Tag: greys anatomy

Grey’s Anatomy : what if Shonda Rhimes creates another spin-off? Here are 5 ideas!

GREY'S ANATOMY - ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" stars Kevin McKidd as Owen Hunt, Justin Chambers as Alex Karev, Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey, Gaius Charles as Shane Ross, Tessa Ferrer as Leah Murphy, Jessica Capshaw as Arizona Robbins, Sandra Oh as Cristina Yang, Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey, Patrick Dempsey as Derek Shepherd, Sara Ramirez as Callie Torres, Jerrika Hinton as Stephanie Edwards, Camilla Luddington as Jo Wilson, Sarah Drew as April Kepner, Jesse Williams as Jackson Avery and James Pickens, Jr. as Richard Webber. (Photo by Bob D'Amico/ABC via Getty Images)

While ABC is having a hard time finding new drama series that stick, Grey’s Anatomy is still a ratings monster on Thursday in season 13 (!!!) with more than 8 million fans watching the show live, adding another 4 millions in the 7 days that follow. Of course, the show will get a 14th season renewal. But isn’t it the right time and the last chance for ABC to order a new spin-off? That’s probably something the network dreams about for years -since Private Practice run has ended- while Shonda Rhimes is rightfully resisting the urge. She now has 5 shows on the air (Grey’s, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, The Catch and midseason entry which has yet to be renamed Still Star-Crossed) and a handful of new projects for next season. But what if they do it? What spin-off should they go for? Here are 5 ideas. Feel free to discuss them and add yours!

 

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  1. Callie’s Anatomy

Since Sara Ramirez departed the show in the end of season 12, she cut her hair and came out as bisexual, juste like our beloved Callie. Wouldn’t it be great to follow Callie’s professional and sexual adventures in New York? She could dump Penny quickly and make love to Sofia’s lesbian babysitter! It’s just an idea. We want her to go rock’n’ roll. She would met new colleagues there, new friends, in a little clinic, not a huge hospital, maybe in a poor neighborhood to deal with different issues than in Grey’s and Private. It’d be one of the rare TV shows with a bisexual lead (The 100 and what else?) and one of the rare drama with an hispanic lead (Shades of Blue and ?). Make it happen, ABC!

 

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2. Call Me Izzie

Well, Izzie… Every year, everyone thinks there’s a storyline that might be finaly introducing Katherine Heigl’s long awaited comeback but it never happens. And this year is no exception with Alex and Jo separating. As much as we know, there is no such plan, especially since Rhimes & Heigl are still at odds. But we’re allowed to dream a little. Izzie coming back in Seattle for a few episodes and then leading her own show would certainly be a ratings success if things are done the right way. But Heigl has her new series Doubt (from ex Grey’s Anatomy producers) coming next year on CBS, which rules it out completely, at least for 2017. Too bad.

 

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3. Warriors

It seems like nobody’s missing Kim Raver’s Teddy. It was a nice player though, a really interesting character that departed too soon. It’s certainly too late now to re-introduce her in the show, but a few years back they totally should have given her her own spin-off. It would have been centered on her mourning trip to a war zone where she would have led a team of courageous doctors saving lives in dangerous situations. And sleeping with each others of course. ABC developped similar ideas a few times the past years but without Shonda involved. Maybe they should re-think the idea, with her this time…

 

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4. Grey’s Anatomy: the Young Years

Remember this season 6 episode where we flashbacked to the hospital in the 80s when Ellis Grey, Meredith’s mother, and Richard met and fell in love during the AIDS years? It was a damn good one. And the great Sarah Paulson was in it. It was before she became Ryan Murphy’s best friend. Making a whole show about this period of time would be risky, especially since we already know how the couple ended up in life and since period dramas tend to flop on networks, but at least it would have been interesting and kind of new.

 

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5. Grey’s Kindergaten

Okay, this one is very unlikely, but I like it. Have you ever asked yourself what happens for our doctors’ kids when they are all together in the Sloan-Grey Memorial’s kindergaten? That show would be a workplace comedy following the nurses that take care of them. Occasionally, one of Grey‘s stars would make a guest appearance.

