Shondaland, 'Grey's Anatomy' EP Team for ABC Army Medical Soap Set in Baghdad

Zoanne Clack, who has a master's degree in public health, will pen the script with Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers exec producing.
Zoanne Clack  Courtesy of Shondaland

ABC is reteaming with Shondaland for another medical drama.

The network has picked up a script from Grey's Anatomy exec producer Zoanne Clack produced by Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The untitled drama centers on a U.S. Army Medevac team whose job it is to save lives while risking their own. They operate out of an oddly Americanized base camp in Baghdad, circa 2004, where they get on each others' nerves, sleep with the wrong people, navigate "office" politics and party like there's no tomorrow.

Clack — who has a master's degree in public health — will pen the ABC Studios script and exec produce alongside Shondaland's Rhimes and Beers.

Clack spent a year working with the CDC in international emergency medicine and helped develop an emergency medicine program in response to the bombing of the American Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She has been with Grey's since season one and has been with Rhimes and Beers since before their production company launched.  

"Shonda was kind enough to read me when she was staffing season one, so the way I got my foot in the door, I said, 'Hey, I have some scripts if you have any chance and want to read them.' It was a nice moment at the beginning of an incredible journey for me," Clack told THR last year as part of a feature about how to get a job in Shondaland. "That's probably a very different story than most people would have because most aren't on the pilot. I came in before Shondaland started. It was staffing season. I'm a physician, and they needed somebody like me for Grey's Anatomy. It was Shonda and Jim Parriott, who was [now co-head writer] Stacy McKee's boss initially, and they both gave me a chance because it was my second writing job after Presidio Med, which was a year before that."

While Clack's drama isn't a spinoff of Grey's and will not have any linking characters, its logline is similar to an idea Rhimes had for one. Speaking with THR in October 2013 for the 200th episode, Rhimes noted she's thought about doing a second Grey's Anatomy spinoff centered on Owen's (Kevin McKidd) military past when the character was in Baghdad with Teddy (Kim Raver). "When we did our war episode where 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 moment in time."

The Clack drama marks the latest Shondaland collaboration. Sophomore series How to Get Away With Murder was created by Shondaland disciple Pete Nowalk and alum Jenna Bans has buzzy ABC drama The Family starring Joan Allen due midseason, among others. The ABC Studios-based company next has The Catch, also due midseason, which was developed by Jennifer Schuur and is now overseen by Grey's Anatomy and Scandal veteran Allan Heinberg.  

The Clack drama is the third sale of the season for Shondaland, all at ABC. The company has a brides of Christ drama from Brothers and Sisters' writer Alison Schapker and divorce comedy Splitsville from Trophy Wife duo Emily Halpern and Sarah Haskins.

Military fare is in high demand this development season on broadcast and cable networks alike following the box office success of Bradley Cooper's American Sniper. Fox is adapting feature Behind Enemy Lines, CBS is teaming with Mark Harmon to adapt best-seller "The Red Circle," Navy SEAL Brandon Webb's memoir about serving in the Naval Special Warfare Group One Training Detachment sniper cell. USA Network also has set Ryan Phillippe to star in a reboot of Mark Wahlberg's Shooter, while NBC recently greenlit The Reaper, based on the memoir by former U.S. Army sniper Nicholas Irving.

Clack is repped by CAA and Circle of Confusion; Rhimes is with ICM Partners.

comments powered by Disqus