Magazine Feature / People

Alumni bring East and West together – with smiles

Like many people, Jon Niermann and Stacey (Strahs) Niermann (BSBA ’88) think the world could use a few more smiles. So they’ve decided to do something about that: create a David Letterman-style talk show that Jon will host called “Asia Uncut.”

“‘Asia Uncut’ is truly West meets East,” Niermann says. “It’s the kind of show I’ve wanted to create for the last 10 years.”

Niermann, who has lived in Asia for the last 11 years, calls the show’s format “accessible, spirited, comedic and sometimes edgy.”

“In Asia, there’s a big trend in learning English, and having a regional platform that showcases English-language entertainment is what we’re about,” he says. “Imagine a Letterman-style show done in Asia for Asia featuring international, regional and local personalities along with new musical acts and comedians, and you have our show.”

The show, filmed in Singapore, will be airing on the Star Network, which reaches more than 60 countries and 300 million viewers. Viewers in the United States can see the show at

Niermann is president of Electronic Arts Asia — which publishes software for video game systems, personal computers, cellular handsets and the Internet.

He is also creating content for film, TV, music and live performances and the Internet with West Meets East Productions, the company he and wife started last year to produce “Asia Uncut.”

The pilot show featuring singer James Blunt along with local guests earned rave reviews by the networks. The show began tapings in October 2008 and included actor Brendan Fraser, former basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and rock band Mötley Crüe as guests.

“I believe the show will do well. Good entertainment transcends cultures and borders,” Stacey says. “Also, this show format is new and fresh in Asia. It’s the only English-language regional nighttime talk show, so the competition is just right.”

“Asia Uncut” has completed its first season and is the No.1 talk show on its network, beating Jimmy Kimmel Live and Ellen. The show will expand to include studios in Shanghai and Hong Kong next year.

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