 

And yes, a show about Cristina in Switzerland would make sense too, but I feel like everything has been said and done about her. It wouldn’t be a good idea and we need Sandra Oh in something new!

How to fix ABC in 5 easy steps [My Take]

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As you probably all know by now, ABC is in trouble with two of their new shows, Notorious & Conviction, not surprisingly starting poorly, with no hope for potential recoveries over the next few weeks. They can’t even count on a good word of mouth: they were not well-liked by both critics and curious viewers. The question now is whether the network will let them stay on the schedule until the remainder of their initial order (which consists of 13 episodes), trim it to 10 or even less, or cancel them altogether with an immediate effect. Since ABC didn’t order that many new shows for the entire season overall, they will probably stick with them through the fall, at least.

Not everything is this dark for ABC though: Kiefer Sutherland-starrer Designated Survivor looks like a hit with very decent live numbers and huge DVR; and comedy Speechless fits perfectly with the ABC Funny line-up alongside The Goldbergs & Modern Family. American Housewife has yet to start but stuck between The Middle & Fresh Off The Boat, it’s expected to make decent numbers.

While making too many changes too soon is never a good idea, ABC has to make some anyway so they can stay competitive before starting anew next season, with the first shows developed by the new regime. And by the look of things, Channing Dungey shouldn’t rely too much on procedurals: that’s simply not ABC’s brand, even if they’re more profitable when they actually work.

 

1/ MOVE “HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” RIGHT AFTER “GREY’S ANATOMY”

Unless ABC can start the 6th season of Scandal sooner than expected -I doubt it because of Kerry Washington’s pregnancy- they can’t let their best drama lead-in –Grey’s Anatomy– go to waste (Notorious). Since HTGAWM has a hard time at 10 with its live numbers -the +3 & +7 are still potent- it wouldn’t hurt to move it to 9 where it can do a little bit better. The more they wait, the less the move will be effective. They can put Notorious at 10 or…

 

2/ FINALLY SAVE QUANTICO !

Is it too late so save the L+7 blockbuster? Probably. At least, the show helps keeping the lights on at 10 on sundays, where anything new would crash and burn. And that’s probably why they decided to keep it that way this season. BUT as numbers suggest, Quantico is not dead. Not yet. And it’s still an asset for the network. Giving it a push at 10 on thursdays, which was not possible when the TGIT was still a thing, is now very much possible. It probably won’t rise that much, but any rise is good to take, even for a few weeks! Justice for Quantico!

 

3/ PAIR THE BACHELOR WITH STILL STAR-CROSSED

They’d make a perfect march, wouldn’t they? Of course, ABC will be tempted to launch the Shondaland’s Romeo & Juliet soap on their TGIT night come spring, but it certainly would be a better fit with The Bachelor, which is now, by the way, a better lead-in than Dancing With The Stars on the demo. They could also put it on sundays after Once Upon A Time, and it’d be fine but not ideal. If ABC wants a try at another hit this season, they know what to do…

 

4/ GIVE A REAL CHANCE TO TIME AFTER TIME

Don’t make the same mistake you did with Forever, ABC. There are still very angry fans out there, and we can’t really blame them. What you did with Forever made sense somehow but you could have handled things better and give it a push. Give Time After Time -which is not that different tonally- a real chance to shine and find its audience, even though it’s not produced in-house but by Warner Bros. once again. And what does it mean precisely? Don’t hide it somewhere at 10. Don’t put it after Dancing With The Stars for example. It wouldn’t be a good fit. Don’t waste it on fridays. But you’re not FOX, I guess you would never do that, right? So what? Yes, it’s a difficult timeslot but sundays at 9 seems to be the best option. Once Upon A Time is not a good lead-in anymore, but at least Time After Time is compatible with it. Doing the same numbers or slightly better would be a victory of some sort.

