CBS Made Wrong Call on Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park ‘Hawaii Five-0’ Deals (Column)

"Ko' Olauloa" -- Coverage of the
CBS/Neil Jacobs

Season 8 of “Hawaii Five-0” will return to the special task force in the Aloha State — a state where 57.4% of residents claim some Asian heritage, according to the U.S. Census — without all of its Asian regular characters. Actors Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park, who have been integral parts of the cast since the show’s inception in 2010, will be leaving the series after contract negotiations reached an impasse. The issue, as was obliquely referenced in a Facebook post from Kim on Wednesday, was pay parity with white stars Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan.

The actors’ departure highlights an ongoing problem for CBS: Despite being America’s most-watched TV outlet for 14 of the past 15 years, the network cannot claim to be fully representative of the audience it serves. Last August, then-CBS Entertainment chief Glenn Geller publicly acknowledged that the network needed to address the lack of diversity in its programming, both in front of and behind the camera. “We need to do better, and we know it,” he said at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. At the time, all six of CBS’ new fall shows for the 2016-17 season were toplined by white men, and the network had no showrunners of color.  

In an indication of taking the issue seriously, the network launched a diversity casting initiative a few months later, and this fall has a new drama, “SWAT,” that both stars and is co-run by African-Americans. To be sure, these are baby steps — the network still has no female leads in its new shows, and only a smattering of female executive producers — but an effort has at least been attempted. 

This makes the confusion around Park and Kim even more counterintuitive. “Hawaii Five-0” was a seemingly effortless success story for the network — a show that both found an organically inclusive storyline and attracted regular viewers. (In addition to strong live ratings, “Hawaii Five-0” is a syndication moneymaker for CBS.) Kim and Park are technically supporting cast members to the leads, which explains some CBS’ hesitation in bringing them up to parity with No. 1 (McLoughlin) and No. 2 (Caan) on the call sheet. But pay bumps for long-serving actors on a successful show seems rather surmountable for a network as big as CBS. CBS by its own account said Wednesday it offered “large and significant raises” to both actors. 

And it should be said that at least one of the reasons Kim and Park are supporting characters is because “Hawaii Five-0” is a reboot of a series that debuted in 1968 — a beloved show, but one that so centered its white actors that it engaged in yellowface casting in a manner that would be utterly unacceptable by contemporary standards. The rebooted version has had an opportunity to address, reframe, and appreciate the original — and by and large it’s succeeded in balancing nostalgia with modernity.

But all that will be a little harder to do without both of its central Asian characters. In the show’s storytelling, Chin (Kim) in particular is the Five-0’s connection to Hawaiian culture — he speaks Hawaiian and recruits his cousin Kono, played by Park, to be a part of their team. Kim has reprised his character in crossover events on other CBS shows: “NCIS: Los Angeles,” in 2012, and “MacGyver” this March, where he was joined by Park’s character Kono. Kim and Park have been consistently featured in the show’s key art, which frames the show as one led by a quartet of characters — and because Caan negotiated fewer episodes per season, he’s even on the show less frequently than Kim and Park. Kim and Park are as much the face of “Hawaii Five-0” as Caan and O’Loughlin are, even if their call sheets don’t reflect that. CBS ought to recognize that — and invest in it.

In “Hawaii Five-O,” CBS produced a diverse cast and an inclusive narrative with commercial viability. This should be its ideal scenario. But now with the exits of Kim and Park the Eye runs the risk of torpedoing its own success story. Geller said that the network knew it needed to do better. Apparently CBS is still finding it hard at times to put its money where its mouth is.

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  1. Peg Dilley says:

    I love this show but was already upset about the way they treated the storyline between Steve and Kathrine so now that Chin Ho and Kono are leaving I don’t know how much I’ll watch it. I agree that Danny is negative and a constant complainer. I predict the show won’t last much longer.

  2. They could easily get rid of the Caan character (Danny) who whines to excess and really adds nothing. I have stopped watching the show a couple of times due to his whining and negativity. He makes Steve look and sound stupid. I really like everyone else. I didn’t know these two characters were leaving but now that I do, I will be deleting this show from my DVR.

  3. Wayne says:

    Get rid of Scott Caan if he doesn’t want to work and keep Grace Park and Daniel Kim. My family loves them. If Caan and O’Loughlin had any backbone they would stand up for their castmates like the starts of Big Bang Theory did.

