Hawaii Five-0 loses two stars

Cast of the 2010 Hawaii Five-0

Hawaii Five-0, the remake of the original Five-O series, is losing two of its stars in a pay dispute, Variety reported.

Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park are departing the series ahead of its eighth season, according to the entertainment website.

The two “had been seeking pay equality with stars Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan, but were unable to reach satisfactory deals with CBS Television Studios, which produces the series,” Variety said. “Kim and Park were believed to be making 10-15% less than O’Loughlin and Caan.”

The remake debuted in 2010. Park played Kono Kalkaua, who had been a man in the 1968-80 original show. Kim was a fitter, trimmer version of Chin Ho Kelly.

O’Loughlin and Caan are revamped versions of Steve McGarrett and Dan Williams from the original series. The characters were played by Jack Lord and James MacArthur in the 1968-80 show, although Tim O’Kelly played Williams in the 1968 pilot TV movie.

The remake series also has done new takes on other characters from the original, including turning villain Wo Fat, Gov. Paul Jameson and U.S. spymaster Jonathan Kaye. For the new series, Jameson and Kaye were made into women characters.

The new versions of Jameson and Kaye were revealed to be in cahoots with Wo Fat and were killed off. The new Wo Fat was killed off in the new show’s 100th episode.

(And yes, the official spelling of the original is Hawaii Five-O while the 2010 series is spelled Five-0.)

 

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Hawaii Five-O’s 45th anniversary: cop show with a spy twist

Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett

Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett

Forty-five years ago this month, Hawaii Five-O debuted. While a cop show, it had an element of international intrigue from the start.

The two-hour television movie version version of the pilot, which first aired on CBS on SEPT. 20, 1968, concerned a plot where Red Chinese intelligence operative Wo Fat was torturing U.S. intelligence agents in the Pacific Rim and obtaining important information.

Steve McGarrett, the no-nonsense head of state police unit Hawaii Five-O is drawn to the case because the latest victim was a friend of his. The lawman, a former U.S. Naval intelligence officer, isn’t one to back down from official pressure to lay off.

The pilot immediately grabbed the attention of viewers. A short pre-titles sequence shows Wo Fat using a sensory deprivation chamber for the torture. That’s followed by a 90-second main title featuring a stirring theme by Morton Stevens.

The composer initially thought about re-using the theme he wrote for an unsold pilot, CALL TO DANGER. His wife, Annie Stevens, strongly advised against the move, according to a 2010 STORY IN THE HONOLULU STAR ADVERTISER. As a result, Stevens created one of the greatest themes in television history.

The series was conceived by veteran television producer Leonard Freeman, who wrote the pilot. Freeman’s 1967 first draft had a team led by McGarrett, with a mid-20s Hawaiian sidekick, Kono Kalakaua, a third, heavy-set detective and Chin Ho Kelly, who was the Honolulu Police Department’s liaison with Five-O. In the final version of the story, the sidekick became the Caucasian Danny Williams; the Kono name was given to the heavier-set character; and Chin Ho was made a full-fledged member of Five-O.

Freeman & Co. were preparing to film the pilot with American actor Robert Brown as McGarrett. Rose Freeman, widow of the Five-O creator, told a 1996 fan convention in Los Angeles that CBS objected to the casting and, just five days before filming was to start, Brown was replaced with Jack Lord, the first screen incarnation of Felix Leiter in Dr. No. Brown ended up starring in another 1968 series, Here Come the Brides.

The pilot had Tim O’Kelly as Danny. When the series was picked up, Freeman recast the part with James MacArthur, who a small, but notable role in Hang ‘Em High, a Clint Eastwood Western film that Freeman had produced.

The international espionage aspect of Five-O remained throughout the show’s 12-year run, though less so in the later seasons. Wo Fat, played by Khigh Dhiegh, made a NUMBER OF RETURN APPEARANCES, including the 1980 series finale. As the U.S. and China began to normalize diplomatic relations, Wo Fat became an independent menace. In the ninth-season opener, Wo Fat attempts to take over the Chinese government.

Five-O matched wits with a number of other spies played by the likes of Theodore Bikel (who had tried out for Goldfinger), Maud Adams and Soon Tek-Oh. George Lazenby, the second screen James Bond, played a secondary villain in a 1979 episode filmed on location in Singapore.

Five-O wasn’t always an easy show to work on. Freeman died in early 1974, after the sixth season completed production. Zulu (real name Gilbert Kauhi), who played Kono left after the fourth season; he told fans at the 1996 convention about problems he had with Jack Lord. His replacement, Al Harrington as another detective, departed in the seventh season.

