Asian Americans watch more online video than other ethnicities and yet are mostly underserved in original content. Former NBC head and founder of studio Electus Ben Silverman is trying to change that with K-Town, a reality show about hard-partying denizens of Koreatown.
K-Town has been in development for awhile. Executive produced by Tyrese Gibson, it was pitched to cable networks but couldn’t find a buyer, probably because network heads thought it would be too niche. (Though not really comparable, Bravo has had moderate success with The Shahs of Sunset, having recently renewed that show for a second season). Gay fans got interested because star Peter Le had a side business as a muscle worship god online.
Now the show is headed to Electus’ YouTube premium channel LOUD, which will focus on pop culture generally. Electus has three premium YouTube channels, one, Hungry, focusing on food, and the other, NuevOn, focusing on Latinos — NuevOn’s first reality show, Mi Vida Con Toty, features Sofia Vergara’s son constructing funny situations about her life. The studio is clearly reaching for underserved minority audiences, something YouTube is as well: a number of its new channels prominently feature Latino-targeted content.
“What’s great about it is that that they represent any sort of young, twentysomething crowd that’s just trying to make their dreams come true,” Gateley said. “But you’re just seeing it through the streets of Koreatown as opposed to the streets of Jersey Shore.”
Despite what is almost certain to be a much-debated representation of an underrepresented subculture, Angry Asian Man‘s Phil Yu is still psyched for what he called a “train wreck of awesomeness:” “I’m actually a little bummed that this isn’t going to be airing on a cable network, in the neighborhood of all the other trashy reality shows out there. But I suppose this is the way things are going, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
The trailer is kind of a work of art, in an abrasive, manipulative sort of way. Hyping the show’s viral past (when it was announced, in the height of the Jersey Shore hoopla) and suggesting it was too risky for TV.
That’s a message YouTube can get behind.