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'Five-0' on a roll — with role-playing — but ratings static

November 21st, 2015



Danno (Scott Caan) goes to school, under cover as an economics professor, in this week’s “Hawaii Five-0.” In the episode entitled “Hana Kuaka (Charades),” which aired Friday (Nov. 20), he portrays a college professor subbing for the one murdered and tossed in a pig pen with the pigs making dinner out of the prof's carcass. The oinkers weren’t making believe; the “body” must have had some flavors the big piggies loved.

First, a word about the overnight Nielsen ratings: ABC’s “Shark Tank” was No. 1 in the key 18 to 49 adults demographic, with a 1.7 rating — best of the night. And it’s a role the show has maintained for weeks, no charade invovled.

CBS’ “Five-0” had more viewers in the same hour — 9.06 million, better than last week — but with a static 1.1 18 to 49 demo rating.  The evening’s most-watched program was CBS’ “Blue Bloods,” which logged 11 million viewers and a 1.1  18 to 49 demo rating, in the hour following “Five-0.”


Danno wasn’t the only one playing something or someone he wasn’t.

Eric (Andrew), Danno’s nephew now recurring as a lab assistant, also goes under cover as a college student, to seek out evidence or chatter about why or how the prof landed in the pig pen. Good to admit he didn’t “cry uncle,” and his playful banter and young looks made him a natural to think he’d fit in on boozing and dancing with the collegians.

Even McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin) took on the supportive fatherly stance, in a subplot involving a troubled son and his suspicious dad — with McG trying to sort out dad’s motives and son’s distancing stance while keeping everyone happy.

Jerry (Jorge Garcia), still eager to find his niche in the “Five-0” hierarchy, pulls what literally is a crappy duty — an evidence collector who has to watch for a missing bullet in the murder victim’s carcass to “pass” through the pig. While reading “Charlotte’s Web,” no less. Can you imagine the environment and odor during the filming? Garcia had to play the role of someone who couldn’t tell hell from smell.

Max (Maxi Oka), the ME who finds the thumb of the victim in the goop and, well, you know, the mess in the pig pen, might have been role-playing, too— thinking of his other primetime duties on NBC’s “Heroes Reborn,” which smells like gravy compared to this episode.

Chin (Daniel Dae Kim) still is masquerading with a smitten, gentlemanly veneer in his ongoing work-duty alongside Abby (Julie Benz), even opening the car door in their mutual cop-work doldrums.

With so many involved in the charade parade, who’s holding down the fort?

Lou (Chi McBride) was pretty stable this week, carrying the investigative banner. And Kono (Grace Park) put on a pretty face, despite the lack of good news regarding her problemed husband Adam (Ian Anthony Dale, not seen this week, but mentioned), with his Yakuza-ties past.





Status quo for 'Five-0' in the Friday night playout

November 14th, 2015



Kristoffer Polaha and Natalie Dawson as con artists in "Hawaii  Five-0."


ABC’s “Shark Tank,” with its 1.6 rating in the key 18 to 49 demographics, was No. 1 Friday (Nov. 13) where it counts; CBS’ “Blue Bloods,” with 10.30 million viewers, topped the head count of viewers.

This duality has prevailed in the Nielsen ratings for Friday, so it’s pretty much status quo.

What Hawaii watches, of course, is the performance of CBS’ “Hawaii Five-0,” in the same hour (8 p.m. here, 9 p.m. Mainland) as “Shark Tank.”  The local show logged a 1.1 rating in the demos, 8.36 million viewers — behind in the demos but ahead of “Shark’s” 6.19 million watchers.

This playout seems to be the Friday routine and norm. With this regularity, it’s rough to expect higher numbers in the demos or for more viewers.  And thus, ABC leads in demos (1.3 rating) and CBS cops viewership laurels (8.16 million) for the night. It is what it is.

