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This week, NBC announced that it is considering adding a third Chicago-set drama to the lineup. In order to determine whether or not another Dick Wolf production might work in the ratings, NBC is already assembling a cast for a special episode of Chicago Fire that will be set at the Chicago Medical Hospital. That’s right, following the firefighter-based Chicago Fire and the police-based Chicago P.D., NBC wants to add an ensemble cast of doctors and nurses to its lineup. But could Chicago Medical move forward to series?
There’s a very real chance. It’s not uncommon for a network to introduce a spinoff during an episode of the original series, and it’s not weird that NBC would decide to go that route, too. Production on the episode will film during the week of February 23, and NBC let loose that the new Chicago Med characters will be introduced in the same way the Chicago P.D. gang was introduced. It should be noted that the episode will not be a backdoor pilot. Instead, potential spinoff cast members will be signed on as guest stars with options to star should the potential drama get a pick-up. It sounds pretty murky, but it boils down to this: if people like the Chicago Med episode, it will likely move forward to series next fall. If they don’t, the actors have still nabbed a decent guest-starring gig.
THR got the scoop on some of the castings, and it looks like Chicago Med will feature a large cast, similar to Chicago Fire, which outfits a huge firehouse and an ambulance unit. The outlet reports the series is looking to cast a nurse who might be a romantic interest for Chicago Fire’s Kelly Severide, who has had some crazy relationships lately, including a brief Vegas marriage. Awkward.
The Fire episode is also looking to cast two Chicago firemen, one a reformed alcoholic, a head of pediatrics, an admissions nurse, a female pediatric and a new doctor who works in psychiatry. There's not a ton of detail on the actual plot of the episode, but we should see the potential spinoff series come together over the next several weeks.
It seems weird that NBC would want to launch yet another spinoff, but Fire and P.D. have been pretty good to the network, ratings-wise, and honestly, there is a dearth of medical dramas on TV right now. Grey’s Anatomy is in its 11th season, and has been on its way out for a while, although it still draws a good-sized audience. The sort-of medical show, Nurse Jackie, is ending this year. And other recent attempts at medical programs, like Monday Mornings and more recently Red Band Society, have not lasted.
Chicago Medical comes from executive producer Dick Wolf, along with Michael Brandt, Derek Haas and Matt Olmstead. Wolf has a long and storied history with NBC, and there’s a good chance the network will stay in bed with the man through this new drama venture. We won’t have too long to wait to find out. Chicago Med is expected to be part of Chicago Fire’s 19th episode.
While we wait, you can catch new episodes of Chicago Fire on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET. Fire’s first spinoff, Chicago P.D., on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET.