Does Shonda Rhimes think shes Dick Wolf?
Taking several pages from the Law & Order masterminds playbook, ABC announced Tuesday that Rhimes, the outrageously successful creator of Scandal and Greys Anatomy, will next executive-produce a Greys spinoff, also set in Seattle with firefighters, not love-starved doctors, as its focus.
Is this not a blatant rip-off of Wolfs Chicago franchise on NBC, which includes, so far, the fire and police departments, the hospital and the courthouse? What might ABC call this one? By George, I think Ive got it: Seattle Fire!
No one can interweave the jeopardy firefighters face in the line of duty with the drama in their personal lives quite like Shonda, and Greys signature Seattle setting is the perfect backdrop for this exciting spinoff, crowed ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey in a statement announcing the newest addition to Rhimes empire.
Really? What has Wolf been doing since Chicago Fire kicked off his Windy City franchise in 2012?
Wolfs city of heroes franchise also includes Chicago P.D. launched in 2014, Chicago Med, which debuted a year later, and the 2017 entry, Chicago Justice. With the exception of the latter show, which has yet to be renewed for next season, they are dependable performers for NBC, averaging between 6 and 7 million total viewers. They also offer more proof that Wolf is the undisputed master of setting procedural shows in a specific city and, unlike Greys Anatomy (which is filmed in Los Angeles), shooting them there. His on-location Chicago series give viewers the gritty urban feel they learned to love on Wolfs groundbreaking, New York-set Law & Order franchise, whose sole survivor, SVU, has been renewed for an age-defying 19th season.
What does Rhimes and her Shondaland production company, which specializes in the kind of daytime-skewing melodrama where dominant females stomp their way through the corridors of power, have to offer here? Shes already launched one LA-set Greys spinoff, the middling Private Practice, which ran for six seasons. Do we need another? Rhimes is already on tap to executive-produce another legal series for ABC, the midseason entry For the People in 2018. And her most recent series, The Catch, was canceled after two lackluster seasons.
If it wasnt clear before, this latest Shondaland project seals it: ABC is in a rut programmingwise. After scheduling two doomed Scandal knockoffs last season (Conviction and Notorious), the network has decided to go back in time to find viewers. And so they announced a revival of American Idol, a series that has been off its competitors air just over a year, and then Roseanne, which ended 20 years ago. Whats next? The reboot of Burkes Law? Have Gun Will Travel with, let me think … Zac Efron as Paladin?
Hollywood, I think we have a problem.
By contrast, another prolific producer, Ryan Murphy, has kept working (on cable, admittedly) by bucking formulas and branching out into different TV genres, and doing so in surprising, provocative and entertaining ways that command the attention of viewers and the respect of Hollywood, scooping up Emmys and other awards. In the past few years he has given us American Horror Story, The People v. O.J. Simpson and Feud: Bette and Joan, three distinct series that sent programmers scrambling to their conference rooms … to copy him.
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but on TV, its a crutch.
Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith