Hawaii Film Blog

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Comcast Kills "Network for Asian America"

AZN's original programming included CinemaAZN, an Asian American "Access Hollywood"

Jeff Yang
writes in his "Asian Pop" column in SF Gate that
AZN TV, the "Network for Asian America," is being put to death by parent company and cable TV behemoth Comcast.

Launched just 8 months ago, AZN was to be a network featuring original programming targeted to Asian Americans of all Asian ethnicities. Comcast execs were all rah-rah back then about AZN being "a way for advertisers to reach this market very efficiently: the first national platform dedicated to Asian American viewers," and about Comcast being "committed to developing and delivering a diverse array of multicultural programming." Lots of top Asian American entertainment vets were hired to realize's AZN's vision, including former Viacom veep and Spike TV alumnus Peilin Chou, Jay Chen from National Geographic Asia, and ESPN and MTV documentary producer Kimberly Wang.

But today, only a handful of junior staffers remain, and the network continues to air random shows and news from Hong Kong, Japanese animation, Korean soap operas, and Bollywood flicks--nothing specifically targeted to Asian Americans.

The reason for AZN's demise? The bottom line. In fact, Yang insinuates that perhaps Comcast's motives for launching AZN in the first place were far more sinister than the multi-culti-lovey-dovey motives it had purported. Says Yang: "hidden behind the hype and glory of AZN's launch were some financial intricacies that suggest the channel is ultimately as valuable to Comcast dead as alive, if not more so. This is because the deal that landed the channel in Comcast's lap was actually part of an intricate fiscal tango in which Comcast received $545 million in tax-free cash, called a '
cash-rich split-off.' "

Well, at least AZN will have one last hurrah on January 29, 2006 with its 2006 Asian Excellence Awards to recognize the outstanding achievements by Asian Americans. Tim Ryan reported in his column yesterday that Hawaii folks Chris Lee and Kelly Hu served as judges for these awards. For what it's worth, you can go
vote for the "Outstanding Newcomer"--Hawaii-raised gal Keiko Agena of "Gilmore Girls" is up for the award. Also, slated to appear at the ceremony are "Lost"'s Daniel Dae Kim and Big Island boy Jason Scott Lee.

At least Asian Americans have new netlet
MTV Chi and ImaginAsian TV, plus MTV K (targeted to Korean Americans) to look forward to.

Asian Pop: AZN, R.I.P. [SF Gate, 12/8/05]

Kudos to "Lost" on Asian American Representation
Cultural Insensitivity
Morita Was Best Supporting Asian
Minority Writers Get Minor Share of Work
>> Office of Hawaiian Affairs Ups Media Spending
Oops, Chris Lee has NOT resigned from UH...yet
>> Jason Scott Lee Doesn't Flush

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