With episode eight of season six entitled “Piko Pau‘Iole (The Artful Dodger),”

three story threads prevailed:

  • Adam (Ian Anthony Dale) still in pursuit of Yakuza types, wanting settlement on due sums. The exciting opening had him escaping from the thuds, rolling down a forest hill, and eventually killing his pursuers. His fate still is unresolved, though the monetary issue is, um, resolved — for now.
  • The introduction of San Francisco police officer Abby Dunn (Julie Benz), to kokua Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) in investigating the murder of Chinese drug dealers appears to the start of yet another romantic tryst for Chin, who is all smiles all the time when Dunn’s around — and they barely know each other yet.
  • The con artist pair, led by Hank Weber (Kristoffer Polaha) and his accomplice,  Katie Dawson (Natalie Dawson), who rip off tourists after arriving at the airport, picking pockets to collect iPhones, cameras, bags, sunglasses and more. Curiously, he gets to work with the “Five-0” team in trying to sort out the accusations with the acquisitions — toward an unexpected finish.

Polaha starred as Jason Matthews, manager of the Grand Waimea Hotel,  in the short-lived Hawaii-filmed TV series, “North Shore” (2004-05), with the Turtle Bay resort serving as the fictional hotel. So this is a homecoming for him.

The triad of stories means the cast are separated; Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), Danno Williams (Scott Caan), Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park) and Lou Grover (Chi McBride) pretty much investigate the customary crimes; Chin is busy accompanying Dunn with twinkling eyes; Kono again gets caught in the dark clouds of  hubby  Adam’s checkered past and one begins to wonder if it’s worth her time to stick to wedded bliss, when there’s little bliss.

Oh, and Jerry (Jorge Garcia) is the mix; yearning to earn  a swearing-in badge to officially be a “Five-0” officer, like the newly-minted officer Dunn, and again ascension from basement office to main floor glory.

Max (Masi Oka) is represented in a phone call; obviously, he’s double-dipping doing NBC’s “Heroes Reborn.”

Gabriel Waincraft (Christopher Sean) continues to be a menacing villain; he’s all venom and veneer — a combination that yields both intrigue and terror, elements “Five-0” periodically needs, and substance that Wo Fat (Marc Dacascos) failed to mine.


'Five-0' ratings remain flat, but so are its storylines

November 9th, 2015


So far this season, “Hawaii Five-0” has been “flat” — industry jargon for neither upward nor downward movement — in its Friday time slot. It pulled a 1.1 rating in the preferred 18 to 49 age demographic, and 8.75 million viewers.

The CBS procedural  has the most viewers in its 8 p.m. frame (9 p.m. Mainland), but trails ABC’s “Shark Tank” in the same hour, with its 1.6 demo rating; this key demo dictates advertising dollars, so the topper here for Friday Nov. 6, was “Shark,”  despite fewer viewers at 6.69 million.

“Bluebloods,” in the hour following “Five-0,” is most-watched with 10.75 million viewers and a 1.2 rating in the 18 to 49 demos. This has been the general  Friday pattern, week after week, according to overnight Nielsen TV ratings.

For its part, the Hawaii-filmed “Five-0” survives on a night that gets little respect from the industry; Friday is the go-to place before cancellation.

Not saying the “Five-0” is imminently bound there; but because of a financial arrangement  with cabler TNT, “Five-0” is making money for CBS, in spite of the so-so performance. With TNT paying dearly  for syndication rights, the network is content to keep the show in production. As long as it can, before the steam runs out.

The plots are more often superfluous than not. Take Friday’s “Na Kama Hele (Day Trippers)” episode – No. 7 of Season 6. Its dual stories put Steve McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlln) in romantic mode, on an incredulous first-date with Lynn Downey (Sarah Downey), involving scuba diving, dodging bullets from a gunman on an isolated island, in clearly was a misadventure-in-paradise outing. Oh, but they had time for a selfie.

