Khan at the San Francisco Public Library in 2019
Nahnatchka Khan (born June 17, 1973) is an American television writer and producer. She attended the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts. Khan's parents immigrated to the US from Iran. She was born in Las Vegas and grew up in Hawaii.
Khan was the creator and executive producer of Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, which aired on ABC for two seasons from April 11, 2012 to January 15, 2013. She created and is currently a producer of ABC's Fresh Off the Boat.
Khan started her writing career on 20th Century Fox's Malcolm in the Middle. She also worked for Disney Television Animation, including Disney's 1990s animated sitcom, Pepper Ann, the division's first series created by a woman. 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. Khan also worked on American Dad! and on the children's series Unfabulous.
In 2015, Khan created the TV show Fresh Off the Boat which aired on ABC. The show was lauded for being "the first network sitcom to feature an Asian family since 1994’s All-American Girl." 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.
In 2016, Khan signed a multiyear deal to create, write, develop, and supervise projects for Twentieth Century Fox, under her company, Fierce Baby Productions.
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!" 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."
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 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. 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. In at least one show, Asian-Americans would not be desexualized, hypersexualized, caricatured or stereotyped." 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 love interest, Nicole, struggles to come out to her father and family.
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- "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. 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
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