Shonda Rhimes is best known for her dramas like Grey’s Anatomy and How To Get Away With Murder, but she and her production company Shondaland are working to bring a new comedy called Toast to the small screen. Luckily for Rhimes, she has an immense pool of talent from each of her current series to turn to for casting, and Grey’s Anatomy actress Jerrika Hinton will be hanging up her scrubs long enough to play the female lead in the pilot for Toast.
Toast will feature the shenanigans of the attendees at a wedding rehearsal dinner. Toasts are made to the happy couple courtesy of a variety of friends and family, but flashbacks will reveal what really happened in all of their shared pasts. Jerrika Hinton will portray bride-to-be Page opposite New Zealander Jono Kenyon, who will be playing the groom.
The pilot has also selected another Grey’s actress. Former cast member of the long-running hospital drama Tessa Ferrer will play the tomboy best friend of the groom. Casting news is otherwise scant, but the addition of these performers who made their marks on Grey’s Anatomy promise that Toast is well on its way to a solid cast that knows how to bring the entertainment. The comedy will be executive produced by Scott Foley of Scandal and Greg Grunberg of Alias. Both men will work as writers on the pilot.
Interestingly, there has been no indication that Jerrika Hinton’s character is being written off of Grey’s Anatomy. Hinton has been a player on Grey’s since Season 10, so it would be a shame to lose her. Still, not all characters’ departures are as clearly telegraphed as McDreamy’s in Season 11; we’ll have to hope that Hinton's schedule will allow her to play Page as well as Stephanie Edwards.
Of course, there’s no reason to start worrying too much about how Hinton will juggle two shows at once. Toast has only just been ordered to pilot, so there should be quite some time before we find out whether or not another full series is in the works for Shondaland. There’s definitely promise from what we know of the premise of Toast right now, but it’s hard not to wonder how sustainable this concept would be for a long-running show. Surely there aren’t multiple seasons to be mined out of one rehearsal dinner, and new occasions for toasts over the years could grow as stale as Hangover sequels trying to reuse the template over and over again.
Questionable sustainability aside, the team working on Toast give us reason to be optimistic about the pilot getting a series order. Hopefully it will prove that Shondaland has as much of a golden touch with comedy as it does with drama. To catch more of Jerrika Hinton in the meantime, tune in to Season 12 of Grey’s Anatomy on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.