Meanwhile, the “Five-0” team — with Danno Williams (Scott Caan) AWOL again — juggles assignments involving a silly incident about throwing a high school football game, which is never been an issue here.

So Chin Ho Kelly (Daniel Dae Kim) and Kono Kalakaua (Grace Park), with kokua from Lou Grover (Chi McBride), try to make sense of  high school football QB named Jesse Frontera (Jake Nutty) attempting to throw a game (being watched by football scouts) so the kid’s kidnapped father Kai Frontera (Gibi Del Barrio) would not be killed by hoods. The premise was flat and predictable — like, you knew the troubled kid would score a TD in the name of morality, despite the familial threat — and that his dad wasn’t going to be murdered for a super-happy ending. In reality, when was the last time you heard of  high school game being fixed with a gangsta team lording over the innocents? Pro ball, maybe, but  almost never with high school gridiron.

The episode had more, um, incredible moments, involving the two romantics:

  • McG and his sweetie, climbing up a waterfall; a slip down the craggy terrain would have given the attempt some credibility, but nope, they not only traipsed up the falls, they crossed the rippling waters to the other side. Who said mossy rocks are slippery?
  • McG and date, tooling over to an isolated island, on a skimpy rubber craft across pretty vast ocean — not so savvy, even for an ex-SEAL.
  • The couple discover a lost and unreported small plane in the wilds, and are discovered by a Boston mobster, Dennis Logan (James C. Burns), whose prison transport plane this was. Wouldn't  the Feds have searched for this errant plane?
  •  Fact or fiction, cannot tell you — but when his date receives a head injury, McG's RX is coconut water, supposedly serving as a cleanser and perhaps an antibiotic.
  • And they had time for a selfie?!

Oh, and one no-no; Chin apparently never got the memo or read the handbook about cop brutality in questioning a suspect; his behavior and action in trying to get a hood to spill the beans drew blood, enough for some disciplinary or legal action. Come to think of it, the "Five-0" inquiry room, with its institutional-green-painted hollow tile walls, does not have the customary peer-through-glass window for investigator honchos to see and hear the questioning. Howcum?

In the football game moments, Kukui High made a homecoming, complete with red T-shirts and pep squad and filmed at Kaiser High, with deliberate camera angles to prevent showing a not-so-crowded stadium audience.

And if you yearned for bromance banter, there was none. There's always next week.




Mugiishi goes for broke, pledges his 'Allegiance'

November 7th, 2015








Left photo, Lea Salonga and George Takei are among the stars of “Allegiance,” premiering Nov. 8 at the Longacre Theatre on Broadway. Right photo, Telly Leung and ensemble, in “Allegiance.” Photos by Matthew Murphy, courtesy “Allegiance.”



Note: This is an expanded version of my Show Biz column of  Nov. 8 (, on local doctor Mark Mugiishi and his journey to become a Broadway producer with tonight’s premiere of “Allegiance” in New York City.








Left, Dr. Mark Mugiishi, leading "Allegiance" producer from Hawaii; right, Playbill for "Allegiance."  Photos by Wayne Harada


Call it a pledge of “Allegiance”  — with historic magnitude.

Dr. Mark Mugiishi, a Honolulu surgeon, becomes a first-time Broadway producer of the new wartime internment camp musical, “Allegiance,” premiering tonight (Nov. 8) at the Longacre Theatre in New York.

His is a history-making journey of astounding perseverance, beginning about four years ago and culminating in the “Allegiance” premiere tonight.

Mugiishi heads an island delegation of 275, including 130 show investors and their families and guests, who have assembled in New York for the launch.

Mugiishi championed a fundraising drive among his Hawaii colleagues and friends, including his doctor colleagues and Iolani School buddies dating back to his basketball coaching days — to amass the largest sum, undisclosed, due to Broadway protocol to keep numbers private  — of the musical’s $13 million budget.

