Nahnatchka Khan

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Nahnatchka Khan
An woman with glasses is holding a microphone.
Khan at the San Francisco Public Library in 2019
Born (1973-06-17) June 17, 1973 (age 47)
  • Writer
  • Director
Years active1997–present

Nahnatchka Khan (born June 17, 1973) is an American television writer and producer. Khan created and executive produced the ABC comedy series Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 (2012–2013) and Fresh Off the Boat (2015–2020). She also directed the 2019 Netflix film Always Be My Maybe.

Early life[edit]

Khan's parents immigrated to the United States from Iran.[1] She was born in Las Vegas and grew up in Hawaii.[2][3] She attended the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts.[3] While in college, she interned at National Lampoon and Fox.[4]


Khan started her writing career on 20th Century Fox's Malcolm in the Middle.[5] She also worked for Disney Television Animation, including Disney's 1990s animated sitcom, Pepper Ann, the division's first series created by a woman.[6] According to Khan, Pepper Ann's "Sue Rose wanted to do this show about this 12-year-old girl raised by a single mom and who had this really active fantasy life," something that had not been done before.[3] Khan also worked on American Dad! and on the children's series Unfabulous.[7]

In 2012, Khan created the ABC comedy series Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23. The series debuted on April 11, 2012 and ran for two seasons until January 15, 2013.[8][9]

In 2015, Khan created the TV show Fresh Off the Boat which also aired on ABC. The show was lauded for being "the first network sitcom to feature an Asian family since 1994’s All-American Girl."[10] Khan was honored for her contributions to the Asian Pacific American community, specifically through this show, by East West Players during their 50th Anniversary Visionary Awards Dinner & Silent Auction.[11] The series ran for six seasons and concluded on February 21, 2020.

In 2016, Khan signed a multiyear deal to create, write, develop, and supervise projects for Twentieth Century Fox, under her company, Fierce Baby Productions.[5] As of 2013, she had a television pilot in development titled Fatrick, slated to star Zach Cregger, with Fox.[12]

In 2018, it was announced that Khan would make her directorial debut with Always Be My Maybe which was released on Netflix in May 2019.[13][14][15]


As an Iranian-American, Khan remembered growing up with few representations of herself on television. "There was really no representation of any Middle Eastern culture, so [for me and my brother] growing up, our hero was Iron Sheik—a character in WWF wrestling…. He was from Iran, and he was always the underdog to, like, Hulk Hogan. Everybody was booing, but we were super cheering for him!"[3] Like many women in the television industry, Khan reported feeling "pigeon-holed" as a writer. "I was the only woman in the room a lot of times, so I felt like people looked at me for the wife joke or the daughter joke," she said. "For me it was just the female voice."[16][17]

From the beginning of her career, Khan has created diverse images that work to subvert television stereotypes. She is best known for creating the ABC sitcoms Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23[18] and Fresh Off the Boat. Fresh Off the Boat, based on restaurateur Eddie Huang's memoir, made television history by centering the experiences of a Taiwanese-American family in Florida.[19] One critic commented on its additional significance that, "It was the first show to feature an Asian American cast since All American Girl in 1994.[3] In at least one show, Asian-Americans would not be desexualized, hypersexualized, caricatured or stereotyped."[20]

A lesbian herself, Khan routinely features queer themes in Fresh Off the Boat: Eddie's mom, Jessica (Constance Wu), regularly visits the local lesbian bar, The Denim Turtle. Eddie's former love interest, Nicole, struggles to come out to her father and family.[21]



Year Title Notes
2019 Always Be My Maybe Director


Year Title Director Writer Executive producer Producer Network Episode
1997 Recess No Yes No No Buena Vista Television Episode: "To Finster, with Love"
1997–2000 Pepper Ann No Yes Yes Yes ABC Writer (9 episodes)
Co-producer (3 episodes)
Executive procuder (3 episodes)
2001 Undergrads No Yes No No MTV Writer (2 episodes)
2002–2003 Malcolm in the Middle No staff No No Fox Staff writer (3 episodes)
Writer: "If Boys Were Girls"
2003 What I Like About You No Yes No No The WB
2003–2004 Good Morning, Miami No Yes No No NBC
2003–2005 What's New, Scooby-Doo? No Yes No No Kids' WB Writer (2 episodes)
2004–2007 Unfabulous No Yes No consulting Nickelodeon
2005–2011 American Dad! No Yes Yes Yes Fox Producer (24 episodes)
Supervising producer (21 episodes)
Co-executive producer (44 episodes)
Executive producer (21 episodes)
Writer (10 episodes)
2012–2013 Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 Yes Yes Yes No ABC
2015–2020 Fresh Off the Boat Yes Yes Yes No
2021 Young Rock No Yes Yes No NBC
TBA Untitled Krysten Ritter project No Yes Yes No TBA

