'Night Shift' Creators Talk 'MASH,' 'Pulp Fiction' Inspiration

The Night Shift 'Grace Under Fire' Episode 103 Eoin Macken - H 2014
Lewis Jacobs/NBC

The Night Shift 'Grace Under Fire' Episode 103 Eoin Macken - H 2014

NBC's medical drama, The Night Shift, didn't look to ER or Grey's Anatomy for inspiration.

"We were really looking at the tone of MASH, Pulp Fiction and The Right Stuff," said co-creator Gabe Sachs Friday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. "Those were more influential than any historical medical show."

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Set in San Antonio Memorial hospital, the series follows the men and women that make up the night shift team and stars Jill Flint (The Good Wife), Eoin Macken (Merlin), Freddy Rodriguez (Six Feet Under) and Brendan Fehr (Roswell).

"Some of the darkness of the comedy is that we go from a dramatic scene to a comedic scene," co-creator Jeff Judah added. "It’s very difficult at one point, and then it’s very emotional and happy at another. It’s about looking for unexpected turns."

Sachs likened the dramatic and comedic pacing of the series to that of a real-life physician: "If you’re a doctor or nurse, sometimes one minute some hysterical situation will happen with one patient and before you can go out and tell someone, you get called into another room and you can’t revive a young boy who has drowned."

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The creators promised that military narratives will continue to serve as the foundation of the show, but episodes will expand to feature rodeo and mining-themed storylines, along with an effort to include more Spanish-speaking roles. The drama surprised this summer with strong ratings in its post-America's Got Talent spot, averaging a solid 6.7 million viewers and a 1.4 rating among adults 18-49. Season two will premiere Feb. 23