UPDATE: CBS released this statement in response on Wednesday: “Daniel and Grace have been important and valued members of Hawaii Five-0 for seven seasons. 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 lengthy post on his Facebook page, Kim publicly revealed that he wanted to return for Hawaii Five-O’s upcoming eighth season, but after asking for salary parity with co-stars Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan, CBS and producers CBS Television Studios could not reach terms that worked for both stars.
“By now many of you have heard the news, and I’m sad to say it is true. I will not be returning to Hawaii Five-O when production starts next week. Though I made myself available to come back, CBS and I weren’t able to agree to terms on a new contract, so I made the difficult choice not to continue,” Kim wrote.
Kim’s Facebook post confirms the speculation of the stars’ departure based on pay equity, which was reported last week by Variety.
The actor mentioned how important playing Chin Ho was.
“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. … though 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 also thanked the Hawaii Five-O producers Peter Lenkov, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, as well as the rest of the crew at CBS.
“Finally, I want to thank all of you, the fans,” Kim wrote. “I’ve read your messages and I can’t tell you how much they’ve meant to me. I never, ever forget that YOU are the reason Hawaii Five-O is the success that it is, and interacting with you online and in person around the world(!) has been one of the greatest joys of this entire experience. I’m so sorry we won’t be continuing this journey together.”
Last week, Lenkov released a statement saying that he will “never forget meeting Daniel while still writing the pilot and being certain there was no other actor who I’d want to play Chin Ho Kelly.”
He continued: “Needless to say, Daniel has been an instrumental part of the success of Hawaii Five-O over the past 7 seasons and it has personally been a privilege to know him.”
“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,” said a representative for CBS. “They’ve helped us build an exciting new Hawaii Five-O, and we wish them all the best and much success in their next chapters. Mahalo and a hui hou.”
Kim and Park are the latest stars to hold out for equal pay. Shameless star Emmy Rossum had a salary standoff with Warner Bros., which caused a delay for the Season 8 renewal of the Showtime drama.
When Rossum joined the cast of Shameless in 2011, her salary was significantly lower than her co-star, William H. Macy. Speaking out about the issue, Rossum said it made perfect sense that she was paid less than Macy at the time because it was her first TV show.
At the 2017 Vulture Festival, Rossum revealed that Macy was one of her biggest supporters. She told the panel, “It’s unconscionable they would pay a woman less for the same job.”
“It’s show biz’s job to get us for as cheaply as they can — and our job to say no,”she said. Macy went on to point out that Rossum’s character, Fiona, is truly the centre of the show.
Rossum and the studio came to terms on a new contract in December and she tweeted her excitement about continuing to work on the series.
TVLine reports that the Hawaii Five-O series is currently undergoing the casting process for a new series regular role — a lifeguard named Tani who was a former police academy candidate.
—With files from Chris Jancelewicz