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"Ratings Are All-Important" - Former Survivor Daniel Lue Weighs in on the Survivor: Cook Islands Racial Issueby Mike DeGeorge -- 09/07/2006
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RealityNewsOnline: For those who aren’t aware, give us your background.
Daniel Lue: I am Chinese-American, born in Houston, TX. My parents are both Chinese. While living in Houston I was attended a Chinese church and studied Mandarin-Chinese for three years at the University of Texas in Austin. I have good relationship with Chinese government representatives and also with the Chinese media here in Los Angeles. In fact, New Tang Dynasty TV, a satellite station, is currently doing a True Life-like program on me.
RNO: You were the second Asian-American on Survivor,correct? After Shii Ann, but before Bruce.
Daniel: Yes, I'm the second Asian to be on Survivor. Shii Ann is also Chinese; her parents are from Taiwan. My mom is from Taiwan and my dad is from Hong Kong, and I speak both Mandarin and Cantonese. Bruce is Japanese. Although "Beef Jerky" Kel Gleason looks Asian, he's actually Peruvian and Native American. Although Matthew Von Ertfelda is a wannabe Asian, that doesn't count. Haha!
RNO: What do you think of the twist? Are you offended by it?
Daniel: I think the twist is great. I think with this format everyone has a more equal chance of winning. Equal number of men and women, and for the most part, an equal division of ethnicities. Of course, within each ethnicity, there are different backgrounds - for example, there is a Vietnamese man and a Korean man. It would be interesting to see if contestants Yul and Becky, both Koreans, will stick together and use the Korean language to their advantage. Or maybe someone from the white tribe will pull a Matthew Von Ertfelda and speak an Asian language.
RNO: Do you think Mark Burnett is trying to showcase diversity or just trying to score ratings? Daniel: For any TV show, ratings are all-important. Ever since All-Stars, ratings have been on a steady decline. So by showcasing diversity, ratings will most likely jump, at least for the first few episodes. After the tribes merge, hopefully there will be enough people hooked to continue watching.
RNO: Have the media blown this thing way out of proportion or are they right to point it out?
Daniel: The media is doing exactly what Mark Burnett and CBS wants them to do. Give them lots of exposure and attention. The last time Survivor got this type of controversy was the first men vs. women season. Publicity is always a good thing. Just ask Paris Hilton.
RNO: Would you be offended if the producers told you that you were only cast because of your race?
Daniel: Not at all. It's like being cast for a movie. There are parts written for a certain age, race, gender, etc. Only people who meet that criteria get to audition and are eventually cast for the part. Besides, as long as you get the part, who cares why you were cast?
RNO: Did being Chinese on an all-white tribe give you any advantages or disadvantages?
Daniel: I don't think I had a disadvantage because I am Chinese, but maybe a disadvantage because I stuck out more than anyone else. It would have been different if my tribe was a mixed gender tribe rather than an all male tribe. It's like if seven basketball players and one hockey player were in one tribe. Or, imagine a tribe of one straight male and seven gay men. Even if they were all the same race, age, etc., they will stand out among the others. Plus, falling off the balance beam multiple times during our first challenge didn't help either!
RNO: Will the current minorities in the cast have any advantages or disadvantages?
Daniel: This will be the first time ever on Survivor that the Caucasians are the minorities. They will have the disadvantage. If the tribes get a ration of rice, the Asians should have an advantage especially after they sharpen some sticks to make chopsticks.
RNO: Tell us about your upcoming movie projects!
Daniel: I have two projects in post production: Little Hercules in 3-D [This is the movie featured in his True Life episode and also on Hogan Knows Best] and Six Chairs. In Little Hercules I play Kintaro, a god from the kingdom of Babylon sent to Earth by Marduk, played by The Big Show, to defeat Hercules. In Six Chairs, I play Rocket Man, a gang leader. [His gang is featured in the photo at the top of the article] I have two martial arts fight sequences in that film, a one on one fight and a five on one fight inside a night club. I've been really playing roles that go against type, can you tell? Haha!
RNO: Thanks for your time, Daniel! Keep in touch and we’ll make sure and let your fans know when your movies come out!
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Survivor: Cook Islands articles here on RealityNewsOnline:
Mike DeGeorge is an Accountant from St. Louis and is also Associate Editor for RealityNewsOnline. You can reach Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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