Personal life[edit]

Khan's brother is an agent at Creative Artists Agency.[4]


  1. ^ Kelly Chung Dawson (August 16, 2013). "ABC-TV may air Chinese-American sitcom". China Daily.
  2. ^ Rosen, Lisa (January 2012). "The Bitch Comes Back: Nahnatchka Khan's Trust Issues". Written By.
  3. ^ a b c d e Rahman, Ray. "'Fresh Off the Boat' Executive Producer Talks Comedy Writing". Retrieved 2018-03-10.
  4. ^ a b Robbins, Stephanie (October 22, 2012). "She's No B---- When It Comes to Comedy". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved March 27, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b Schwindt, Oriana (2016-07-28). "'Fresh Off the Boat' Showrunner Nahnatchka Khan Sets Pod Deal at 20th Century Fox TV". Variety. Retrieved 2018-03-10. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Radish, Christina (April 24, 2012). "Producers Nahnatchka Khan and David Hemingson Talk: Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23". Collider.
  7. ^ "Interview: "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23" Executive Producers Nahnatchka Khan & David Hemingson". The Futon Critic. April 11, 2012. Retrieved November 1, 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) From the creative mind of Nahnatchka Kahn ("American Dad") comes a 21st Century 'Odd Couple' where despite their differences, two roommates will end up living together, get involved in each other's lives and, perhaps, form a friendship
  8. ^ Morabito, Andrea (January 10, 2012). "TCA: 'Scandal,' 'Apt. 23' to Get ABC's Top Lead-Ins". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved August 29, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Shows A-Z – don't trust the bitch in apartment 23 on abc". The Futon Critic. Retrieved February 1, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "Rocking the Boat". Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  11. ^ Wood, Ximón. "Visionary Award Honoree: Nahnatchka Khan". East West Players. Retrieved 2019-07-25.
  12. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (2013-11-06). "Nahnatchka Khan, Nat Faxon & Jim Rash's Comedy 'Fatrick' Gets Pilot Order At Fox". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-03-10.
  13. ^ Kit, Borys (March 23, 2018). "'Fresh Off the Boat' Creator Nahnatchka Khan to Make Feature Directorial Debut With Netflix Comedy". Retrieved May 31, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (May 30, 2018). "Keanu Reeves, Daniel Dae Kim Board Ali Wong/Randall Park Netflix Comedy 'Always Be My Maybe'". Retrieved May 31, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ Han, Karen (May 31, 2019). "'Ali Wong, Randall Park, and even Keanu Reeves make Always Be My Maybe simple blis". Retrieved May 31, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ "'Fresh Off the Boat' Showrunner Nahnatchka Khan Talks Being the "Only Woman In the Room"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-03-10.
  17. ^ "Interview: Nahnatchka Khan on Fresh Off the Boat". New York Times. Feb 2, 2016. Retrieved Oct 1, 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  18. ^ "'Apt 23' Producers on Sex, Drugs and James Van Der Beek". Hollywood Reporter. 2011-11-17. Retrieved 2012-05-05. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 7, 2014). "Constance Wu, Randall Park Join 'Fresh Off The Boat'; Windell Middlebrooks In 'Mason Twins'". Deadline.
  20. ^ Rao, Sameer (2016-10-11). "How 'Fresh Off The Boat' Executive Producer Melvin Mar Helped Change Hollywood Behind the Scenes". Colorlines. Retrieved 2018-03-10.
  21. ^ "Nicole Struggles To Come Out To Her Father Tonight On "Fresh Off The Boat"". LOGO News. Retrieved 2018-03-10.

External links[edit]