Whether you love it, hate it, hate how much you love it (like me), or embarrassed to admit that you watch it, there’s no denying that the hospital primetime soap Grey’s Anatomy is one of the biggest shows on TV. It’s also the only show to consistently challenge or beat CSI in the weekly smackdown known as the Thursdays at nine-time slot.
For viewers like me, it’s not the saltwater dishrag that is Ellen Pompeo as Dr. Meredith Grey or the sensitive male to end all sensitive males that is Patrick Dempsey’s Dr. Derek Shepard, but the supporting characters that surround two of the most boring actors on television. It’s James Pickens, Jr. as Chief of Surgery “Cliff Huxtable in Bizarro World” Webber, Isaiah Washington as Dr. “I Am” Preston Burke, Justin Chambers as Dr. Alex “The Todd’s Evil Twin” Karev and the other members of the awesome cast on Grey’s Anatomy. Then there’s Chandra Wilson’s Dr. Miranda Bailey, one of those actors in one of those parts that is just magic. Like Andre Braugher on Homicide, Hugh Laurie on House, or John Spencer on The West Wing, no matter what an individual episode is about, you can almost guarantee that Wilson is going to be fascinating to watch.
It makes sense, then, that ABC would attempt to duplicate the success of Grey’s in a typical television fashion: spinning off one of the supporting characters into their own show. This idea has been floating for some time – back when Isaiah Washington shot his mouth off about calling co-star T.R. Knight a homophobic slur, it was rumored that ABC was considering giving Knight’s Dr. George O’Malley and his new bride Callie O’Malley (Sara Ramirez) their own show. I’m not a fan of Knight’s voice-of-reason; big-puppy-dog-eyes act on Grey’s, so this idea was decidedly ‘meh’.
Turns out that it’s another character being eyed for a spin-off, though – but it’s not “Bailey takes an fellowship at Princeton Plainsboro,” either. The Wall Street Journal and Yahoo! report that ABC is moving forward with a new series centered around Derek Shepard’s ex-wife, neo-natal surgeon Dr. Addison Montgomery. Series creator Shonda “I Wrote The Britney Spears Movie” Rhimes is prepping a two-hour episode to air during May sweeps that would effectively serve as a backdoor pilot for the new series, with ABC making the decision whether or not to pick up the show shortly after.
The intensely spoiler-phobic Rhimes has not released any details on whether the series will let Addison remain in Seattle, see her return to New York City, or stick her in an RV to travel around the country helping pregnant women in need and fighting crime, but I’m pretty excited about this. I was never a fan of the whole Derek-Meredith-Addison love triangle, as a) I’m not a girl and b) it was pretty clear that McDreamy was all kinds of McDumbass for eventually choosing, picking, and loving the whiny, self-involved Meredith over the no-bullshit, hella smart Addison. Walsh has managed to take this character, which was one of the most hated on television at the time, and turn her into one of the series’ best characters. It helps that, more often than not, Walsh gets some of the show’s best lines — the ones that don’t go to Bailey or Sandra Oh’s Dr. Cristina Yang. Now that Addison and Derek are divorced, there’s really no reason for her to stick around – and having her do so just reminds the audience what an idiot Shepard is for choosing his current of-course-she’s-not-dead-but-wouldn’t-it-be-sweet-if-she-was girlfriend.
My only disappointment with all this is that in order to pursue the Addison spin-off, Rhimes put her female journalists project starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan on hold indefinitely, which I would watch way more than I’d watch this Addison show if it goes through. (Which we all know it will. Last week’s Grey’s had 26 million viewers – even half of those would be a success for the backdoor pilot. As GOB Bluth says, “Come on!” Money in the bank.)
As always, Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursday nights at 9 on ABC.