  4. I really liked Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim, they were my favorite actors These two look more local than the other white guys. Scott Caan does not like Hawaii. Every opening he did not show up. I was born and raised in Hawaii. At least they knew the local terms that we use here. I am very sad to hear that they will not be coming back. As a Hawaiian lady, I will not be watching anymore, so will the rest of my ohana. I come from a big family here. There are many Hawaiians in the State of Hawaii.

  5. Gwendolyn Robbins says:

    If you want to see a good series look at”Hooten and the Lady”. It is on the CW channel.

  6. Gwendolyn Robbins says:

    I agree with everyone else about Kono and Chin. I even sent an email to CBS in Los Angeles. I asked them to reply to my email. I do not want to know anything about money. I know it was money but sometimes you have to bite the bullet if you want to be successful. It is about ratings. CBS needs all the ratings it can get.

  7. Tina Rice says:

    While I love McGarrett and Danny of course, CBS messed up big time. Chin and Kono have been huge part of success of show. NOBODY can take their place.

  8. Andrea says:

    With out Kono and chin. CBS your killing the show. Be glad if you’ll make it to season 9. Can’t take out character people have grown to love.

  9. J. R. says:

    Oh and I would also like to add that Danny’s whining really is virtually intolerable. It’s everything else about the show that kept me watching. When he’s not complaining he’s great – his character and story line are fine. But PLEASE on top of bringing Kim and Grace back, cut out Danny’s constant complaining! Once on a great while is fine, but enough already! Thank you!

  10. J. R. says:

    I’m glad to see there are so many upset about this as I am! You do not have Hawaii 50 without Kim and Grace! Ever since I first heard about them leaving and why I have been dumbfounded and speechless that CBS somehow isn’t recognizing their worth in the show! They’re worth it CBS! Get a clue!

    Unless it’s your goal to end the show soon. Who knows…maybe it is. That would explain your thoughtlessness. If not I recommend doing whatever it takes to keep them on the show! And by the way – I’m a white conservative. I’m not watching season 8 unless you bring them back! You’re certainly going to lose a high number of viewers of all backgrounds unless you rethink your stradegy!

  11. Phillis Stroud says:

    I have watched this AWESOME show since Episode one! CBS, BITE THE BULLET! PAY $$.
    You need to keep the “cultural” in the show. Bring back the Asians! This is, after all, filmed in Hawaii.
    Kona on her surf board; Chin on his motor cycle. You are selling a show we LOVE …

  12. Adine Hamlin says:

    CBS has written their own quick end for Hawaii 5-0. Without Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim, the show will die a very quick death. Not only are the heads of CBS grossly stupid, they’re also racists. This is 2017. Enough already.

  13. SC says:

    I’ve watched all of the series up through Season 7. Love it! That said, one of the overriding themes of this Show is that the members of Five-O are “Ohana.” That means “Family.” Chin Ho and Kono (Daniel and Grace) are as much an integral part of the Show as Steve and Danno (and Lou and Jerry and all the others). It was a very heavy blow to the Show to lose Catherine (Michelle Borth). Steve’s new girlfriend isn’t even close. The chemistry doesn’t work. But if you take away Chin Ho and Kono the Show just doesn’t work anymore for me. I was so excited for Season 8 . . . but with no Chin Ho or Kono (or Catherine) I will not be watching the show at all anymore. Terrible decision CBS. Very sad.

  14. Tom Morita says:

    The only reason to watch H5O was because of Kono! boycott the show

  15. Sally says:

    I will not watch the show in the future. I really enjoy Kim and Park. Mr Caan adds nothing to the program.

  16. Tommy says:

    CBS why can’t you removed other supporting actors like Jorge Garcia and other actress to pay the raise Kim and Park requested. At least pay them same like Scott Caan. Why CBS always do that to spoiled a good show, really don’t understand. CBS lost Kim and Park, H50 won’t be last long probably season 8 is the last season.

  17. Frank Lingelbach says:

    Sorry CBS. You really screwed the poch on this one. Two great actors with solod credentials and you sucked wind and blew them off. You have lost me as a loyal watcher. No Grace no Kim no more me.

    • John Thompson says:

      Aug. 21-17

      I disagree that the original Hawaii 5-0 depicted Asian characters “in a manner that would be unacceptable today”. The producers seem to have made a considerable effort to include “people of colour” in the program regularly, including Kam Fong as one of the 5-0 officers. These people filled a wide cross section of roles, even though some were obviously not experienced actors. I believe star Jack Lord insisted on this.