 

5/ GIVE A PRESTIGE FEEL TO YOUR SUNDAYS

Meaning doing this (either during the winter hiatus -if there’s one- or this spring)…

8- IMAGINARY MARY / DOWNWARD DOG

9- AMERICAN CRIME

10- WHEN WE RISE

I know most of you will call me crazy but it’s all about changing the narrative! Let me explain. Can we agree that ABC is dead on sunday for multiple reasons (football on NBC, no sports before 8 to support the night like this is the case on CBS, The Walking Dead on AMC… and of course shows which are not Desperate Housewives)? Yes we can. What if ABC self-proclaimed sunday night as their “prestige night” by scheduling there the shows that critics give much praise to but viewers don’t massively go to? The only “veteran” American Crime could be put at the center, at 9. Right before that, they have two midseason comedies waiting in the wings with a real cable feel: Imaginary Mary & Downward Dog. Make it a combo. And put When We Rise, a period drama about the LGBT movement, at 10. ABC could use the Oscars to promote the four of them heavily for a March launch. Of course, the numbers won’t be impressive but at least ABC could proudly turn a bad night into a prestige night where numbers don’t matter that much.

 

What’s your opinion? Feel free to comment!

ABC 2016/2017 Schedule / TRAILERS & THOUGHTS

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MONDAYS

8- DANCING WITH THE STARS

9- DANCING WITH THE STARS

10- CONVICTION

TUESDAYS

8- THE MIDDLE / AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE

9- FRESH OFF THE BOAT / THE REAL O’NEALS

10- AGENTS OF SHIELD

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WESNESDAYS

8- THE GOLDBERGS / SPEECHLESS

9- MODERN FAMILY / BLACKISH

10- DESIGNATED SURVIVOR

 


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THURSDAYS

8- GREY’S ANATOMY

9- NOTORIOUS

10- HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER


FRIDAYS

8- LAST MAN STANDING / DR KEN

9- THE SHARK TANK

10- 20/20

 

SUNDAYS

8- ONCE UPON A TIME

9- SECRETS & LIES (Midseason TIME AFTER TIME)

10- QUANTICO

 

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MIDSEASON

TIME AFTER TIME

STILL STAR-CROSSED

SCANDAL

AMERICAN CRIME

WHEN WE RISE (february 2017)

THE CATCH

DOWNARD DOG

IMAGINARY MARY





THOUGHTS

What’s good:

  • EVERYTHING is right where it should be. It’s almost exactly the fantasy schedule I made and explained (HERE). So yeah, I’m very happy with this smart and solid plan.

What’s bad:

  • Nothing. Except the fact that The Real O’Neals could have gotten a better timeslot in order to improve. It’ll be more complicated at 9.30.

ABC | 2016/2017 – Fantasy Schedule

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Those are predictions based on feelings and ABC final schedule may end up very differently! It will be announced on Tuesday. Stay tuned and until then, enjoy the read!

Dramas renewed: GREY’S ANATOMY | ONCE UPON A TIME | SCANDAL | AGENTS OF SHIELD | HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER | AMERICAN CRIME | SECRETS & LIES | QUANTICO | THE CATCH

New dramas ordered: DESIGNATED SURVIVOR | WHEN WE RISE | CONVICTION | NOTORIOUS | TIME AFTER TIME | STILL STAR-CROSSED

Comedies renewed: MODERN FAMILY | THE MIDDLE | LAST MAN STANDING | THE GOLDBERGS | BLACKISH | FRESH OFF THE BOAT | THE REAL O’NEALS | DR KEN

New comedies ordered: SPEECHLESS | DOWNWARD DOG | THE SECOND HOUSEWIFE IN WESTPORT | IMAGINARY MARY

 

ABC new president Channing Dungey didn’t prove to be very greedy (or satisfied?) in the drama department for her first pilot season with only 4 pilots getting picked-up + straight-to-series Designated Survivor. Which is even more surprising when you take into account the fact that both veterans Castle & Nashville have been cancelled. Last year, they ordered six new dramas. On the comedy side, they’re even with 4 orders, meaning a new hour of comedies could be added in the schedule. It will be an important year for ABC after the 2015/2016 disaster but let’s be realistic: it will take time before things look good again. Will the new schedule be conservative or a bit more ambitious with unexpected moves? There’s a lot of opportunities, especially with Scandal not coming back in the fall –apparently– which could lead towards a revamped TGIT. Here are my predictions.