It’s also his birthday weekend; Mugiishi, a Honolulu surgeon, turned 56 Saturday, (Nov. 7) on the eve of opening night of “Allegiance.” So it’s a double-barreled milestone for Mugiishi.

“I’ll celebrate belatedly,” he said of the birthday.

Weeks of anticipation and shinpai — Japanese for worries and concerns — preceded tonight’s premiere.

He packed Big Island cookies and Hawaiian Host macadamia nut chocolates as omiyage for cast and crew.

He purchased a tuxedo, since the premiere is a formal event, but gave up on lei, since his mid-week departure was too far ahead of opening night, and logistics of  lei presentation (when, where and to whom) made the floral tradition a challenge.

For his part in the fundraising, Mugiishi’s name will appear first among all investor producers and above the title of the show, reflecting his formidable feat well beyond imagination.

“Hawaii’s130 investors cumulatively put in a sizable number in the multi-million dollars, towards the musical with a $13 million budget,” he said.

What Mugiishi could reveal is that  each minimum investment of $25,000 meant two tickets for donors on opening night; $50,000 translated to four seats, and so on. Do the math: the 275 locals will fill nearly a fourth of the 1,057 seats at the Longacre Theatre. That’s a lot of dough, baby.

Called  “Doc” by his colleagues, Mugiishi organized and inspired the Hawaii Hui  to write huge checks in a process involving  informational sessions, with appearances by three of the musical’s principal  stars: George Takei, Lea Salonga and Telly Leung.

It’s what you do, to pitch an unknown entity among Broadway game players to capitalize a minimum budget to make the prospect “legit” beyond the dream level.

Mugiishi is the former Iolani basketball coach who never played the game, but led his team to seven championships; a surgeon, he now is senior vice president of clinical affairs at Hawaii Medical Service Assn. (HMSA). He also is a surgeon/physician at the Ekahi Health/Central Medical Clinic at Kuakini Hospital.

He’s never produced a Broadway show, so it’s still too early to know or say if the financial payoff will succeed. The show’s advance sales — subscribers who buy tickets well  in advance, to give the production momentum and legs — have been moderate, compared to quick hits like this season’s “Hamilton,” a musical about Alexander Hamilton, which was a hit well before the opening curtain (OK, it had a preliminary run off-Broadway as insurance and a trial balloon).

Mugiishi joined the fundraising team for the upstart musical, like donors who ultimately took his cue, because of the unlikely theme of the show: a story, with songs, about the wartime internment camps. A tuner with such a downer of a plot? Yes, it was a struggle, initially.

“Allegiance” features a  book by Marc Acito, Jay Kuo and Lorenzo Thione, based on the emotion-charged theme of innocent Japanese Americans unjustly incarcerated in camps during World War II. Though not spotlighting a Hawaii internment facility was situated at Honouliuli, the impact of such governmental crimes still resonate with islanders.

“Allegiance” is based on actual interment memories of actor Takei, Sulu from the “Star Trek” franchise, and also stars Salonga (“Miss Saigon,” “Les Miserables”  and Leung (“Glee”). Original songs are by Kuo; the production is directed by Stafford Arima and choreographed by Andrew Palermo.

INVESTOR NOTES: Investors could readily bond with the show’s internment plot, though initially, it was a tough sell to enlist locals to commit to investing in “Allegiance.”

Said Karen Ono, wife of gastroenterologist Warren Ono: “It’s just a fascinating story; my mother and her family were living in the Sacramento area during the war so we invested because of the emotional bond and a passion for the story.”

Dan Arita, a Data House technology specialist for 40 years, said, “This is a story that needs to be told and perpetuated — for the greater good of America … the wartime story of people whose lives where changed when they were placed into an internment camp, without committing a crime.

I’m 79 years old,” said Arita. “But I remember that era where Hawaii people were being impacted. I was about 7 years old; there was  a lot of talk families being uprooted. And anxious moments.

Trevor Benn, who is not Asian but whose wife is Japanese, is founder-owner of the Benn Pacific Realty. He said his passion for the show is separate and distinct from ethnicity.


“I hope it’s a wild success, not just financially, but for the basic understanding of the story — about a family who had everything taken from them, when they did nothing wrong,”  said Benn. …


HAWAIIAN CONNECTION:  Two cast members have Hawaii ties. Lea Salonga, who portrays Kei Kimura, is married to Robert Charles Chien, whose family is here; Greg Watanabe, who plays Mike Masaoka, the only true-to-life character who was the president of the Japanese American Citizens League, has an aunt here who is part of the Sumida Watercress Farm hui. …

Further, backstage, there’s another Hawaii ex-pat: Melanie Tojio Lockyear is an associate director; she earlier starred in “Miss Saigon” and “Les Miserables.”

TRADE WINDS: Congresswoman Mazie Hirono is expected to be among the Hawaii notables attending tonight’s premiere. …

While Hawaii had a wartime internment camp at Honouliuli, the musical focuses on the personal experiences of George Takei, whose family members in the retelling — the Kimuras — were removed from their farm in Salinas, Calif., to the Heart Mountain internment camp in the plains of Wyoming, following the Japanese attack on  Pearl Harbor which launched the U.S. involvement in World War II. …

THE LOCAL ANGLE: To mobilize and move 275 people to and from New York, Mugiishi enlisted a travel group that worked with individual fliers on their preferred carrier — many chose the Honolulu-to-Newark direct flies on Hawaiian and United — with discounts at four hotels in the vicinity of the Longacre, located at W. 48th Street and Broadway. At the top of the scale: $225 rates per night at the W New York at Times Square. …

QUOTABLE: The key Hawaii presence in the musical is a moment when a soldier comforts Sam Kimura (played by Leung) about the 442 Infantry Regimental Combat Team, 100th Infantry Battalion GIs, ready to roll out a rescue mission in France, saying, “Don’t worry; what do Hawaiian soldiers say? ‘Go For Broke!’” …

Kind of sums up Mugiishi’s pledge of “Allegiance.” …




Prince Albert to be on hand for 'Honu' visit to Monaco

November 5th, 2015


Sea honu

Hawaii’s “Honu by the Sea” musical will bring the message of aloha and the mission of ocean sustainability to Monaco  Friday (Nov. 6) and Monday (Nov. 9).

“Honu” creator Johnson Enos and his island cast of performers will present the internationally-acclaimed, Hawaii-produced environmental musical

at the 2015 BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit in Monaco.

And Albert II, the reigning prince of Monaco, will be on hand. Albert is the son of Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, and the late Hollywood Princess Grace Kelly.

The historic performances in Monaco will be at the Oceanographic Museum, known as Temple of the Sea, and will be part of a four-day film festival and summit, according to Enos.

It is the second time that BLUE Ocean will be showcasing “Honu.” The last time was at the 2014 film festival in St. Petersburg, Florida.

“We are delighted that ‘Honu by the Sea’  has been invited back to perform at BLUE Ocean Film Festival; the mission of BLUE perfectly aligns with ‘Honu by the Sea’s’ message that we all need to care for our oceans and become guardians of the sea.”

The evolving production, which generally is staged as a one-act  show particularly for museum and oceanarium family audiences, this year became a full-throttle two-act expanded spectacle which ran for two weekends at the Hawaii Theatre in Honolulu.

The story revolves around a young beachboy named Kainoa who gets to spend a day with the denizens of sea — a honu (turtle) of the title, a shark, a crab, a seahorse and an octopus — who encounter a threatening figure who could destroy the ocean environment.

The production enables youth to become enlightened and empowered to  take on a personal mission —through the magic of musical storytelling featuring original songs, lively choreography, bright and inventive costumes, and the magic of theatrical fantasy — to help preserve the environment.

The show has made jaunts to numerous spots of the world; next year, “Honu” will appear in Tokyo.