Comcast announced last week that they cancelled the program because it wasn’t profitable enough.
Wasn’t profitable enough? If you’re going to squeeze money out of any minority group, wouldn’t you think it would be Asian Americans? We have a median household income of more than $57,000, according to a 2005 report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Despite the money, AZN Television’s last day of broadcasting will be on April 9.
“This difficult decision was made after considerable review of the network’s financial situation,” a Comcast press release said. The company had difficulty attracting advertisers for the channel. AZN had less than 13.9 million viewers and wasn’t growing.
I’ve watched the programs on the network, and I enjoyed being able to see people who looked like me, people who were Asian American and in the spotlight.
It’s bad enough that Asians were an entire group of people that were largely invisible in mainstream media. Have you ever played “Spot the Asian?” It’s a game I played when I was younger where I would tally up all the Asians I saw on TV. In the 1980s and 1990s, we were getting our butts kicked by some muscled white hero. We were the people that delivered the Chinese food to the Connor family on Roseanne. We were the ones performing Kung Fu with ambient gongs going off in the background. We were the ones getting our answers copied on tests and homework.
Now that AZN Television is gone, I can go back to playing “Spot the Asian.”
We weren’t always invisible. At the height of our media exposure, Asians made a breakthrough in 1994. Comedienne Margaret Cho and a cast of other Asians from different backgrounds starred in a family sitcom about a Korean-American family living in California. The show was called All-American Girl and lasted for 19 episodes. It was cancelled due to story changes and discontent with production from its producers at ABC.
In any case, I am willing to let go of the fact that Margaret Cho was the highlight of Asian Americans in mainstream media.
Since then, other minority groups, mainly blacks and Hispanics, have made great strides in mainstream media. BET and Telemundo are networks dedicated to providing programming geared toward, but not limited to, blacks and Hispanics.
However, I can only imagine what backlash its producers would receive if they were ever to decide to completely pull the plug on these networks.
Comcast cut the network because of money and poor advertising. Comcast couldn’t draw money from an entire ethnic group whose median income is more than $57,000. Asians are considered the most economically successful minority group.
Maybe Asians are more economically successful because they don’t watch as much TV.
Neal Santos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.