MSG TV: Turner's Secret Plan for Hip Asian Network
By JASON LLOREN and GORDON MAH UNG
Blast San Francisco Bureau
In mid-1997, media mogul Ted Turner's cable network began examining the possiblity of forming a broadcast network to stave off stiff advertising competition from Fox, UPN and the WB Network.
Turner's executives decided an untapped market with huge potential existed within the Asian American community since all the black actors and actresses had already signed contracts with the WB and UPN for five years. The plan for a 15-show lineup and several specials was drawn up and pilots were shot, but the network was never launched.
Actors and producers of the shows were legally bound not to discuss the network. The existence of the MSG Network has been a deep secret until now. Blast investigative reporters Jason Lloren and Gordon Mah Ung recently received documents detailing ideas for proposed shows. A Turner spokesman said he could neither deny nor confirm existence of the secret network proposal.
Date: June 21, 1997
Subj: Proposed Fall 98 MSG Network lineup.
Proprietary information of the Turner Networks.
Ted, these shows look great. Pre-production already up and we think they'll be a big smash for us. Say hi to Jane for me.
America's Most Wanted Electronics.
George Takei, aka Captain Sulu, hosts America's Most Wanted Electronics. First episode centers on the big question of the decade: DVD or Laser?
George Takai, Captain Sulu, hosts Info 611, a show that features dramatization of people using their cell phones under high pressure situations to get Directory Assistance.
Military Cops of Southeast Asia.
We follow the men and women of law enforcement in various emerging industrialized nations. First five episodes are set to be shot in Singapore. Plus a two-hour special pilot with an undercover stake out of a bubble gum smuggling gang and hidden camera footage of Singaporeans who don't flush the toilet.
Secret Asian Man.
A combination of James Bond and Matt Helm of the '90s but driving an Acura.
In the pilot episode, Jason Scott Lee goes under cover as a restaurateur to
investigate whether the Communist Chinese government is trying to influence
and infiltrate the American political system.
A combination of the X-files and the A-team. Explosive action tinged with
mysterious paranoia and mood. FBI Agents Sculder and Miyagi travel America
seeking paranormal activity, and then they blow it up.
Home Feng Shui Improvement.
Jason Scott Lee plays a bumbling father of three who hosts a PBS show
about Feng Shui. Lee does in fact no nothing about Feng Shui causing all kinds of spiritual havoc with those darned Chinese spirits.
The Streets of San Francisco '98.
Updated version of the hit 1970s show. Starring Karl Malden (if available)
and possibly Jason Scott Lee playing an updated role of Steve (Michael
The Rutherford Files.
(MSG is not an exclusive Asian network. Thus we have the Rutherford Files
with a white guy.) Mark Rutherford, an ex-private investigator and former Special Forces commando, uses his cover as a publisher of a small San Francisco neighborhood newspaper to help friends and low lifes who can't get help anywhere else. Packing a Colt 45 and a notepad, Rutherford exercises advocacy journalism to the extreme.
Kahn of the Hill.
First you had Archie Bunker and his black neighbors, the Jeffersons. Now
you've got Hank Hill and his Laotian neighbors, Kahn Souphanousinphone and wife Mihn and daughter Connie. Negotiating with Fox TV to purchase rights to characters but Rupert Murdoch not budging.
Party of Nine Plus 18 In-laws.
Tragedy strikes when a fire rages through the homes of the Kims' in-laws, forcing them to all move into an enormous San Francisco house. Must get
cute Asian teen with those dimples like Bailey.
A weekly investigative news magazine similar to CBS's 60 minutes but on Asian time, thus making it 90 minutes.
West Coast Friends.
A group of hip, funny Asian friends that work odd jobs yet somehow maintain a fabulous pad in Pacific Heights.
A high-tech team of secret federal agents work to fight crime on the streets of Oakland. The agents are outfitted with specialized Acuras and Hondas that are really low and make a lot of noise.
Kung Fu 3000.
Set on a distant planet, David Carradine plays the great, great, great grandson of Grasshopper who is looking for his lost brother. Strangely, Carradine looks just like his great, great, great, grandfather and dresses the same. Carradine is teamed with his son, who oddly is a white guy, in his search.
Asian Market Home Shopping Network.
Why fight grandmothers just to buy some stinky dried fish? This show features all the useless junk but without the lines. Items are shipped to your home in the pink plastic bag.
Proposed one-hour specials
Rice on Ice.
Ice skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi hosts a show featuring
some of the best Asian ice skaters to emerge from behind the Bamboo Curtain.
World's Scariest Big-Ass Chinese Weddings.
The largest, most massively huge Chinese weddings captured on video tape. Hundreds of old folks eating greasy chow mein from the buffet dinner. Dangerous chicken heads hanging from chopsticks are captured on tape as emotionally and sexually dysfunctional newlyweds who have never hugged in
public are forced to kiss in front of their parents.
Also included in this series of specials are: World's Scariest Double Parking, World's Scariest Chinatown Traffic Jams, World's Deadliest Day-old Sushi.
Date: June 22, 1997
Subj: Proposed Fall 98 MSG Network lineup.
No way. Don't like it. Shut production NOW. Let's do sushi next Monday to discuss your "future" with company.