In a era of television that has seen networks and executives sticking with what has worked in the past (reboots, etc), it’s no surprise that a figure with as much primetime cred as Shonda Rhimes should be a pretty safe bet for launching a new series. Production company Shondaland has been behind such successes as Private Practice, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, and of course Grey’s Anatomy. Now, ABC looks to be teaming up with Rhimes and Shondaland yet again with a new project following the exploits of a US Army Medevac team operating out of Baghdad.
Although the potential series has not yet received an order for a pilot or even a name, there are already plenty of details in the works for the potential drama, which is coming from Shonda Rhimes and writer Zoanne Clack. According to THR, the Baghdad-based medical drama would be set in a base camp and would see the characters fighting, bed-hopping, dealing with in-house politics, and taking the time to party in their home away from home.
So far, it sounds like a Shonda Rhimes version of M*A*S*H.
While Shonda Rhimes is certainly the big name pushing this potential series forward, writer Zoanne Clack should be more than capable of building the universe for the show. With a master’s degree in public health and a background in international emergency medicine with the CDC, Clack has been working with Rhimes on Grey’s Anatomy since the show premiered in 2005. Touches of realism in the series otherwise powered by the melodrama of the hospital workers has helped to keep Grey’s afloat for far longer than many non-procedural series have managed in recent years.
Of course, with Grey’s heading into its twelfth season without most of the original main cast members and in the wake of killing off its leading man toward the end of Season 11, news of a new series in the works could be a sign of trouble. The premise of the potential new program is even one that Shonda Rhimes originally wanted for a spinoff following Dr. Owen Hunt during his time in the military. With the shocking sudden death of Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd in Season 11, Ellen Pompeo’s contract expiring in Season 12, and ratings that have been dropping since the end of Season 3, we can’t help but wonder if the end is nigh for Grey’s Anatomy.
Shonda Rhimes doesn’t seem too worried that Grey’s and a new medical show can be independent of one another and still have a place in the ABC lineup, saying:
When we did our war episode [in Grey’s] were we saw Owen’s past and the history of his PTSD, I always thought that was an amazing world, with the idea of a MASH unit. There are a lot of different worlds for a spinoff. Right now, Grey’s is doing its thing and doing it well, and we don’t need another spinoff at this time.
Rhimes’ confidence is somewhat reassuring for the longevity of her mothership series. With so many successes under her belt and Grey's Anatomy's proven ability to move past major shifts in the cast, it may be a bit early to start worrying too much about the future of Meredith Grey and co. as this new project moves forward.