November 10, 2021

Kourtney Kang on Television Writing, and Creating Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. for Disney Plus

Kourtney Kang is a writer, producer, and the creator/showrunner of the new hit Disney+ show Doogie Kamealoha, M.D., a reimagining of the beloved 90s show, Doogie Howser, M.D. Kourtney was also an executive producer on How I Met Your Mother, co-executive producer of Fresh Off the Boat, and supervising producer of Netflix’s Pretty Smart.

What you will learn:

  • ​​How Kourtney became the creator and showrunner of Doogie Kamealoha, M.D., and how she and her writing team were able to thoughtfully and cleverly incorporate references to the original Doogie Howser, M.D. into the reboot. How setting and shooting the show in Hawaii allowed Kourtney to accurately represent Hawaiian culture and also hire local Hawaii residents to staff various departments on set. [0:00-7:35]
  • How Kourtney managed to put such a personal touch on a show produced by such a huge network like Disney, which included basing the show’s characters on her own family and basing the themes on her own experiences. How she was able to strike a balance between finding a personal spin on material for the show and hooking studio executives with the idea of a reboot. [7:35-15:11]
  • The logistics of working in the writers room of Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. in the middle of a global pandemic, the importance of “story breaking,” and the benefits of having a diverse group of writers on a show depicting Asian and Hawaiian characters of all ages. [15:11-23:23]
  • What it was like shooting on location in Oahu, and how her team was able to create a fabulous, elaborate set at a real medical center for Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. How the late Steven Bochco’s family became involved in the show. How working on a network show, with rigid time constraints, differs from working a show available on demand through a streaming service like Disney +, financially, logistically, and artistically. [23:23-34:39]
  • How her formal education at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon were formative experiences in her career as a writer. How the many twists and turns in her writing and producing career brought her to a place where she is thriving artistically and collaboratively. [34:39-42:57]
  • How the writers room work culture has changed over the last two decades, especially with more women becoming showrunners and holding positions of authority in Hollywood. Why showrunners are focusing more now on efficiency over putting in long hours. Finally, Kourtney talks about the possibility of Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. getting picked up for a second season, and why it’s more difficult today than it was 10 years ago to measure the success of a show on streaming services like Netflix or Disney+. [42:47-51:19]


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