you share a little about your personal background?
I am a first generation
Chinese American and my parents were born in China.
do you stay “centered” and driven professionally?
had a very strong focus on my career on my own since I was thirteen
years old, as a result, I’ve been very self-motivated.
are your personal and business role models?
I didn’t have a lot of business or entertainment role models.
I didn’t have any role models, per say. All I knew, however,
was that from an early age that I wanted to work in television. I
was always a big fan of television when I was a kid. I loved watching
tv programs. I always wanted to be behind the camera making those
shows. As a result, I had set out at a very early age to geared myself
towards those goals.
did a B.S./B.A. in business administration with a minor in journalism
at Boston University prepared for your present career as a producer?
In the Chinese/Asian family, there is a great pressure on kids
to go into a very professional arena such as business, getting your
MBA, becoming a lawyer, becoming a doctor, etc. A lot of Asian kids
have that pressure and I was not immune to that. The pressure from
my parents and my peers was the following: I will get get a B.S./B.A.
in business administration, I’ll get my MBA and become whatever.
After I got my
B.S./B.A. and my first job at Norton Taylor as an assistant buyer
to get some work experience before I got my MBA, I found out that
I was was miserable and hated that profession. That experience confirmed
what I already know - that I always wanted to be in media. At that
time, I really took a big risk and took a chance. I said to myself
"look if I’m not going to do it now, I’m never going
to do it." Hence, I made the switch to television
what age did you switch?
two switches. The first one was when I decided to get into the news
business. So I quit my job at Lord Taylor and ended up working for
CNN in Atlanta where I became a news producer. After doing this for
two years, although I liked it, I wanted to move from field and concentrate on entertainment.
I was getting a little burned out on news and I just didn’t
see myself, way down the line, being a news producer. I had always
wanted to do entertainment programming. So I left that job at CNN
and I got a job as a wardrobe driver on the Cosby Show
What was your experience on the Cosby
on the show for about a year, my entertainment mentor became Bill
Cosby and he really helped get my entertainment career started.
ended writing a sitcom about an Asian American family and he was very
happy with the project. We (Bill Cosby and myself) tried selling the
program. Although the project wasn’t sold, I had such a good
relationship with him that I asked him to help me to get into the
“Associates Program” at NBC – which is a junior
executive program. At that time, The Cosby Show was the #1 show on
television and his recommendation helped me get into the network.
So I got into NBC as a television executive and started overseeing
their television shows.
is your opinion on why a powerful Hollywood celebrity such as Bill
Cosby couldn’t sell a program about an Asian American family?
At that time, it was the late 1980’s. Television is very slow
to take changes and integrate minorities into its programming –
even now it is still lacking a lot in terms of diversifying its cast
and producers. Just imagine back in the late 80’s doing a sitcom
about an Asian American family, that was very difficult to get through
– even with Bill Cosby behind it. As a result, that didn’t
motivated you to become ABC’s Director of Comedy Series
I was at NBC, I was in the position as a “Card Executive”
(which meant that I oversaw shows that were “on the air”
– I was the network executive in charge of those shows.
I wanted to develop television shows and ABC had a job opening
for an executive to develop comedy series, so I got that job.
are your reflections of your tenure at ABC?
my tenure as ABC's Director of Comedy Series Development, I
was able to develop and bring Margaret Cho’s “All
American Girl” to the airwaves.