'Grey's Anatomy' Firefighter Spinoff Goes Straight to Series at ABC

GREY'S ANATOMY S13E02 Still - Publicity - H 2016
Byron Cohen/ABC

GREY'S ANATOMY S13E02 Still - Publicity - H 2016

ABC is spinning off Grey's Anatomy a second time.

The network has handed out a straight-to-series order for a spinoff centering on a group of heroic firefighters. The first episode will air as a planted episode of the veteran medical drama.

This marks the second spinoff from Grey's Anatomy. Creator Shonda Rhimes and producing partner Betsy Beers spun off Kate Walsh's character Addison to form Private Practice, which ended its run after six seasons. Rhimes and Beers will executive produce the new untitled project. 

The drama, like Grey's Anatomy, is set in Seattle and focuses on firefighters from the captain down the ranks in their personal and professional lives. It's unclear which planted episode the series will launch out of, but the Grey's Anatomy season 13 finale is set to feature an explosion at the hospital.

“No one can interweave the jeopardy firefighters face in the line of duty with the drama in their personal lives quite like Shonda, and Grey’s signature Seattle setting is the perfect backdrop for this exciting spinoff,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said Tuesday in a statement. 

McKee, who has written some of the most memorable Grey's Anatomy episodes, will pen the script and exec produce the ABC Studios and Shondaland drama. An episode count and launch date has not yet been determined. McKee recently departed Grey's, with former writer Krista Vernoff boarding as an exec producer, setting her return to bolster a staff that includes Debbie Allen. 

The decision to spin off Grey's Anatomy comes as the show continues to be a massive performer for ABC. In its 13th season, it ranks as ABC's No. 1 scripted drama — an impressive feat for a veteran series. Additionally, Grey's was moved to open Thursdays at 8 p.m., and now serves as a launchpad for ABC's Rhimes-producedTGIT-branded night of programming that also includes Scandal, which is ending after its forthcoming seventh season, and How to Get Away With Murder

For Rhimes, she will again have at least five shows on ABC's schedule: Grey's, Scandal, Murder, freshman For the People and now the spinoff. Additionally, rookie Still Star-Crossed — picked up a year ago — will debut later this year. If that is renewed, Rhimes would have six shows on the air at the same time for the first time in her career. 

The news, announced Tuesday as part of ABC's upfront presentation to ad buyers, comes as Rhimes has previously considered other spinoffs of both Grey's and Scandal. In 2013, she told The Hollywood Reporter that she had mulled exploring Kevin McKidd's character Owen and his history in the military as well as his PTSD.
"Every once in a while, I come up with a crazy idea. 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," Rhimes said. 

She also scrapped an idea for a planned Scandal spinoff about Joe Morton's B613 storyline. 

That ABC would look to build another procedural out of Grey's Anatomy comes as NBC has built a franchise out of Dick Wolf's Chicago — with firefighters, police and medical shows. 

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