CBC hit sitcom Kim's Convenience to unexpectedly end with Season 5

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      Canadian hit comedy Schitt’s Creek came to a bittersweet end, winning Golden Globes and sweeping the Primetime Emmys but permanently calling it a wrap with Season 6 last year.

      Now, another popular Canadian TV comedy series is about to come to a close.

      Today (March 8), the producers of Kim’s Convenience announced that the show will conclude next month after a five-season run.

      In a statement released today, the producers explained that changes behind the scenes lead to the decision to call it a wrap.

      “Authenticity of storytelling is at the center of the success of Kim’s Convenience,” they said. “At the end of production on Season 5, our two co-creators confirmed 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 series is produced by Ivan Fecan and its executive producers include Fecan and Alexandra Raffé, as well as cocreators Choi and Kevin White on behalf of Vancouver-based Thunderbird Entertainment, in association with Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company.

      The reason for the departure of Choi and White was not explained.

      In a lengthy social media thread, cast member Andrew Phung, who portrays the character of Kimchee, mentioned that cast members made attempts to save the show but that it was beyond their ability to do so.

      “Most of the cast tried everything to keep it going,” he said. “We tried our absolute best, but it became clear that it wasn’t going to happen.”

      Meanwhile, Simu Liu, who portrayed son Jung, said on social media that he is "heartbroken". He said that he was expecting to return for Season 6 and stated that they had to "prematurely bid farewell" to the show for "reasons that I'm sure we'll get into someday". He added that he felt that the cast and fans "deserved better".

      Liu will play superhero Shang-Chi in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which will be Marvel Studios’ first movie with an Asian lead and is slated to be released on July 9.

      Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (who also appeared on The Mandalorian), who portrayed Jung's father, also said he was heartbroken and sad while Jean Yoon, who plays Jung's mother, was more reserved and thanked everyone involved and fans for the past five seasons.

      The producers, who thanked the cast, writers, and crew—as well as fans for their support—called Season 5 their “finest season to date”, which had to be filmed while adapting to health measures and logistical challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

      CBC entertainment, factual, and sports general manager Sally Catto acknowledged the “powerful and inspiring connection” that the show established not only with Canadian audiences but also with viewers around the world.

      “While we are sad to say goodbye to this beloved and groundbreaking show, we are incredibly proud to have been part of its journey and understand the producers’ creative decision to wrap up the show at this time,” Catto stated.

      Kim’s Convenience, an adaptation of Ins Choi’s stage play of the same name, launched in the autumn of 2016 on CBC, and has also aired and streamed on Netflix and cable and VOD platforms around the world.

      It became Canada’s first sitcom featuring a lead Asian Canadian cast.

      The sitcom revolves arpound a Korean Canadian family who run a convenience store in Toronto, and starred Lee and Yoon as Appa and Umma (Korean for dad and mom), as well as Vancouver’s Andrea Bang as daughter Janet.

      Phung played friend and coworker Kimchee and Nicole Power portrayed Jung’s manager Shannon.

      Among the numerous nominations and awards that the show and cast received, both Lee and Phung won two best comedy acting awards at the Canadian Screen Awards, the series was named best comedy series in 2018 at the Canadian Screen Awards, and the series also won the Most Popular Foreign Drama of the Year at the Seoul Inernational Drama Awards.

      The series finale is scheduled to air at 8 p.m. April 13 on CBC TV and CBC Gem.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.