Mem­oir in­spired ‘Fresh Off the Boat’

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - Showtime - South Broward - - POKER - By Rich Helden­fels

You have ques­tions. I have some an­swers.

Q: While watch­ing “Huang’s World” on the Vice­land chan­nel, I was won­der­ing i f Ed­die Huang and his fam­ily were the in­spi­ra­tion for “Fresh Off the Boat.”

A: The se­ries was in­deed in­spired by Ed­die Huang’s mem­oir “Fresh Off the Boat.” But Huang has been crit­i­cal of what had been done with his life and work, at one point call­ing the TV se­ries “an en­ter­tain­ing but do­mes­ti­cated ve­hi­cle to sell dom­i­nant cul­ture.” He no longer nar­rates episodes, which he did in the first sea­son, and while ABC’s con­sumer site ac­knowl­edges Huang’s book, its press site just says the show is “in­spired by a true story.” Q: Why is the Weather Chan­nel based in At­lanta?

A: A Weather Chan­nel rep­re­sen­ta­tive told me there is no of­fi­cial rea­son. So I asked An­dre Bernier, me­te­o­rol­o­gist for WJW in Cleve­land, who worked for the chan­nel for three years, start­ing two months be­fore it went on the air.

By email, Bernier said two lo­ca­tions “popped up on radar ( yes, pun in­tended): Char­lotte, NC and At­lanta, GA.”

Choos­ing be­tween the two in­volved such is­sues as cli­mate, cost of liv­ing and avail­able of­fice space. At­lanta not only met those re­quire­ments, but it also had a large and ex­pen­sive satel­lite up­load hub, which Char­lotte did not.

The hub, to send the chan­nel’s sig­nal via satel­lite to ca­ble com­pa­nies, had been de­vel­oped by Ted Turner for his op­er­a­tions, in­clud­ing CNN, sav­ing the Weather Chan­nel the cost of build­ing one.

Add in that Weather Chan­nel co-founder (and orig­i­nal boss) John Cole­man could do his “Good Morn­ing Amer­ica” seg­ments via the At­lanta ABC af­fil­i­ate, and the choice was made.

Q: Why did Michael Weatherly leave “NCIS”?

A: When the ques­tion came up sev­eral months ago, Weatherly did not of­fer a clear an­swer. Later, as TV In­sider re­ported, Weatherly said, “I just sud­denly re­al­ized that I prob­a­bly had other things that I should be do­ing. And t hen t he wanderlust set in. I di­rected a doc­u­men­tary. I have a pro­duc­tion com­pany. And I wanted to spend time with my fam­ily.”

But as good as it was be­ing on a long-run­ning se­ries, Weatherly also had a chance to star in his own show. Now set to air on CBS in the fall, “Bull” has Weatherly play­ing the “bril­liant, brash and charm­ing” Dr. Ja­son Bull, a char­ac­ter in­spired by Dr. Phil McGraw in his pre-talk show years.

Ac­cord­ing to CBS, “Bull” is “the ul­ti­mate pup­pet mas­ter as he com­bines psy- chol­ogy, hu­man in­tu­ition and high-tech data to learn what makes jurors, at­tor­neys, wit­nesses and the ac­cused tick.”

Not sur­pris­ingly, “Bull” will air right af­ter “NCIS” on Tues­day nights on CBS. Write to the Akron Bea­con Jour­nal, 44 E. Ex­change St., Akron, OH 44309 or email

NI­COLE WILDER/ABC

Hud­son Yang, Ran­dall Park, Lu­cille Soong, Ian Chen, For­rest Wheeler and Con­stance Wu.

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