      By the way, why do the stars of the current series appear unshaven and generally act in a stupid fashion? The original series was far better in its depiction of police officers as dedicated professionals.

  18. Ken Croft says:

    About Hawaii Five O The show is done so well, everyone I know watches the show and loves it!!!. My brother in law. Worked on one show in 15 and my wife and I were able to meet the crew. What a great groupe of people!!! They worked together very well, they make the show a joy to watch and at any cost all should be retained. With the show in tacked it will be on the air for many years!! Weather you read my comments or not please rehire the cast as it has been. This will make a Huge difference in who’s watching weekly!!!

  19. Pj says:

    I like Hawaii Five O,Not like the first but I think all the main characters should get the same wage,all play a important role.We don’t need more white peoples,the show will not be the same.

  20. Climbinggirl says:

    I’m so done with CBS. Hawaii five 0 is never going to be the same. I was getting tired of the interaction between Danny and Steve, it’s like give it a rest. I’m like really? There are terrorist and people dying and you devote 5 minutes to stupid bickering. Is that why they are getting paid the big bucks? For those bickering scenes? I mean when it gets down to it, it’s the bickering scenes in the car or on the way to a crime scene that gives them more screen time, The plots with Danny and Steve were getting so stupid. I think once Chin Ho and Kono leave, it’s just going to be more bickering and not worth watching.

    I have to wonder how big the disparity in salary is when CBS says they were given “significant raises” but it still fell short of giving them equal pay. I’m really glad the two actors made a stand and hope they go on to bigger and better things. #CBSboycott.

  21. Barbara Jean Ratliff says:

    Hawaii 5-0 is one of my top favorite shows. I look forward to watching it every Friday night … and if it got moved to another day and time I’d move to that day and time! It is a superb show. With regard to this:
    “And it should be said that at least one of the reasons Kim and Park are supporting characters is because “Hawaii Five-0” is a reboot of a series that debuted in 1968 — a beloved show, but one that so centered its white actors that it engaged in yellow face casting in a manner that would be utterly unacceptable by contemporary standards.” Whose “contemporary standards” are we all concerned about? I hardly consider Kim and Park supporting characters; they’re on every week, and without them the show won’t survive.

  22. Gary says:

    I’ve always been a huge fan and loyal viewer of Hawaii 5-0. CBS and the powers that be have made a huge mistake……….Without Daniel and Grace, I’m done….and so is the show, I’ll never watch another episode. Aloha!

  23. Suncatcher says:

    Since the H50 pilot I could never understand how Scott Caan was cast for this show (other than his Dad’s $$$ influence?). For many (see comments by others below), he has been an 7-year irritant to viewers and was very public about how much he hated filming on Hawaii. His character has, over the years, been all but written out as Alex O’Loughlin in recent years has spent more time with Kim, Park and Chi McBride (LOVE him!) and the show has been MUCH better for it. Too bad CBS could not have dumped Caan and given his salary to their 2 top actors in order to keep them. BTW, I read not to long ago that Alex O’Loughlin was contemplating making Season 8 his last year on the show and that CBS had already planned on keeping the (profitable) show going with Kim, Park, and McBride. Looks like that isn’t going to happen now. With the 3 top actors gone, the annoying Caan totally not a leading man, H50 looks like it is seeing it’s last year on air. What a pathetic was for CBS to end what was a truly enjoyable run – but then again, that is the CBS way… ALOHA!

  24. ashleypou says:

    This was probably a big mistake. These 2 gave the show some diversity and fit the Hawaii set very well.

  25. JoAnn says:

    Scott Caan sucks as an actor anyway. He makes the serious looks less than real

    • Tommy says:

      JoAnn you are right, I’m totally agree with you that Scott Caan is sucks as an actor. I really hate him when arguing with Alex O Loughlin in the show. I don’t understand why Cbs add Jorge Garcia in the show. Cbs should save his payroll because his character in the H5O is totally waste of time and money. Wake up Cbs

  26. Aloha, H5O – I won’t be watching anymore! What a disgrace!

  27. Bob S. says:

    I think this will be Season 8 for H50? Like House, M.D., when it lost Lisa Edelstein, a major supporting actor, over pay (actually, I recall Fox wanted to pay her *less* than she’d be getting because the show had dipped in ratings), she left. So she was absent for Season 8, which then became the last season of this great Fox broadcast program. She was very important to House (the show and the character!), and I believe her absence ruined the program for many fans. I predict same will happen with H50 with Kim and Park suddenly gone, a very sudden, similar repeat of what occurred when Edelstein departed House, I believe. Aloha, Hawaii 5-0! A nicely done piece of standard TV fare, with a bit of an edge over the competition due to the writing themes and the players. But now, you’re toast, too bad. Thanks to another stupid exec decision, like the reboot of 24 without Jack Bauer! Show cancelled after one season, as easily predicted by any show fan, but not by the high-cost studio greenlighters.