 

MONDAYS

DANCING WITH THE STARS

DANCING WITH THE STARS

CONVICTION

Dancing With The Stars is not the hit it once was but stays very relevant on mondays against The Voice. There’s no reason to change that. The interesting thing though is that The Bachelor is stronger now in the demo when it takes over the slot between two editions. It’s one of their strongest lead-in, actually. During 8 years, only Castle aired at 10pm. Now that it’s gone, there are two options: launching a new drama or moving an older show and giving it a boost. Procedural Conviction looks like the safer bet. BUT airing Secrets & Lies season 2 then lauching something new behind The Bachelor is a convicing idea too. And what about The Catch? ABC renewed it against all odds, and with its older-skewing, a spot after DTWS would make sense. That’s a tough one. I’ll go with Conviction anyway.

 

TUESDAYS

THE MIDDLE / THE REAL O’NEALS

FRESH OFF THE BOAT / SECOND FATTEST

AGENTS OF SHIELD

Comedies are among ABC’s strongest assets right now: it’s time to finally expand to 2 hours on Tuesdays. But adding two new shows at 9 is not the best way to go. Weakened on wednesdays but still potent The Middle could move at 8 to anchor the night, followed by a compatible comedy that needs a boost: recent entry The Real O’Neals. At 9, Fresh Off The Boat can take the lead, followed by a new show, preferably Second Fattest Housewife in Wesport. At 10, Agents of SHIELD can die peacefully. ABC could also dump it to sundays but I don’t see it happening yet, sadly.

 

WEDNESDAYS

THE GOLDBERGS / SPEECHLESS

MODERN FAMILY / BLACKISH

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR

The Goldbergs is strong enough to anchor the wednesdays comedy block and help launching a new show. Speechless is the best contender for that, it’s very compatible, totally on-brand and it has potential for a long run. Modern Family & Blackish can stay together. I have the feeling Blackish could totally collapse in another timeslot. At 10, it’s go big or go home now that Nashville is gone for good. Some may argue it’s a waste not using Designated Survivor for a 9pm slot but quite frankly, as good as it looks, I’m not sure it’s such a good fit with ABC’s lineup. That timeslot is less risky. If the numbers are good, the affiliates will be happy –which is important– and ABC can give it a better exposition for season 2.

 

THURSDAYS – TGIT

GREY’S ANATOMY

NOTORIOUS

HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER

What ABC will do with the TGIT is unpredictable, due to Kerry Washington’s pregnancy. It has not been confirmed that Scandal will air on midseason but it’s talked about and at this point it’s a safe bet. It opens many doors and it’s hard to tell which one ABC will choose. Designated Survivor is a debatable possibility. It would make sense if they want to make noise BUT very dangerous. Too dangerous in my opinion. It’s not a good fit at all with Grey’s Anatomy. Thursday should remain female-oriented. It makes Conviction tempting and it would be an interesting pair, but Notorious is definitely the most logical option. It should satisfy Scandal fans AND give a boost to How To Get Away With Murder if it works. Scandal could take over when the Viola Davis-starrer ends or sooner if Notorious flops.

FRIDAYS

LAST MAN STANDING / DR KEN

THE SHARK TANK

20/20

Why fixing something that doesn’t need to be fixed?

 

SUNDAYS

ONCE UPON A TIME

SECRETS & LIES

QUANTICO

Sunday is another big question mark. Once Upon A Time is not strong anymore but moving it would only make it worse. Delayed Secrets & Lies should finally air at 9, where season 1 managed to get okay numbers. Once it’s gone –it’s only 10 episodes– ABC has Still Star-Crossed & Time After Time as possibilities I would go with the first one. I have no idea what they can do with Time After Time but it needs to be taken care of properly, it has a big potential. At 10, I’m sad to tell that Quantico should stay here. ABC wasted it there for the first season, and it’s too late now to move it to another night. New viewers won’t jump on the occasion and those who are used to watch the show in +3 or +7 will probaby keep doing the same, if they don’t give up on it. It makes me sad but that’s the way it is.

 

MIDSEASON

SCANDAL / THE CATCH / STILL STAR-CROSSED / TIME AFTER TIME / AMERICAN CRIME / WHEN WE RISE / DOWNWARD DOG / IMAGINARY MARY

 

Any thoughts? Feel free to comment.

