February 2015 Television

Updated April 3, 2015 –  Lester Holt continues to anchor NBC’s Nightly News. Ann Curry’s reports also appear on Nightly News. This household also fans of ABC’s comedy-drama, “Fresh Off the Boat” about a Taiwanese-American family from Washington, DC adjusting to a new life in Orlando, Florida in the 1990’s. The series about Asian and American stereotypes gets funnier and better every week. The iconic Cattleman’s Restaurant portrayed in the show is closed in Orlando and was sold.

by Carol Lim

February is ratings month for local broadcast stations and national networks.  According to Nielsen Research and http://www.tv.com, the February sweeps period is from Jan. 29th through February 25, 2015. February also is Black History Month. Asian Americans also celebrate Chinese or Lunar New Year in February, too.

Here are some highlights and some new faces in local television news as we approach mid February:

NBC News suspended anchor and managing editor Brian Williams for his misleading Iraq war reports 12 years ago.  Veteran weekend news anchor and weekend Today Show anchor, Lester Holt, a Black American, is promoted to anchor Nightly News. Holt may be the first African-American to anchor a major network nightly newscast on weekdays.

NBC News and  veteran journalist, Ann Curry, a Japanese American,  are cutting ties…sort of, according to the Washington Post.  Curry’s on-air reports have dramatically disappeared over the last 2 years since the bitter, unhappy departure from the
“Today Show.”   NBC and Curry reached an agreement over her $12 million dollar contract, according to the Washington Post.

CBS 60’s Minutes and veteran news reporter Bob Simon was killed in a car crash this week.  He worked at CBS for more than 50 years.  Simon was 73 years old.

Most local newscasts in the Tampa Bay area are still dominated by white anchors and reporters. However, there are some bright spots in diversity.

This February there are more Black Americans and Hispanic Americans as news reporters and news anchors than ever in this market in Feburary 2015.

Kudos to FOX 13 for adding Vanessa Ruffles, traffic reporter to its morning news lineup and multimedia journalist, Kimberly Kuizon.

Kudos to WTSP-TV for hiring Dion Lim, a Chinese American news anchor last year. Lim is the only known Asian American locally we’re aware off.  Lim co-anchors with Reginald Roundtree, Ch. 10’s Black American news anchor week days from 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., rotating with Courtney Robinson.  Lim formerly anchored the news at the NBC affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina before coming to WTSP-TV in St. Petersburg.

Kudos to WFLA-TV for hiring Gene Ramirez, a Cuban American to anchor the morning news with veteran morning news anchor Gayle Guyardo.  This is the first Hispanic-American anchor team on an English-speaking local network affiliate in the Tampa Bay area market during our lifetime here. The NBC affiliate and flagship station of Media General has Josh Thomas, Rod Carter, John Rogers and Candace Mc Cowen, African Amercican reporters and anchors  this April.  Lindsey Mastis, a  Greek-American,  joined the news reporting staff in 2014.

Kudos to CBS for shows like “Hawaii Five-O” and “Elementary” during primetime with Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park in HFO and Lucy Liu in E. Hawaii Five O reflects police teamwork in multi-cultural, diverse Hawaii. During daytime, CBS has “The Talk” with a diverse, smart, witty group of women led by Julie Chen at 2 p.m. weekdays on WTSP-TV.

Kudos to ABC for bravely launching “Fresh off the Boat”  in February on Wednesday nights in prime time. It airs on WFTS-TV, the ABC affiliate in Tampa. The series is about a first-generation Taiwanese-American family from Washington DC’s Chinatown, starting a new life in Orlando, Florida during the 199o’s. The actors are all Asian Americans born in the United States.  In “Fresh Off the Boat,” the Huang family takes on the Asian American stereotypes and lives up to them, too.  “You made straight A’s.  This school is not hard enough,” says Jessica Huang, the mother, played by Constance Wu, 26 years old, in the premiere episode of the series.  After seeing the Straight A report card, the mom starts a Chinese Learning Center in her home, to help her children stay on top academically and culturally. Wu skillfully plays the “Tiger Mom” with a passion for bargain shopping, pinching pennies and charging fees with a dose of compassion along the way. Eddie Huang, the father played by Randall Park, open a Cattleman’s Steakhouse in Orlando, not a Chinese or Asian restaurant. Striking out on their own, the Huangs’ American steakhouse has few, if any customers, even with white employees.  While Asian Americans value education and the family unit, not all Asian Americans are wealthy and successful. “Fresh off the Boat” is a funny, true and poignant look at being accepted and rejected while trying to blend into a predominately white community in the 1990’s.  Upon arriving in Orlando, the family asks “Where are the Asians?”

The show’s producer narrates and relives the family’s experiences in Orlando as Eddie Huang, a preteen in public school trying to make friends and with a passion for rap and hip-hop.

From the episodes we’ve watched, “Fresh Off the Boat”‘s message is to stay true to yourself when your world changes and around people who don’t look or act like you.

For more on the real-life Eddie Huang and “Fresh Off the Boat,” go to http://www.people.com

 

 

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