CBS is opening up about the exits of fan favorites Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park from Hawaii Five-0.
Kim and Park, who were both original series regulars on the procedural's past seven seasons, made the decision to leave the series ahead of its upcoming eighth season after the network and producers CBS Television Studios did not offer them the same deals as white co-stars Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan.
"Daniel and Grace have been important and valued members of Hawaii Five-0 for seven seasons," CBS said Wednesday in a statement. "We did not want to lose them and tried very hard to keep them with offers for large and significant salary increases. While we could not reach an agreement, we part ways with tremendous respect for their talents on screen, as well as their roles as ambassadors for the show off screen, and with hopes to work with them again in the near future."
In a heartfelt post on his Facebook page Wednesday, Kim revealed that he wanted to return for Hawaii Five-0's upcoming eighth season, but after he asked for salary parity with co-stars O'Loughlin and Caan, CBS and CBS Television Studios could not come to terms that worked for both stars. Sources note the duo's offer came in less than that of O'Loughlin and Caan, who both have a cut of the show's lucrative backend.
A CBS insider stressed that Kim and Park's contract dispute had nothing to do with race. Kim, the source stressed, was offered a raise to come within 2 percent of what Caan and O'Loughlin make — minus the duo's lucrative points of the show's backend. Negotiations with Park, meanwhile, were complicated by the actress' desire to only do a handful of episodes and be written out of the show. But the CBS source noted a substantial increase was still offered to her.
In a note on his Facebook page, Kim thanked fans, the cast, crew and creative team and singled out how important playing Chin Ho was to him: "As an Asian-American actor, I know first-hand how difficult it is to find opportunities at all, let alone play a well-developed, three-dimensional character like Chin Ho. I will miss him sincerely. … [T]hough transitions can be difficult, I encourage us all to look beyond the disappointment of this moment to the bigger picture. The path to equality is rarely easy."
Kim and Park are the latest stars to hold out for equal pay. Shameless leading lady Emmy Rossum delayed the show's renewal in a contract dispute with producers Warner Bros. Television in which she demanded equal pay (and more) to that of leading man William H. Macy. (She received equal pay and the show was subsequently renewed.)
"We are so appreciative of Daniel and Grace's enormous talents, professional excellence and the aloha spirit they brought to each and every one of our 168 episodes," CBS said Friday in a statement. "They've helped us build an exciting new Hawaii Five-0, and we wish them all the best and much success in their next chapters. Mahalo and a hui hou [until we meet again]."
Kim, meanwhile, has been active in TV development and scored his first series order, the Freddie Highmore medical drama The Good Doctor, at ABC via Sony Pictures Television. For her part, Park will next reunite with the cast of Battlestar Galactica at San Diego Comic-Con for the show's second reunion in as many months.