 

SEE FOX 2016/2017 FANTASY SCHEDULE

SEE NBC 2016/2017 FANTASY SCHEDULE

UPDATE: Why the f**k “Quantico” is at 10pm on Sundays? Here are some theories

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UPDATE: Now we have two weeks of ratings DATA, it’s time to say it LOUD and CLEAR. Quantico is on the verge of success and ABC has to do something to make sure it happens. And there’s only one way to do that now: moving the show into a more fitting timeslot. First, here’s a reminder.

  • First airing of Quantico‘s pilot had 7,1 million viewers and a 1.9 (18/49) at 10pm. It was a rare 0.5 improvement from its lead-in, Blood and oil series premiere (6,4 millions, 1.4).
  • ABC re-aired the pilot the following Tuesday, again at 10 after Agents of SHIELD. It gained 4,2 millions, 1.0. Which is quite good for a repeat.
  • On L+3, the pilot added a strong 4 million viewers, the biggest percentage gain among all programs -new and returning- during premiere week: 56%!
  • Quantico‘s episode 2 had 6,9 million viewers, matching the previous 1.9 number. No loss on a second week almost never happens (especially with a weaker lead-in: Blood and Oil scores a 1.2). It’s a very good sign for the show and ABC shouldn’t wait long to order a back-nine.

So now, what ABC should do? In fact, it’s a matter of save the newbie or save Sunday nights! If Quantico stays on Sundays at 10, it will probably go down sooner or later, especially if Blood and oil keeps on falling. If they switch them, Quantico will have to face a higher competition (including ratings juggernaut The Walking Dead). If ABC moves it to another night, then Sunday night is DEAD! Once Upon A Time is dying slowly (but will certainly have its 6th and maybe last season) and Blood and oil will be cancelled. Can ABC afford to wait midseason for launching new shows like The Family and Kings and Prophets or returning Secrets & Lies and American Crime?

Here are the solutions:

  • Switching Quantico & Blood and oil‘s timeslots
  • Switching Quantico & Nashville‘s timeslots (wednesday at 10). It will have to face Code Black & Chicago PD.
  • Putting Quantico on Tuesday at 10, moving Wicked City to midseason. But it will have to face Limitless & Chicago Fire.
  • Keeping it on Sunday at 10 and giving it a better lead-in ASAP.

What’s your opinion?

 

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First published september 11th

 

During the upfronts last may, the scheduling of Quantico came as a surprise. What seemed to be ABC’s biggest asset for fall, apart from The Muppets on the comedy side, was meant to be wasted in the uneventful -and even death slot- Tuesday at 10, right after Agents of SHIELD, replacing very modest Forever. But a few weeks later, ABC decided to move Quantico to Sundays at 10 (mostly because the spot was vacant when they decided to rework Kings And Prophets heavily – and pairing Kings with Blood and Oil made no sense). It looked like a better option but certainly not the best one they could have come up with. So, what happened? Does ABC really have faith in Quantico to throw it to the wolves this way? I scratched my head all summer long and here are the theories that might explain this weird and dangerous choice.

 

Theory #1 – Agents of DEATH

The most logical choice was to put the show right after The Muppets and Fresh Off The Boat, on Tuesdays at 9, and move Agents of SHIELD at 10. But Marvel was certainly not OK with it. The show needs at least 4 seasons for syndication purposes and moving it later in the evening was sending it to a quicker death. ABC would not have been allowed to do that. Marvel business remains a priority for Disney (as the order for a second season as a second chance for Agent Carter proves it too).

Theory #2 – Quantico’s Anatomy

Quantico looks like a Shonda Rhimes show but IS NOT a Shondaland-produced show. If it were they probably would have treated it better. Maybe they would have waited midseason to launch it after Scandal inside #TGIT when How To Get Away With Murder sophomore season had come to an end but they already had Shondaland’s The Catch to do that. And let’s not forget Grey’s Anatomy started on Sundays at 10. Quantico shares some DNA with it. So… Yeah but Desperate Housewives was the lead-in at the time and it was at its peak. It’s a very different story now…

Theory #3 – Blood and whaaat?!

