What seems like ages ago, CBS head honcho Les Moonves claimed that he was confident all of the network’s freshman series would make it to a second season. Some did, though one was cancelled and another changed networks. And even though medical drama Code Black got to stick around for Season 2, it will go through a creative overhaul before it gets here, and that overhaul includes lead actors Raza Jaffrey and Bonnie Somerville getting axed, while one recurring actor got promoted to regular, and there are promises of more changes to come.
These shake-ups are part of the Code Black producers’ plans to get the well-rated show in front of a wider array of eyeballs to help out its not-so-great demographic rating for audiences aged 18-49, which did see an uptick for its season finale in February. It’s not exactly clear how these particular casting changes are going to make twentysomethings start tuning in to watch Marcia Gay Harden and Luis Guzmán getting tense in the emergency room, but it’s worth a shot I suppose.
Raza Jaffrey played the British-Indian Dr. Neal Hudson, the former surgeon who became the attending physician at Angels only a few episodes before Season 1 ended, making it seem like he’d be a part of this staff for a long time. But that obviously didn’t happen. Jaffrey also found himself cut out of Smash when that was on the air, so here’s hoping his next gig sticks with him for a while.
Bonnie Somerville, meanwhile, played first-year resident Dr. Christa Lorenson. Christa’s drama came partly from her non-job life, which saw her son die of brain cancer, a tragedy that destroyed her marriage and caused her to reevaluate things and go to med school. It’s sad that her efforts will be all for naught thanks to the snippity snip of a producer’s mouse clicks.
According to THR, Code Black isn’t just looking to downsize things, as there are plans to bring in a handful of new regulars to fill the hospital’s halls, as well as some recurring interns. It’s unclear if the alterations are solely being done with cast members, or how else things will change between seasons. If it turns into an animated musical comedy, they may have gone too far.
We know for sure that we’ll be getting more of Boris Kodjoe’s Dr. Will Campbell, who joined the show in January just as its later episodes were airing. It’s obvious why his role is expanding, as he’s both a charmer and egotistical, although he won’t have Dr. Hudson around to mess with when the show returns.
CBS will have a bunch of new shows hitting the airwaves when the fall season begins, such as the Training Day adaptation and that MacGyver remake. Will Code Black feel as new and refreshing as those shows or will Season 2 be the same thing with a couple of new faces? We’ll find out later this year.