  28. Tyler says:

    I agree I think they should pay them the same they all together make the show awsome funny and action packed the show won’t be the same because they make it so real with the family bond they all have together it really is what makes the show if I was cbs I would pay them the same cuz with out them it’s not the same I think they should talk to them again and do what ever it takes to keep them on the show I don’t think the race has anything to do with the show even tho they r in Hawaii but still it’s just the personality and the relationship they all have together is what makes it

  29. Lorrie says:

    After reading your article and subsequent posts I can tell I’m in the minority but I so whole-heartedly DISagree that letting Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park go is a mistake. They are “ok” actors and their nationality has not one thing to do with it. I’m sick of the race card coming out everywhere I turn and I doubt very uch that either will go on to do much more after leaving over a 15% difference in salary from the lead character. Almost everyone I know only tuned in to the show because of Alex O’Laughlin in the first place and he is the headliner and star – they DO NOT deserve equal pay to his. For the record, this is NOT Grace Park’s first “temper tantrum” and I say good riddance. Anyone else notice that other attractive women have short runs (or very small parts) on this show? Grace’s first “stunt” was about hating filming in Hawaii and feeling so isolated…then the pretty blonde who was part of the first cast disappeared and seems to have been removed from all cast photos and Grace was suddenly ok with being on an island…hmmmm.

    For Scott Caan…I agree on that topic. I would love to see him dropped from the show and I figure his dad must have some money behind the show (whether directly or through bankrolling Scott) because he’s pretty much a waste of airtime and we watch in spite of finding him beyond irritating.

    Steamboat Springs, CO

    • Pat says:

      It was more than a 15% difference, Kim and Park were an integral half of an ensemble yet were not offered profitsharing/syndication like the other two were, which is a huge difference and a slap in the face. If you can admire Rosa Parks for refusing to sit at the back of the bus, perhaps you can find similar admiration instead of hostility for Kim and Park taking a brave stand.

  30. David Crary says:

    Keep Grace & Daniel and get rid of Scot. He never liked Hawaii. Every chance he got he was off island. Lived there 3 1/2 years and was on set as an extra. I predict it will be cancelled early into the season.

  31. Jodi says:

    CBS really screwed up by not renewing Kim and Park. I may not watch the show not. Most of my friends don’t want to watch anymore. CBS needs to get them back or the show will go tits up.

  32. Pamela says:

    CBS has really messed up. Caan is on fewer shows and in my opinion has not added as much to the show as Kim and Park. Without them this show may not survive

  33. Chris W says:

    Terrible move!!! I just binged watched it twice because I missed some episodes due to user error on my Amazon fire stick and I thought what a great group of actors they’ve assembled. The way they interacted was priceless and now I don’t think it will be the same with these two leaving. Bummer!!

  34. Kelly says:

    Bring back Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim CBS! I am a white female and still believe everyone should be treated fairly. Both actors have huge storylines and should be awarded the same pay! They are the heart and soul of Hawaii! Lose them and you will probably lose viewership and torpedo your show.

  35. Am not Asian. But loved the two on Hawaii 5-0. Will find something else to watch during that time slot! CBS, is cheap & out of touch!

    • Michael R. Betzer says:

      First it was Kim Yoon Jin on ABC. Now it’s Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park on CBS. It’s obvious what American TV thinks of WE Koreans. So much for diversity!

  36. Sandra Withers says:

    I think the show will be headed for it’s last season if they let Kono & Chin go. While I enjoy The 2 lead actors – it takes ALL of the cast to make this show what it is. Do what you can to keep them on the show.

  37. Leigh Frizzell says:

    I think CBS needs to rethink their negotiations with Kim and Park – After watching this past season – they were on the screen more then as the Danny character was. The show is just not going to be the same and I’m afraid your rates will drop

  38. Nancy says:

    Why would they want to mess with a show that has high ratings with the actors Kim and Park.

  39. Miriam Burns says:

    I would give them what they want. These actors are an integral part of Hawaii 5-0 and the show will be much less interesting without them. What I have admired about the show is that it uses so many Asians which provides a real sense of authenticity. If CBS wants to show diversity, please reverse your decision and ask these actors to return.

  40. Annie says:

    Well CBS has screwed up again. Absolutely no reason not to give these two original cast members (Grace Park and Daniel Dae Kim) what they are asking for. Company greed, is my guess.

  41. Patrick says:

    They should pay Grace Park anything she wants. She is beautiful and the only reason I watch this show. Please get her back. The show won’t be watchable without her.

  42. Sharay Knight says:

    I myself just recently started watching this show on Netflix and I love it. It’s action packed and kept me entertained. I am very saddened to see Kono and Chin Ho Kelly leave. The show just won’t be the same anymore. They could of replaced cry baby Danny Williams because he gets on my last nerve. He is not a very good actor to me. The rest of the cast I can deal with. I will start watch Season 8 but if it’s boring sorry Hawaii-FiveO!!!

  43. Andrea Mah says:

    Unbelievable! Some of these comments are laughable. Real cops, no story line, CBS should wake up etc.
    You wake up ” sofa commandos” it’s never just cut and dried. I do see two talented actors ” cutting their nose off to spite their face” sad really. They will be known as the two Asians who quit because they wanted to be paid the white wage. I’m so sick of that racial card being pulled when things don’t go your way. Cop out. Pardon the pun
    You are quitters bottom line. Months from now no one will care.
    You shot yourself in the foot as well as saboteurs of your own careers. This you can blame on yourselves not CBS.
    Looking forward to Season 8

    • GoodByeHawaii5-0:2.0 says:

      Shame on you Andrea Mah for condemning these two wonderful actors as “quitters” for standing up for what is right. Why shouldn’t these talented actors who are as much if not more of the face of Hawaii 5-0 and much more talented than the lead actors, and represent the majority heritage if Hawaii be paid the same as the white actors? Their roles are really those of main characters and are much more interesting than the three stooges act of the two “main” actors. They did right to walk out and stand up for themselves 100%. I won’t be watching Season 8- CBS can stuff it! It is not Hawaii 5-0 with no one who represents the majority of the people of Hawaii on the show.

  44. goodbye H50 says:

    Let face it Kono and Chin help drive the show as much as Steve and Danny. Over the past 7 year Steve and Danny may have driven the procedural aspect of the show. But when it come to the personal aspect of the show it was Kono and Chin that drove the story most of the time. Beside the Steve & Catherine relationship and Danny, his ex-wife and their kids, these 2 character haven nothing entertaining about their personal storylines. Most of the time I even forget that these to have new girlfriend. They are rarely on the show and extremely boring when they are (not saying the actresses are bad just the storyline). A procedural without a personal aspect can only be entertain for so long before every terrorist attacks, murders, drug trafficking, sex-trafficking storyline get repetitive and predictable. The one thing the brings people back week after week is the need to see how these characters grow over time. To watchKono and her husbands relationship grow and the hurdles they had to endure or Chin second change with his ex-wife and how he survived losing her to find love again and what will happen in that new relationship and the added complicating of his niece is what brings people back after 7 years. And now, all that’s left is the procedure aspect and the always predictable bickering between Steve and Danny.

  45. Tim says:

    I won’t be watching without Kono. Get rid of Caan nobody likes him!

  46. Robert Vincent says:

    As a long time fan it is sad to recognize that this change will be the beginning of the end of this series. Losing 2 main characters at the same time a third character has negotiated less shows changes this series from Hawaii 50 to the Steve Mcgarrett show. Understanding that characters come and go in a series (see MASH) and are still successful, I don’t believe Hawaii 50 is strong enough to weather that storm. I hope I am wrong. love the show as it is

  47. Terence Day says:

    I get it. All Asians look alike in the CBS executive suite. I’m sure it was decided to keep the characters and get rid of the actors. After all, who will notice? My Japanese wife and all her friends read Ruben Navarrette’s column this morning. Any Asian who reads that column will declare CBS dead to them.

  48. Thank you for not treating Park and Kim as though they’ve done something wrong! As far as I’m concerned, CBS “screwed the pooch”!!

  49. suzan yee says:

    There is no doubt the racism that continues to exist against Asians; but as long as the ASian Communitiy doesn’t stand up like Black Americans do; the media will continue to wield his financial power; tCBS has no clue the issue of racism, nor do they care.
    Suzan Yee

  50. Mavis Aguinaga says:

    CBS should wake up and recognize that all four characters are seen as a team. Why differentiate when it comes to salaries.

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