Now, Quantico‘s lead-in is another newcomer: Blood and oil. And it’s the weakest drama entry of the season for ABC, in my opinion. So what was their thinking? It’s pretty obvious in fact: after the huge success of Empire, they were the only network to have a soap ready for fall. They took the opportunity to be the first to pull the trigger. They are hoping for an audience’s sudden craving for the genre. I think they are mistaken. Empire didn’t work because it’s a soap. It worked because it’s Empire. And Blood and oil doesn’t share a lot with Empire. First: it’s not funny. Second, it doesn’t have a Cookie. Neither OMG moments, at least in the pilot. It’s not good enough. And as much as I know, they didn’t reshoot the pilot, just a few scenes because they changed some part of the cast. So the first impression will basically seal its fate. The show is doomed and could damage Quantico… Giving up on Quantico just to give a better chance to Blood and oil makes no sense. It’s plain stupid. How to get away with a hit!

Theory #4 – Fear The Walking Dead… and Homeland

If ABC had decided to put Quantico on Sundays at 9, then the show would have had to fight against The Walking Dead, a ratings juggernaut, most of the year, plus Homeland, with which it shares a terrorist context. Since Blood and oil is more of a feminine show and Quantico can attract men a little bit more (even if there is the traditional Sunday Night Football on NBC), it was the safest choice. And let’s not forget Game of Thrones will be back on HBO in the same timeslot in 2016. Plus, those shows are strong on social medias, Quantico has everything to be too. On Sundays at 10, there is a place for it. Quantico could do on Sundays what How To Get Away With murder did on Thursdays, with a more compatible and stronger lead-in, though.

Prediction

Here is what’s gonna happen in my opinion. Blood and oil will start okay. Quantico will do slightly better at 10. After a few weeks, ABC will switch both shows. Quantico will grow, earn its “back nine” order whereas Blood and oil will die slowly. Come midseason, they will replace it with The Family the week following the Oscars ceremony, that will do much better. Quantico will be renewed for season 2 and became the hit it was always supposed to be.

 

READ QUANTICO PILOT PREVIEW

Shonda Rhimes: her shows you will never get the chance to watch!

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Who thought one day the writer behind Disney’s The Princess Diaries and Britney Spears’ movie Crossroads would become THE producer everyone in Hollywood talks about, dreams to work with, dies to be? Shonda Rhimes, the queen of her own empire modestly called Shondaland, the queen of Thursday nights (#TGIT!), the queen of ABC, the queen of television, well THE QUEEN, has had a lot of success since she launched medical drama Grey’s Anatomy in 2004, still on the air 12 years later and probably for at least a couple more. Spin-off Private Practice quietly lived 6 years after a rocky start; Scandal got bigger and bigger; How To Get Away With Murder started strong right out of the gate last year. The Catch, coming this midseason, is a question mark for now, but the cast is just great (Mireille Enos, Peter Krause, Sonya Walger…). The only disappointment so far was another medical drama Off The Map, cancelled after 13 episodes in 2011. But Shonda Rhimes knows failures too. She also developed many projets and pilots that were not picked up to series over the years, like every other producer out there. Here’s your guide to the dark side of Shondaland: the shows you will never see (except if they are revisited some day)…

 

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PILOTS THAT DIDN’T MAKE THE CUT

INSIDE THE BOX – ABC (2009)

Description: Welcome to the fast-paced, cutthroat world of network news. CNS is a hotbed of professional backstabbing and personal betrayals. The only way to survive here is through strength, talent and friendship. When the DC Bureau Chief retires, everyone assumes that Catherine Powell is a shoe-in for his job. She’s dedicated and savvy and she practically runs the newsroom already. So no one is more shocked than Catherine when the board passes her over in favor of the charismatic, but shallow Englishman, Kenneth Donnegan. Kenneth welcomes Catherine to stay onboard as part of his team but he makes it clear that it’s his team. There’s no way Catherine’s going to take this lying down. She quickly pulls together an investigative team of her own, including her loyal, right-hand man Jake Fisher and talented, but brutally ambitious reporter, Samantha Hathaway…

Cast: Indira Varma, Kim Raver, Jennifer Finnigan, Jason George, Martin Henderson, Sarah Drew…

