(new) Hawaii Five-0 on CBS

Hawaii Five-O “was a really important part of my life for seven years, and I’m grateful to CBS and everyone involved with the show for giving me the opportunity,” Daniel Dae Kim said at TCA this morning during a Q&A for ABC’s new The Good Doctor, on which he is EP.

Kim had been asked – again – to discuss his decision to exit the CBS procedural, a topic that has been covered long and often since it happened.

“I’ve known [CBS Entertainment President] Kelly [Kahl] and [CBS SEVP Programming] Thom [Sherman] for a while…I know them, and like them, and am grateful to them for the words they said on their panel the other day.”

“That said, it’s possible to be grateful and respectful, and still maintain a steadfast sense of your self worth,” Kim said, pointedly.

Days earlier at TCA, Kahl and Sherman took multiple questions about the controversial exits of Hawaii Five-0‘s two Asian co-stars, Kim and Grace Park, who sought parity with the show’s leads, Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan, and left after not getting equal pay.

“We never like to lose characters audiences love but that happens on long-running series,” Kahl had said that morning. “We made very lucrative offers to those actors,” he added, while declining to name the dollar amount or how it compared to the salaries of series stars O’Loughlin and Caan. Kim and Park, whose roles had been conceived as supporting, had made less from the get-go; sources said they were offered salaries close to, but not equal to, that of the leads.

Saying it was time to “close that chapter…and begin this chapter” of his life, Kim said this morning he “could not be more excited to be back on ABC,” where he had been part of the cast of Lost, which he credited with launching his career. “This is the start of something new.”

And yet, the first question asked during The Good Doctor Q&A was from a critic demanding to know how come he’s not on the CBS series and is now “behind the scenes” on ABC’s doc drama.

“Good morning,” Kim responded calmly, getting a laugh.

“I’m very proud to be part of this show,” said Kim, who is exec producer on The Good Doctor, which he says he first saw several years ago in Korea and brought to ABC.

“It started as a Korean show,” Kim said. “I loved the message of it,” noting also that the doctor drama is a “familiar genre to American audiences.” The Good Doctor centers on Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore), a young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome, who leaves a quiet country life to join a prestigious hospital’s surgical unit.

Kim said he brought the format to the U.S., calling it “crucial” to have signed House’s David Shore as EP.

“I am really content being behind the scenes” on the new ABC drama, Kim says, calling it “fascinating” to watch the actors, as a producer.

“At some point I would love to play with them…David and I have talked about it in the past and we’ll see what comes up.’

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