Nevertheless, Five-O had a long run. When it left the air, Five-O was the longest-running crime drama, a status it held until Law and Order, the 1990-2010 series.

Lord’s Steve McGarrett emerged as one of the most recognizable television characters. In 2007, 27 years after the final Five-O episode, THE NEW YORK TIMES’S OPINION PAGES summed up Five-O’s appeal.

“Evil makes McGarrett angry, but when he speaks, his voice is startlingly gentle, exuding a quiet control that a beleaguered generation of parents surely wished they had when facing the forces of social decay,” reads the commentary by Lawrence Downes.

The writer ends his piece describing what it might be like if McGarrett was president. He dispatches Kono and Chin to stop illegal immigration and tells Danny that he wants undocumented workers “legalized. Tell Congress to send me a bill. I want it tough, and I want it fair. And I want it on my desk Monday morning.”

Cast of the 2010 Hawaii Five-0

Cast of the 2010 Hawaii Five-0

In 2010, CBS introduced a new version of the show, with a slightly different spelling (Hawaii Five-0, with a digit instead of a capital O as in the original), a younger McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), a Danny with more attitude (Scott Caan) and a woman Kono (Grace Park).

CBS will begin televising the fourth season of the new Five-0 later this month. The show been shifted to Friday nights after falling ratings during the 2012-13 season, including a 25 percent decline for its season finale compared with a year earlier.

Even if the new Five-0’s ratings stabilize, it doesn’t seem likely editorial writers will muse what it’d be like to have McGarrett 2.0 as president. On the other hand, the producers were smart enough to keep the Morton Stevens theme music.

Hawaii Five-0 appears to be ready for `sweeps’

The new Hawaii Five-0 series seems to be ready for the February and May “sweeps,” where ratings are used to set television advertising rates.

CBS said this week that James Caan, father of series regular Scott Caan, will appear on the show next month. The original Five-O series did the same thing, where that program’s Danno, James MacArthur, got to work with adoptive mother, Helen Hayes, in an eighth-season episode.

Meanwhile, for May, CBS is planning a two-night Five-0/NCIS: Los Angeles crossover, according to a Jan. 11 post on the TVline Web site.

And, at some point, CBS is bringing back Edward Asner to reprise a role he played in the original Five-O series for multiple episodes. That, of course, creates all sorts of continuity issues because new Five-0 is a “reboot” (i.e. starting all over again), rather than a continuation of the original. But nobody is worrying too much about that.

UPDATE: We missed this one. Dennis Miller is also going to appear in a February episode, according to a post on the Digital Spy Web site.

Edward Asner to reprise role from old Five-O in new Five-0


The new Hawaii Five-0 evidently is going to bend the space-time continuum by having having 82-year-old Edward Asner reprise a role from the original Hawaii Five-O.

Here’s an excerpt from a report on the Deadline entertainment news Web site.

EXCLUSIVE: Ed Asner is upgrading his status on Hawaii Five-0 from a guest star to recurring. In a very unusual series guest arc spanning 36 years, the multiple Emmy winner will guest star on CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 reboot in the spring, reprising the role of August March, which he played in an episode of the original series in 1975.

That episode, Wooden Model of a Rat, aired in the eighth season of the original show. Logically, he can’t play the same role unless you accept the idea that there are two Steve McGarretts, two Dannos and two Chin Ho Kellys in the same fictional universe. August March was the villain going against a 49-year old McGarrett (the series established a 1926 birth date for the Big Kahuna; star Jack Lord was older than that, being born in late 1920) and a Chin Ho who was less than a perfect physical specimen. At least both Dannos (James MacArthur and Scott Caan) are short compared with their McGarretts (Lord and Alex O’Loughlin).

Then again, as the old saying goes, it’s just a television show.

According to the Deadline story, the new show will use footage from the original Asner appearance. The 1975 episode was written by Alvin Sapinsley, one of the best writers on the original show. His other credits include Sherlock Holmes in New York, the 1976 TV movie where Roger Moore played Holmes.

James MacArthur, Danno 1.0, passes away at 72

James MacArthur, the last surviving original principal cast member of Hawaii Five-O, died today at age 72. He played the youthful sidekick, Dan Williams, to the Steve McGarrett of Jack Lord, the screen’s original Felix Leiter. MacArthur was 30 when the show began, though his Dan Williams probably is supposed to be in his mid-20s, based on references in early episodes.

