CBS Nabs Family Comedy ‘The Emperor Of Malibu’ From ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Author Kevin Kwan As Put Pilot

By Nellie Andreeva, Denise Petski

Photo: Stephen Gutierrez

CBS has given a put pilot commitment to multi-camera comedy The Emperor of Malibu, from Crazy Rich Asians author Kevin Kwan; former 2 Broke Girls executive producer Michelle Nader; and Warner Bros. TV, where Nader is under an overall deal.

Written by Kwan and David Sangalli with Nader supervising, The Emperor of Malibu revolves around two very different families — one from Shanghai with new money and one from the U.S. East Coast with old money — who learn to co-exist when their children get married.

Nader Courtesy of ICM Partners

Kwan and Sangalli executive produce with Nader and Christina Lee, who will both showrun, and Danielle Stokdyk.

This is Kwan’s second recent sale as he makes a foray into TV. Also partnered with Sangalli, he has a script-to-series commitment for an untitled drama project at Amazon via STXtv, described as a globe-hopping drama set among Hong Kong’s most influential and powerful family.

Kwan’s international best-selling debut novel Crazy Rich Asians was adapted into the hit feature film starring Constance Wu and Henry Golding and directed by Jon Chu. Produced by Warner Bros., the first studio movie featuring all-Asian lead cast in more than two decades has earned more than $232 million dollars worldwide at the box office since its August release.

The movie’s successful launch just as the broadcast pitch season was shifting into high gear this fall inevitably created an appetite for similarly-themed TV series.

The Emperor of Malibu draws on a similar East-meets-West theme of Kwan’s book and the movie, a romantic comedy that follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu (Wu) to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s (Golding) very wealthy family. Additionally, ABC recently bought a Jessica Gao comedy which also features a family setup in that vein.

With more than four million copies in print worldwide, the Crazy Rich Asians book has remained No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list and the same on the bestseller lists in Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. Kwan’s China Rich Girlfriend, published in 2015, and Rich People Problems are both national and international bestsellers. Rich People Problems debuted on the the New York Times Bestseller List upon its release in 2017 and has come back on and stayed there for the last 15 weeks. The trilogy has been translated into more than 30 languages to date.

This past season, Nader wrote and executive produced multi-camera comedy project I Mom So Hard, which went to pilot at CBS. Before that, Nader was on WBTV’s multi-camera comedy series 2 Broke Girls — also built on a juxtaposition of main characters from vastly different socioeconomic backgrounds — for its entire six-season run, the last four as executive producer.

Kwan and Sangalli are repped by ICM Partners and attorney Peter Nichols. Nader is repped by ICM Partners and attorney Ken Richman. Lee is repped by WME.

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