Hawaii Stars: Hawaii Stars was the inspiration of former Senator Mike McCartney. In 1992, karaoke was all the rage and McCartney noticed people really enjoyed watching their friends and relatives perform on stage. Mike recalls thinking it would be great to have a television program to showcase the talent he believed was hidden away in offices, warehouses and karaoke bars. He thought the time was right for a local show that was positive and uplifting.
With Mike McCartney as Executive Producer, Carole Kai as Producer and co-host, Dirk Fukushima as director, and Kimo Kahoano as co-host, Hawaii Stars was born. Originally expected to run 13 weeks, Hawaii Stars was an instant hit! After the first season KHON moved the show to 6:30 on Sundays where Hawaii Stars continued to grow in popularity. Over the next eight years Hawaii Stars was the number one locally produced show, and consistently ranked in the top five shows on KHON.
After a two-year break, Hawaii Stars reappeared in 2003 with an updated format. Now, each weeks’ winners keep returning to the competition until they are eliminated in a combined score of judges’ votes and viewer call-in votes.
“What kept it going”, says McCartney, “is that everyday, ordinary people got their moment in time to walk through that curtain, step onto the stage and be a star. And their friends and family and community could celebrate their talent no matter how good they were.”
For many contestants, it was a life-changing experience – one that built their self-esteem, developed their character, and made them believe in themselves. They realized they could do something they never thought they could do, and it helped them move on with other things in life. Says McCartney, “Half of life is just showing up. Hawaii Stars gave people a chance to show up.”
Kimo Kahoano has been the dynamic co-host of Hawaii Stars since the beginning, in 1993. Kahoano is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools and is a man of many talents. He started his career as a fire knife dancer/singer in the popular Al Harrington show. He has been a radio personality, is a spokesperson for many products, and an actor and singer. Kimo is also the perennial co-host of the Merrie Monarch hula festival. His list of credits include: Hawaii Five-O; Magnum P.I.; Barnaby Jones; The Jeffersons; the IMAX film Behold Hawaii and the movie, Blue Crush.