Network: CBC Television Network
Broadcast Run: 2016 to 2021
Broadcast Medium: Television
On March 4th 2015, the CBC announced that they had committed to Thunderbird Films and Soulpepper Theatre for the production of a series of thirteen half-hour comedies adapted from the award-wining play Kim’s Convenience, co written by Ins Choi and Kevin White. The story featured a fiery patriarch struggling with changes within his family, business and their community of Regent Park in Toronto.
Titled Kim’s Convenience, the project was a half-hour television series that told the story of The Kims, a Korean-Canadian family, running a convenience store in downtown Toronto. Mr. and Mrs. Kim (‘Appa’ and ‘Umma’) immigrated to Toronto in the 80’s to set up shop near Regent Park and had two kids, Jung and Janet, who were now young adults. However, when Jung was 16, he and Appa had a major falling out involving a physical fight, stolen money and Jung leaving home. Father and son had been estranged ever since.
Appa and Umma ran the store along with Janet who was studying photography at art school. Meanwhile Jung, who secretly stayed in contact with Umma and Janet, was trying to turn his life around and landed a job at a car rental agency. The world of Kim’s Convenience was real, colourful and urban – a diverse landscape of people and places and at the heart is the Kim family and their store. While the family continued to work and live, finding humour in the everyday tasks of running the store, they long for the day when the rift between Appa and Jung is mended and the family is whole once again.
The series starred Paul Sun-Hyung Lee as Appa, Jean Yoon as Umma, Simu Liu as Jung, Andrea Bang as Janet, and Andrew Phung as Kimchee. Kim’s Convenience was based on the award-winning play by Ins Choi, who also adapted it for television. Kevin White served as showrunner, and co-created the series with Choi, who both held executive producer credits along with Ivan Fecan and Albert Schultz.
Kim’s Convenience was scheduled to debut on Tuesday October 4th 2016 at 9 pm, but when the Toronto Blue Jays made it to the wild card game in the baseball playoffs on that date, the debut was delayed to October 11th, when two episodes were played. The series returned in 2017 and 2018, and on March 25th 2019 the CBC announced that a fourth season of 13 30-minute episodes had been ordered. On May 27th 2020 it was announced that the series had been renewed for a fifth and a sixth season.
However, in March 2021 the producers annouinced that the current (5th) season would be the last for the series on CBC, The show’s producers said in a statement that co-creators Ins Choi and Kevin White confirmed to them that they were moving on to other projects. “Given their departure from the series, we have come to the difficult conclusion that we cannot deliver another season of the same heart and quality that has made the show so special,” the producers said.
It was later reported that Andrew Phung had co-created and would soon be starring in a new comedy series for the CBC, to be titled Run the Burbs.