For our second March episode of KCRW's The Spin-Off, Joe and I chat with "Fresh Off the Boat" creator and executive producer of that show, Nahnatchka Khan:
ABC's new comedy Fresh Off the Boat is a first time an Asian American family has been featured in a prime-time sitcom in 20 years. Along with shows like Black-ish and Cristela, Fresh Off the Boat is part of ABC's push for more diversity on television.
Fresh Off the Boat is nearing the end of a strong freshman season, despite a tough placement on Tuesday nights. Khan tells us about the process of developing the show, which is based on Eddie Huang's memoir of the same title, and why she ended up taking it to ABC. She shares how she creates strong, fully realized characters that don't become caricatures, and how she went about casting Fresh Off the Boat.
Khan also reflects on her earlier career--from Pepper Ann to Malcolm in the Middle to her six years on American Dad, a working environment she describes as "like an Alaskan fishing boat" because of the lack of women.
Khan went on to create the ABC show Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, which was canceled after two seasons, despite having support from ABC's Paul Lee. Between that experience and Fresh Off the Boat, Khan knows all about the highs and lows of working in network comedy.
Fresh Off the Boat airs Tuesday nights at 8pm on ABC.
It's a great conversation. Khan talks about being one of the few female writers in the Seth McFarland universe; how bad it hurt when "Don't Trust the B--- in Apartment 23" was canceled, how she reacted to Huang's New York magazine piece about the show; and remembering that moment during TV Critics Assn. press tour when a reporter asked an offensive question. Listen by clicking below!