It looks like Patrick Dempsey is finally heading back to network TV. He’s set to headline a brand new TV pilot for CBS which will hopefully move forward. Because if there is any gift that network TV could bring us it would be bringing McDreamy back to primetime.
The new project will star Patrick Dempsey as a leader in Congress. He’ll be a bit jaded when the series starts, but will work with a congresswoman who hasn’t lost her gumption or her spark to change the political system. That’s not a lot of information about the upcoming pilot so far and the young congresswoman has not even been cast yet, but McDreamy is heading back to primetime. I need no other details.
Look, although when Patrick Dempsey quit Grey’s Anatomy back in Season 11, he’s been really nice about his exit and has spoken about being on the ABC drama a little longer than he thought he should have. He's also generally talked about the toll the long hours took on his family during the years he worked on the network show. (Although he hasn't kept up with his former cast all that well.) That said, it’s not like he’s been totally out of the acting business in the time since.
He took various roles in movies and in 2017 he returned to TV for a miniseries The Truth About the Harry Quebery Affair which he then followed up with another show Devils, which is an Italian and English series that was filmed in 2019. Obviously, however, neither of these projects put him quite in the spotlight that leading another major network TV series will. It's also much easier to film a 10-episode series than a network TV show that runs from September-May and requires long days from the actors, so it's easy to see why it took some time for him to find another network project and be enticed to sign on for those hours.
The thing is, while Patrick Dempsey is on board for the political drama Ways and Means, according to Variety, right now only a pilot has been ordered. Which means it needs to be really good or our dreams of McDreamy returning to primetime may not come true. I'm not really latching onto that as a possibility at this point, but it needs to be noted.
Patrick Dempsey has been open about being obviously identifiable as the Derek Shepherd actor in recent years and has spoken out about the challenge of moving beyond the character, previously noting:
I want to try something different. But will I be allowed to do something different? Is Derek so identifiable that I can’t go on and be someone else? That will be the challenge. To see if people embrace me as someone else.
Now he's got a shot over at CBS. The good news is that Ways and Means has CBS entertainment head Nina Tassler attached as an executive producer, along with Denise Di Novi, Tom Lassally, and Mike Murphy and Ed Redlich; the latter two are also on board to write the project. So this pony is moving forward at a quick clip.
We likely won’t find out until May if Ways and Means has the, well, ways and means to continue in the 2020-2021 TV season, but until then we will McDream about the project and be keeping our fingers crossed. For now, see what is officially greenlighted with our full schedule.