TCA 2012: Dick Wolf Calls 'Chicago Fire' a 'Classic' NBC Drama

DIck Wolf Chicago Fire TCA Panel - H 2012
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DIck Wolf Chicago Fire TCA Panel - H 2012

Firefighting takes a front seat in NBC's fall drama Chicago Fire, but it was all about Dick Wolf at the Television Critics Assoc. summer press tour.

"What we're trying to do here is a classic, adult, NBC platinum drama," the executive producer told a roomful of reporters on Tuesday morning, later referencing his own Law & Order franchise, ER and Hill Street Blues.

Wolf, who has seen huge success with Law & Order (the series has spawned spinoffs like SVU and Criminal Intent), is a believer that showcasing firefighters will be a recipe for success.

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"Let's put it this way, there are very few franchises or very few areas that give you the opportunity to really explore character," he said, touting that the show is "a character study of people" who are paid to do what people don't normally do.

There will also be a big change in the pilot, which originally did not feature the pivotal moment that served as a catalyst that moves forward the Chicago Fire story.

"If you look at the pilot, [it] is getting a new teaser," Wolf revealed. "The teaser is going to show Darden's death. What that means, is subsequently [everything that happens afterwards] has been set up in the teaser."

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On the surface, it seems NBC is banking on Chicago Fire to become a solid performer. (It will follow another Wolf property, Law & Order: SVU, on Wednesdays.) NBC president of entertainment Jennifer Salke waxed poetic about the hourlong that stars Jesse Spencer and Taylor Kinney, assuring reporters "it's not about the procedural" or "the fire of the week" and saying they have been "riveted in the first episodes." So it was appropriate when Wolf asked whether he is already thinking about spinoff possibilities.

"No," he replied. "I just want to get this one a back-nine [order] and hopefully settle in for a nice long run. Especially the first year of a show like this, you're ... thinking about survival."

The comparisons to FX's Rescue Me are bound to come up and sure enough during the session, a question was asked about the differences between that and Chicago Fire.

"I was an admirer of the show," Wolf said. "If you watched the pilot [of Chicago Fire], no one's talking to ghosts. There's a totally different projection of the show."

Chicago Fire premieres Oct. 10.