HONOLULU – Yesterday Kahu Kordell Kekoa presided over a blessing in a Waimānalo neighborhood to mark the first day of filming for the Disney+ original series, Doogie Kameāloha, M.D., a reboot of the beloved 90s dramedy Doogie Howser M.D. The new Doogie series will star Peyton Elizabeth Lee as Lahela “Doogie” Kameāloha, the teenage child prodigy doctor; Jason Scott Lee as Benny Kameāloha, her Hawaiian father; and Kathleen Rose Perkins, as Dr. Clara Hannon, the Doogie character’s spit-fire Irish mother who is an M.D.as well and chief of staff at the fictional hospital which is using the University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center facilities on the Kaka‘ako campus adjacent to the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM).
“We’re so pleased that the University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center and its team are working on this series, showcasing how collaboration of community and production can work together to the benefit of economic recovery, while creating a medical series which will deliver a new perspective for viewers that embraces our island home,” said Mike McCartney, DBEDT director. McCartney added that he is “very proud that this new television series will add to the resiliency of our state’s economy while sharing our aloha spirit with the world.”
Hawai‘i State Film Commissioner Donne Dawson added that “the excitement has been building for the Doogie Kameāloha, M.D series. We are so thrilled that the show’s creator and writer, Hawai‘i born Kourtney Kang, is using her love of Hawai‘i, its culture and its people to create a powerful and humorous Hawaiian-infused story with talented multi-cultural characters and a strong female lead.” The Benny Kameāloha character in the show gives up a financial career on the continent to simplify his life and to spend more time at home in the Islands with his three kids. “Jason himself is a father of three and I’m sure will bring his own uniquely local style to the role,” Dawson said.
The number of shows in production at the same time in Hawai‘i has not happened since 2004. Doogie Kameāloha, M.D. is joined by two other major television shows on O‘ahu, one on Maui and one on Hawai‘i Island. This points to the benefits of Hawaii’s COVID19 protocols which has made Hawai‘i, as a filming destination, one of the safest in the world.
More film productions are heading to the islands due to the labor union and studios adoption of the extensive protocols required to become a COVID-19 safe location. Health experts and industry across the U.S. created ‘The Safe Way Forward’ preliminary plan which was ratified by all parties late summer of 2020, setting a ‘gold standard in COVID-19 testing and safe working protocols to keep film productions safe in their work environment.