I will tell you later in the article how Shonda Rhimes attempted to create a show revolving around journalists twice. But she finally made it the third time. Well. Almost. ABC ordered Inside the Box pilot the same year as The Deep End (basically Grey’s Anatomy with lawyers), The Forgotten (that we’ve all… yeah… forgotten, just one of those Christian Slater’s cancelled shows), Eastwick, V and high-concept and much talked-about Flash Forward. Despite quite an interesting cast (with an Indian lead! We had to wait for Quantico, starting this year, to get another one in a drama!) and a result that was said to be “great” from insiders, Inside The Box was not picked-up to series and it was announced that it would be redeveloped at a later time. Which it never was. Shonda used the cast for her other shows though. For having read the pilot script, I have to say I’m very surprised ABC didn’t even try. Yes, it was a bit generic, yet another soap not that different from the others, but it explored a new world and it had a real potential! That was a weird decision quite frankly. I would even call it a mistake.

 

THE GILDED LILYS – ABC (2012)

Description: After a year away in Paris in 1895, Violet Langton Lily – a beautiful young socialite from the renowned Lily family – gets blindsided by love on a New York-bound luxury liner. His name is John Kidd, a handsome working-class man whom Violet’s family definitely wouldn’t approve of. This sudden yet profound encounter makes her question everything including her future. Ultimately, Violet will have to choose between what her heart wants, and what her family expects. Back in New York, Violet returns to discover her father, Edwin Lily, has sunk the family fortune into the construction of the City’s first Luxury Hotel, The Lillian. Eager to get in on the action and attention, Edwin’s brother, Julius, offers to become equal partner and financier. Through years of reckless behavior, Julius has earned a reputation for being a playboy and lout. He’s the Black Sheep, and this is his chance at familial redemption. And he’s willing to get it no matter the cost…

Cast: Sarah Bolger, Matt Long, John Barrowman, Matt Lauria, Blythe Danner, Brian F. O’Byrne, Madeline Zima…

When the world fell in love with the English show Downton Abbey in 2010, Shonda Rhimes was among the early fans. So when The Nine writer K.J. Steinberg came to her with an idea of a similar show located in the US she couldn’t resist and accepted to produce it. The script was convincing enough for ABC to order a big-budgeted pilot. But it was not good enough to order it to series, so it seems. It’s hard to know what went wrong but one thing’s for sure: period dramas are always a tough sell, especially on a network, and it might be what doomed it in the end. And according to The Daily Mail at the time, John Barrowman as the lead was not considered a big enough star in the US to carry the show. The pilot had to compete that year with Nasvhille, Last Resort, Zero Hour, 666 Park Avenue and Devious Maids (first developed for ABC, then sold to Lifetime). Even though most of them came quickly to an end, they had very decent pilots… One year later, K.J. Steinberg created Mistresses for ABC, but without Shonda.

 

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PROJECTS THAT WEREN’T ORDERED TO PILOT

CORRESPONDENTS – ABC (2006)

Description: drama about four female journalists from different media who travel the country…

Cast: Jeffrey Dean Morgan…

In 2003, Shonda Rhimes sells her first script deal for a TV series to ABC, about four female war correspondents who strive to maintain some semblance of normal life despite their demanding careers. She’s virtually no one at the time and the project doesn’t pass the script stage but Disney is impressed and wants her to write something else. One year later, it becomes a little show called Grey’s Anatomy. But the woman is obsessed with the idea of a journalist-centric TV show so she comes back with a similar idea, this time without the “war” part, with Pete Horton, Grey’s Anatomy‘s pilot director, on board. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is meant to be part of the cast after his highly-praised recurring role on Grey’s Anatomy as Denny Duquette. Again, the script was never ordered to pilot. Probably because she is already very busy working on two different shows at the same time and not experienced enough to be able to add another one. Yet.

 

THE CIRCLE – ABC (2012)

Description: drama about 10 friends, adopted as children by a billionaire philanthropist, who begin to question their past when one of their own is murdered

Created by Richard Robbins, like Inside The Box, The Circle was developed the same year as The Gilded Lilys. Maybe ABC didn’t want to order two Shondaland pilots at the same time, especially since Shonda already worked on two shows. Or maybe the script was just not good enough. We’ll never know. But even if the premise is exciting, it’s hard to imagine something really good coming out of it for the long haul.

