"America East" is the story of Arab Americans in Los Angeles in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and is seen by Shalhoub as the right thing to do for the community.
The Los Angeles Times said Shalhoub plays a Jewish Egyptian American who opens a restaurant with his partner, a Muslim Egyptian American. Director and co-writer Hesham Issawi said Shalhoub help bankroll the development of the script and used his Emmy-winning track record to help pitch it to East Coast backers.
Shalhoub was born in Lebanon but grew up in Green Bay, Wis. He is at work on another season as the obsessive-compulsive investigator Monk.