ABC To Air Kate Walsh-Fronted "Grey's Anatomy" Spin-Off
FEBRUARY 21, 2007: Wall Street Journal is reporting this morning that ABC TV network is planning to air a two-hour movie starring Kate Walsh which is expected to serve as a pilot episode to a new "Grey's Anatomy" spin-off centered around her character Addison Montgomery.
The pilot which would be broadcast on ABC during May sweeps is still work in progress and the series creator Shonda Rhimes has not settled on the show title.
The sexy neonatal surgeon Addison Montgomery played by Walsh would therefore be leaving Seattle Grace hospital come spring.
The network has declined to comment at this time.
Although spin-offs are generally considered somewhat less risky projects as they are centered around a character the audience has already invested in, for every success story ("Knots Landing" out of Dallas, "Frasier" out of "Cheers" or "Melrose Place" out of "Beverly Hills, 90210") there are also numerous failures ("The Colbys" out of "Dynasty", "Joey" out of "Friends", "Models Inc." out of "Melrose Place", etc.)
Old-fashioned spin-offs where a popular character leaves a successful show to start a new series are rare in today's fickle TV universe. TV schedules today are filled with strong dramas that tend to spawn new franchises with an entirely new cast of characters such as C.S.I. or Law & Order.
Shonda Rhimes has recently told a panel of TV critics it has become increasingly difficult to fit all 12 regular Grey's Anatomy characters into storylines. She wishes to be fully involved in the new drama and for this reason she has ditched her new pilot project starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan who played Denny on the medical drama.
ABC has not made the final decision whether to pick the new series for its fall schedule or not. The decision will as always be based upon the ratings performance of the two-hour spin-off movie and will likely have to be made before ABC presents its fall schedule at the Upfronts in May.