Mochi Exclusive: Interview With 'K-Town' Reality Producer Eddie Kim
Reality TV is my guilty pleasure. I can spend hours planted in front of the TV watching bachelorettes hand out roses and Snooki drink herself into oblivion. Needless to say, since seeing some clips of the new "K-Town" reality show on YouTube, I have been eagerly anticipating its debut. Luckily, we had the chance to chat with Eddie Kim, one of four producers of the show, who took some time out of his busy schedule promoting the show.
Eddie had an unconventional start to a career in the entertainment world. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he majored in Psychology and Ethnic Studies. Eddie then went on to work on several political campaigns, including John Kerry and President Obama’s presidential campaigns. However, he was always interested in entertainment and was heavily involved in theater during college. He created Projekt NewSpeak, a forum for Asian American artists to showcase their talents, in 2005. Since then, he has been heavily involved in inspiring and encouraging Asian Americans to express themselves through concerts, poetry slams and much more.
He and two of his co-producers, Mike Le and Eugene Choi, conceived the idea for the K-Town reality show in December 2009. While watching "Jersey Shore" on MTV, they marveled at how a show with a mono-ethnic cast could be such a big hit. Inspiration hit and they decided to create a show with an Asian American cast.
Over 300 people responded to the casting call. Though Eddie and his fellow producers initially had an idea of who they would want to cast (the dork, the jock, etc.), they ended up gravitating toward people who were just plain interesting and ended up casting the eight most colorful personalities. Eddie describes the cast as “really smart” with “no problem being themselves in front of the camera.”
Currently, Eddie is in the beginning stages of negotiating with networks to place the show. He is excited for the show’s potential, indicating he has a strong feeling that the show will become a worldwide hit as a “show created by Asians about Asians and watched by everyone.” He is confident that the show will allow the mainstream audience to see that Asian Americans are just like everybody else. By humanizing Asian Americans, the show will focus on each character’s transformation over the course of the show and help steer discussions away from race.
Eddie is proud of the publicity that the show has generated. “Never before in the history of television, before a show is even on TV, has a show gotten so much hype,” he said. Even Margaret Cho has mentioned how she wanted to be a cast member and how for Hollywood’s current state, the most important thing for Asian Americans is inclusion, rather than presenting a good or bad image. Eddie points out, however, that the Asian American image in the media is certainly becoming more common, with artists like Far East Movement topping the charts, and shows like "Hawaii Five-O" and "Nikita" becoming popular on TV.
Because there is a limited view of Asian Americans in the media today, Eddie’s intention with the reality show is to show Asian Americans in a human way. For those interested in pursuing a career in entertainment, Eddie reminds them to not be fazed by detractors and to remember that Asian Americans producers, actors, models, etc. are all working toward a common goal—to represent and blow up Asian Americans in the mainstream.
Photo: Eddie Kim's Twitter page