Outtakes Online: Lenkov meets ‘Five-0′ fans

Mar. 11, 2014 | 0 Comments

BY MIKE GORDON / mgordon@staradvertiser.com

As demanding as TV fans can be, especially in the age of social media, it’s important for them to accept that personal contact with the people who make their favorite series is out of the question. Directors, producers and actors are just too busy — and that’s not an exaggeration. Creating a TV show is time-consuming work. Twelve-hour days are the norm.

Actor Dennis Chun reads an appreciative letter from a viewer to “Hawaii Five-0” executive producer Peter Lenkov during a March 1 breakfast with fans. (Star-Advertiser photo by Mike Gordon)

Actor Dennis Chun reads an appreciative letter from a viewer to “Hawaii Five-0” executive producer Peter Lenkov during a March 1 breakfast with fans. (Star-Advertiser photo by Mike Gordon)

And then there’s “Hawaii Five-0,” the CBS crime drama now in the middle of its fourth season.

Most days the cast and crew are just as busy as their counterparts on any other show, but “Five-0″ honcho Peter Lenkov decided to reach out anyway. The executive producer invited a small group of devoted fans to meet him March 1 for breakfast (mostly pancakes) at Wailana Coffee Shop in Waikiki.

He brought several key “Five-0″ staffers, including co-executive producer-director Bryan Spicer, director Jeffrey Hunt, stunt coordinator Jeff Cadiente and repeat guest star (and “Magnum, P.I.” alumnus) Larry Manetti. All of them answered questions about the show, posed for photographs and signed autographs.

“All these people have been supportive of the show since Day One,” Lenkov said. “And good or bad they have stuck with us the entire four years. So I just felt I owed them something.”

Lenkov turned to local fan Amy Bakari, an Aiea mother and writer who blogs about the show and has helped organize fan get-togethers. In previous seasons, when she asked him to meet with local fans beyond the “Sunset on the Beach” premiere — the show’s only real public event — Lenkov was always busy.

The gathering at Wailana went beyond what fans expected.

“You couldn’t put a price tag on the look on their faces when he walked in,” Bakari said. “This was big for the local fans. ‘Sunset on the Beach,’ even though we see him, it is not close and intimate. Here he took his time and made it all about them.”

Fans lit up their social media networks with updates. It was like winning the lottery.

“The most common comment was that it was a moment they won’t ever forget,” Bakari said. “For them, Peter Lenkov is on a pedestal and all of a sudden he is right there and he brought some of his ‘Five-0′ crew.”

Other producers of CBS shows have met with fans during conventions such as Comic-Con, the annual gathering of comic book, TV and movie fans, and social media offers opportunities for virtual dialogue.

But Lenkov and CBS have known from the start that “Five-0″ occupied a special place in the hearts of Hawaii residents, said Lauri Metrose, senior vice president of communications for CBS Television Studios. There was history here long before the reboot planted its flag. That said, Lenkov took it a step further, Metrose said a few days after the event.

“Peter is a very special producer who, without any direction, has taken it upon himself to embrace the fans as his extended family in a way that is probably above and beyond what many producers do,” she said.

Hawaii actor Dennis Chun, who has a regular role on “Five-0″ as Sgt. Duke Lukela, joined the breakfast because he felt it was important to acknowledge the fans. Chun, whose father, Kam Fong Chun, was Chin Ho Kelly on the original Jack Lord series, often attends fan gatherings and is arguably the most beloved local actor on the show.

“We always feel very fortunate that these fans invite us into their homes every week and let us entertain them,” Chun said. “I think it is important to say thank you.”

Wailana isn’t a big place so the group had to remain small, about 20 fans and about eight people from “Five-0.” It meant that much of the show’s following would have to follow along on social media to take part.

“I would love to do it for every fan but this is where we are, this our home base,” Lenkov said. “Things like this get everybody together and let them know we appreciate them, let them know that without them, we wouldn’t be on the air.”
Mike Gordon covers film and television in Hawaii for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Email him at mgordon@staradvertiser.com and follow him on Twitter. Read his weekly “Outtakes” column Sundays in the Star-Advertiser.

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