ABC waited until almost the end of the TCA press tour to trot out one of its most highly anticipated new shows: "Private Practice." The entire cast (save for the recently added Audra McDonald) was on hand to talk about the show, and with Shonda Rhimes holding court, there were sure to be a few questions about her other little show as well. To see what we learned about "Private Practice" and read a few of Shonda's thoughts on "Grey's," just
- One curiosity about "Private Practice," right off the bat: The trailer ABC has put together for it is almost 100 percent scenes from "Grey's." So yeah, still can't really tell from that what kind of show this is going to be. Along those lines, Rhimes emphasized that the two-hour episode was, above all, an episode of "Grey's" with some new characters thrown in, not an episode of "Private Practice." The new show is lighter, she said, and more like "a squabbling family" than high schoolers with scalpels.
- Officially, here's how the whole "Private Practice" process started: Rhimes was in the editing room one day in September and started typing up some scenes (which later became part of the double episode). She and executive producer Betsy Beers took the idea to ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson and, over a late-night dinner, convinced him that the spinoff could work.
- What can "Private Practice" do that "Grey's" can't? "Not surgery," Rhimes said. The show will be more grounded in alternative medicine, psychiatry, fertility, etc. There will be a voice of traditional medicine, though, in the form of KaDee Strickland's character, Charlotte.
- Kate Walsh on reading the "Private Practice" script for the first time: "It was like a really super top-secret diary of somebody else's I had just found." She also described the setup of the show for her as "taking a character and just kind of plopping her in a new environment at 39 years old and just seeing her flail like a bug on her back."
- There are no plans at the moment for a crossover episode between "Grey's" and "Private Practice," Rhimes said — but in the first episode of "Practice," we'll see Addison give Richard her resignation.
- Though the session was meant to be about "Private Practice," Rhimes didn't shy away from the handful of "Grey's" questions she received. She said she understands the viewer outrage over hooking up George and Izzie on "Grey's" — and that fans' reactions will mirror those of Meredith and Cristina and Alex when they find out what their two friends have done. Still, she said she doesn't believe the show went wrong at the end of the season; "to me," she said, "it was the journey that we had planned to take all along."
- One brave soul asked Rhimes if she felt "Grey's" had used up any of its goodwill with the rough end of the season, and she said no. She and "Lost"'s Damon Lindeloff have talked about the nature of a backlash, she said, and they believe it happens to every show. "There has to be a moment in which people disagree with sort of where you're going creatively," she said. "But if you're telling your stories well, they'll stick with you, hopefully, and watch us grow and change."
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