Earlier this year, it was revealed that Disney had cancelled the Disney+ Original series, “American Born Chinese”, which is an adaptation of Gene Luen Yang’s groundbreaking graphic novel, after one season.

“American Born Chinese” is the story of Jin Wang, a regular American teenager whose hopes for “levelling up” his social life are derailed by the arrival of a new foreign student, Wei-Chen Sun. Dealing with high school politics, a racist viral meme from a 90s television show, and this eccentric new boy following him around, Jin fumbles his chance of getting on the soccer team and tarnishes his reputation. However, as Jin gets to know Wei-Chen, he comes to find out that this new kid is the son of the legendary Monkey King, Sun Wukong, from Chinese myth. As Wei-Chen enlists Jin in his search for the rumoured Fourth Scroll, Jin is faced with the trials and tribulations of heaven and high school, forcing him to discover his own identity in the process. Told through family, comedy, and action-packed Kung-Fu, Jin learns that his power comes from being himself.

While the show starred many of the stars of the Oscar-winning movie, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”, Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu and Ke Huy Quan, it wasn’t enough to get audiences to watch the film.

Recently, Karey Burke, who is the President of 20th Television who created the series, spoke at a panel at the ATX Festival in Texas about the retraction within the business, where she revealed one of the reasons why the show wasn’t renewed for another season.

“It was well received… it had a premiere at the White House. It found an audience internationally, which was really lovely, but couldn’t break through domestically here.”

There could be many reasons why audiences in the United States didn’t watch “American Born Chinese.” Did the story not appeal to the mass market? Did the show’s name seem political?  Was it just lost in the shuffle?  Did Disney promote it enough?

At one point, there were over 600 shows being created each year, and many within the industry realised that this wasn’t sustainable.   In the past year, we’ve seen a major change in how many shows the studios, including Disney, are making, as they all have started pulling back on their spending following the boost of the pandemic and the launch of streaming services like Disney+. 

Karey Burke spoke about how having so many shows around being created was causing problems across the industry:

“We’re on the other side of it.  I never want to celebrate the loss of opportunity but I think we all felt the strain of 600+ television shows in the marketplace and not being able to get the eyeballs. Shows would come and go so quickly. It’s tough for the audience, it’s not fair to the creators because platforms don’t have the marketing dollars for 600 shows. It feels like a natural and healthy correction. I understand that it’s scary, any time there’s a contraction it can be concerning but I do look at the bright side. I’m optimistic that we’re still going to make a lot of amazing television, we’re just going to have more time to do it and have more resources to support it.”

Roger’s Take: It’s frustrating to hear that “American Born Chinese” had been popular internationally, but because the US market wasn’t interested in the show, it was cancelled. This highlights the common problem with Disney executives being more focused on the domestic market, sometimes cancelling shows before they’ve even had a chance to be released internationally. It also doesn’t help that studios cancel shows so quickly if they aren’t connecting with audiences rather than giving them time to do so and promote them more.

What did you think of Disney’s cancellation of “American Born Chinese”?  Let me know on social media!


Source – Deadline

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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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