 

WILDWOOD – FOX (2012)

Description: period drama about a wise-beyond-her-years teenager who poses as an adult in order to land a job at a popular bar on the jersey shore in 1985

The first time Shonda developed a show for another network than ABC -but it was still ABC Studios-produced of course- it sounded a lot different than what she’s used to make. The coming of age 80s dramedy was written by Diane Ruggiero, whom she never worked with before, a prominent Veronica Mars‘ writers, who later created iZombie for The CW. It sounded cool, and reminds me now of The Carrie Diaries. Retrospectively, FOX may have missed a great opportunity to get a hit but it may have been considered too teenage-y for the network.

 

UNDER THE GUN – NBC (2013)

Description: drama about a woman who goes to work for the FBI as she struggles to make sense of a terrible event in her past that ruined her life and tore her family apart. While her young and fragile appearance doesn’t typically suggest that she’s best suited to work as a field agent, her dark past helps her get inside the head of criminals who were normal one day and cracked the next…

Two years before Pete Nowalk created How To Get Away With Murder -after writing mostly for Grey’s Anatomy- he came to Shonda Rhimes with the idea of Under The Gun. The script was sold to NBC and not to the Alphabet network. Not ABC enough? Not good enough for NBC either? Anyway, it sounded like a procedural we’ve already seen.

 

MILA 20 – ABC (2013)

Description: sci-fi thriller about a young woman who discovers that she is a Mobile Intel Life-like Android, Mila, an experiment in artificial intelligence created by the U.S. government and her scientist mother, who kidnapped her when she was found to have human emotions…

This Bionic Woman-like story, based on a book for teenagers, was written by David DiGilio, who created the really good but cancelled too soon Traveler for ABC in 2007. It didn’t sound good and I’m not sure Shonda Rhimes and her fellow associate Betsy Beers were the right persons to work on it… But the idea of a sci-fi show produced by Shondaland is appealing in the future!

 

THE MIX – ABC (2013)

Description: drama about the public and not-so-private lives of five very different women who sit in the hot seats as hosts of an influential morning talk show

I’m still not over the fact that this very promising idea never came to fruition. Inspired by ABC’s incredibly popular morning show The View, it was created by screenwriter John Hoffman, who co-produced HBO’s Looking later on. I was already picturing it as the new Desperate Housewives! Going too far?

 

COOKING UP FOR NEXT PILOT SEASON…

WARMTH OF THE OTHER SUNS – FX (2016)

Description: llimited series based on Isabel Wilkerson’s book which chronicles the movement of some 6 million African-Americans from the south into the north and western regions of the country from the period of 1915 to 1970

Shonda Rhimes is working for the first time for a cable network! And it’s a historic drama, another first for her. It might never see the light of day but the high-profile project is in development right now, written by Dee Rees, who made recently HBO movie Bessie.

 

UNTITLED CONVENT DRAMA – ABC (2016)

Description: It revolves around a group of Catholic nuns fighting the closure of their Bronx-based convent who must suddenly deal with three young novices whose arrival unearths long-buried secrets.

This is SO EXCITING, good lord! It’s original –Sister Act is long gone- and it exactly sounds like what Shonda Rhimes does best, with the right amount of soapy elements and feminism, in a very different environment than before. It’s too soon to tell if ABC will give it the thumb up for shooting a pilot but as of now it’s one of the best things that ABC has in store, at least on paper. And creator Alison Schapker has written for AliasBrothers & Sisters, Lost, Fringe and The Flash. Impressing. That can’t be bad, right?

 

SPLITSVILLE – ABC (2016)

Description: in the wake of a wave of divorces, the single residents of a suburban cul-de-sac join forces to raise their kids and get through it together…

Shonda Rhimes has yet to produce a comedy series. She develops a few projects but this one seems to have a better chance to land a pilot order next cycle. Emily Halpern (Private Practice) & Sarah Haskins, the women behind great and cancelled too soon Trophy Wife, are writing it right now…