From the Washington Post:
Along with men in fedoras and 1930s cars, the costume drama “Grassroots King” has a feature that nearly every Chinese TV show seems to require these days – a Western character.
Kerry Brogan, an actress from Newton, Massachusetts, who plays the lead character’s British girlfriend, is one of dozens of foreign performers on Chinese TV, recruited to appeal to increasingly worldly audiences.
“Our audiences are no longer satisfied to watch foreign characters played by Chinese in a wig,” said Yan Hao, a producer of “Feng Yu,” a TV spy thriller whose cast includes three Western actors.
Producers who used to hire exchange students and other foreign amateurs to supply a dash of non-speaking exotic color to TV shows now put out casting calls as far afield as the United States and Europe for professionals. They appear in productions ranging from war stories to romances and some host TV variety shows.