plowed ahead to #2! OK, so it’s officially a hit and not just a YouTube phenomenon (unlike Rebecca Black’s “Friday”). By the time this column is printed, we’ll know if it made it to the top or if it was held off by Maroon 5’s “One More Night” (the betting was that Psy would have to wait at least another week since the group was way ahead in airplay points, enough to make up for Psy’s lead in sales).

In the meantime, the video, which has now been viewed more than 352 million times on YouTube (up from 216 two weeks ago), went into the Guinness Book of World Records for “most liked” video there (over 3,354,000; didn’t know they had a category for that, but I guess they keep up with the times). If “Style” makes it to #1, it’ll become one of the rare foreign-language songs to make it to the top in the States.

The others:  “Volare” by Domenico Modugno (1958; Italian), “Sukiyaki” by Kyu Sakamoto (1963; Japanese), “Dominique” by the Singing Nun (1963; French), “La Bamba” by Los Lobos (1987; Spanish), and “Macarena” by Los Del Rio (1996; Spanish). A word of warning: Except for Los Lobos, who reached #21 with another Richie Valens song, “Come On, Let’s Go,” none of those artists were able to reach even the Top 40 again with a different song.

“Gangnam Style” has already topped the British singles chart.

The Jack Soo Curse Department: It’s strange, but every time the late actor’s name pops up in this column, someone’s pissed at me. Last time, I mentioned that an online commenter took me to task for not mentioning that the actor had co-starred in the 1964 comedy series “Valentine’s Day” (hey, I didn’t know!)

Now, Ray Fukumoto’s on my case for saying that co-starring part with Tony Franciosa “was quite a get back then”: “Your use of the word ‘get’ slighted the contribution Jack Soo had for the JA community and I took umbrage with it. You seemed to have denigrated his memory and accomplishments. Please in the future be a bit more generous in your research. Thank you.”

Ray, by “get,” I meant it was quite an accomplishment. What definition were you thinking of?

Till next time, keep your eyes and ears open. Uh, but don’t mention Jack Soo (oh-oh, now I did it!).

Guy Aoki, co-founder of the Media Action Network for Asian Americans, writes from Glendale. He can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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2 Comments

  1. Hawaii Five-0 is safe – it’s got a long term loyal audience, and Revolution’s good ratings are sure to be short lived. Like every other epic high-concept sci-fi show of it’s kind (Flash Forward, The Event, etc), Revolution’s ratings will crash midseason and it will not be renewed, leaving it’s mysteries unresolved. Predictable as clockwork.

  2. I totally agree in regards to Hawaii 5 0, why do they keep trying to add new characters that are not needed? I was a lot happier when it was just the original 4, if something is not broken why try to fix it?

    It is like the non whites in this show are not good enough, Kono as a presence is not good enough and they require a ‘white beauty’ to balance it out.

    Michelle Borth is not likeable as Catherine and pointless to the story all she does it take screen time away from Grace Park who i would much rather see.

    Until she leaves, I am switching off from Hawaii 5 0.

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