The catchphrase of the original show, “Book ’em, Danno,” has been replicated by the new Hawaii Five-0 (whose official spelling is a numeral 0 in place of the capital “O” of the original). In the new version, Dan Williams 2.0 (Scott Caan) doesn’t find the phrase nearly as endearing. But such is the power of the catchphrase there was no way for the producer of the new version to ignore it. MacArthur, son of Helen Hayes and writer Charles MacArthur, got the gig after creator Leonard Freeman decided to recast the role after the pilot was filmed.

MacArthur, in the years after the show ended, was careful about what he said. At a 1996 fan convention in Los Angeles, he made self-depricating remarks but often declined to go into details even as one-time co-star Zulu, the original Kono (now turned into a woman in the new series, courtesy of actress Grace Park) served up behind-the-scene anecdotes to fans that detailed tensions between some cast members.

In early Five-O episodes, Danno sometimes clashed with McGarrett, something that has been a staple of the new series. In this extended 1968 promo, check out the exchange that starts at the 3:54 mark. It’s from an episode called “Samurai,” which was actually the first episode made after the pilot.

(To watch the entire “Samurai” episode, you can CLICK HERE.)

Mostly, though, the banter between the characters was more light hearted, such as in this first-season episode:

Finally, in 1997, when CBS tried reviving the show, a pilot was produced but never broadcast. MacArthur reprised the Dan Williams character, who was now governor of Hawaii:

Roundup of recent 007 political and cultural references

Making cultural references to James Bond has become common over the past half century. Still, there were four notable ones in just the past few days, ones that encompass opposite ends of the political spectrum and popular entertainment.

Here are four, starting with the most recent:

Fox Report With Shepard Smith, Fox News, Oct. 5: The nightly, hour-long newscast’s Oct. 5 telecast ended with a “This Day in History” segment on the 48th anniversary of the premier of Dr. No, showing publicity stills of star Sean Connery and actor Joseph Wiseman, who played 007’s first cinematic villain.

Hawaii Five-0, CBS, Oct. 4: The third episode of CBS’s revival of the classic series (which officially spells it Five-0 instead of Five-O, as in the original), includes a scene where Steve McGarrett 2.0 and Dan Williams 2.0 get dressed up to infiltrate an illegal casino run by hoodlums. “How come I look like a waiter, while you look like James Bond?” Danno (Scott Caan) asks the Big Kahuna (Alex O’Loughlin).

You can watch the episode by CLICKING RIGHT HERE.

The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC, Sept. 30: The first week of the new MSNBC show included a segment about Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate for California governor. She became involved in a controversy involving how she employed a housekeeper who was an illegal immigrant and fired the housekeeper O’Donnell, noted that her husband is Dr. Griffith Harsh and suggested that “Dr. Harsh” would be a fine name for a James Bond villain.

The Rush Limbaugh Show, syndicated radio program, Sept. 28: The radio host made this comment after talking to a caller: “By the way, the Bond character was Xenia Onatopp. It was spelled O-n-a-t-o-p-p, Xenia Onatopp. Sarah Palin is our Xenia Onatopp.”

To read the entire exchange between Limbaugh and the caller, you can CLICK HERE and see a transcript from the show’s Web page.

For those who don’t remember Xenia Onatopp, she was the femme fatale in 1995’s GoldenEye. Here she kills a U.S. admiral:

New Hawaii Five-O makes CBS’s fall schedule

CBS is doing a reboot of Hawaii Five-O, the 1968-80 crime drama that often featured espionage-themed stories (starting with its pilot). Here’s what an Associated Press story on the New York Times Web site says:

CBS has also scheduled a modern revival of the 1970s cop drama ”Hawaii Five-O” with Daniel Dae Kim, fresh from the Hawaii-based ”Lost,” in the cast. Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan also star.

O’Loughlin has been referened previously as playing Steve McGarrett, the role made famous by Jack Lord, while Kim was reported to be playing Chin Ho Kelley, portrayed by Kam ong in the first series. Caan is the son of actor James Caan. According to zap2toit.com, the new Five-O will be telecast at 10 p.m. Mondays New York time.

According to IMDB.com’s entry for the 2010 series’s pilot episode, two characters have gotten gender changes. Instead of Gov. Paul Jameson in the original (played by the late Richard Denning), the new version has Gov. Pat Jameson played by Jean Smart. And Kono Kalakaua (originally played by the late Gilbert Kauhi, aka Zulu) has been turned into a woman played by the considerably lighter Grace Park.

As we’ve written before, CBS produced a 1997 pilot for a revival that was never broadcast.

UPDATE: The new main titles….

UPDATE II: At about 8:25 p.m. New York time on May 20, CBS ran a promo for the new Five-O. It shows new McGarrett telling new Danno, “Book ’em, Danno!”

UPDATE III: CBS has uploaded a 2-minute promo to YouTube: