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CBS explains why it's 'Hawaii Five-0" and not 'Hawaii-Five-O'

Do not accuse us of not staying on top of the big news.

Earlier today, we posted an item about a CBS press release that clarifies that its new re-make, "Hawaii Five-0," uses a zero in the title and not the letter "o."

We were confused by that because, for one thing, we are easily confused. But also because people always pronounced it "five-oh," which led to the slang term for police, "5-0."  You know, as in, "Run! 5-0 coming!"

A CBS insider explains that the clarification was necessary because of Internet searches. If people type the title wrong, then they might miss out on what CBS is doing to promote the show, say, on cbs.com or Twitter or Facebook. Variety took this seriously and analyzed you users of the Internet. In conclusion: It does make a difference. A Google search with the zero netted 263,000 results; using the letter yielded 1.7 million.

Besides, the CBS insider added, it's not the network's fault that we all insist on reading zeroes in copy as the letter "o."

"Blame society," she said. "This is really for editors and for people who want to type things correctly. I know there aren't many of them because accuracy has taken a back seat to immediacy."

This makes sense to us, but we were not willing to stop here. We put our top researcher on the case and discovered that, although most people assume that the original series titled itself after the slang term for police, that's not what happened.

Hawaii is the 50th state, and that's where the original title was born. But it's also true that it was the series that led to the creation of the police slang "5-0."

We hope we have been of service.

--Maria Elena Fernandez

Video: The opening credits for the new "Hawaii-Five-0". Credit: CBS


Pilot View: CBS' new drama, 'Hawaii Five-O"

Comments () | Archives (14)

five-oh means cops because of the Mustang 5.0 V-8 highway patrol cruisers in California the late 80s

not from Hawaii five-0

Thanks for the comment, Mr. Kee. But our research showed that it actually did come from the TV show, before the '80s.

Hawaii 5-O comes from the fact that is is a force like the police but working outside of its rules. Just like a self-c0ntained secret police. I should know. I am casting for the show.

Ya'll don't know what you are talking about. 5-0 because Hawaii is the 50th state in the union. There

Luca's right. I was on the show. I oughtta know.

Chin's right. Our research shows that the shows original title was 'Hawaii-US Territory'.

Where did you do your research?

Five-oh came into popular lexicon from urban slang and Hip Hop. And urban slang and hip hop were definitely NOT referring to Hawaii five-0, the reference was to the police cruisers with 5.0 liter engines.

This is established fact in the Hip Hop community. Several music critics and writers in the late 80s and early 90s attributed "five-oh" to Hawaii Five-oh and they were always pointed out by the Hip Hop community for their lack of knowledge on Hip Hop and Black culture because of their ignorance as to the origin of the term.

If you know otherwise, you REALLY need to provide references.

Perhaps there were other people earlier referring to police as five-oh because of Hawaii Five-0, but they were not how the term came to popular use.

I couldn't disagree more with Mr. Kee's assessment.

Hip-Hop took all its references from pop culture. Also, since it started in the '70s, it is perfectly obvious that its purveyors and practitioners took the phrase from the show, since it was still on at the time.

IMO, it is unlikely that Hip-Hopsters of the time even knew details of police vehicle engines, since, of course, the "culture" is all about image & fronting, and nothing about knowledge & achievement.

BTW, I believe the general practice of pronouncing a zero as "oh" stems from the rotary-dial telephone. Back when calling the operator was a common occurrence, it became common to hear, "Dial [oh] for the Operator."

Hey Mr. Kee, how do you explain the fact that Hawaii 5-0 came out in the early 70's, and the Mustang 5.0 hwy patrol cruisers you speak of did not come out until the late 80's by your own admission. So how did they name a show that came out in the 70's after a car engine that didn't come out until the late 80's? Maybe YOU need to provide some references.

Dweedlebalm's right. I was on the show. I oughta know. Kee's a putz.

Chin, you wind-bag...what do you know??? You don't even REMEMBER the last year of the show, you were so drunk. I got sick and tired of dragging you out of bars and propping you up against the palm trees so you could slobber your lines...Just leave Mr. Kee alone...and stay out of grown folks conversation!!!

Did you ever notice how that big wave at the opening scene looked like Steve's hair?

Mr. Kee. You are wa-a-a-a-a-y wrong. That is the most ridiculous explanation I've ever heard.

Everyone, except you, knows that the reference to five-o comes from the tv show. Where you bin?


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