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Chicago Med has yet to premiere, but the forthcoming NBC hospital drama has already undergone some major triage behind the scenes.
Ordered to series in May, the spinoff was bumped up from midseason to a fall debut to accommodate the network’s other medical drama, Heartbreaker, and more specifically star Melissa George‘s pregnancy.
Then in August, Walking Dead alum Laurie Holden, who appeared in the April backdoor pilot, announced her departure from the project due to family commitments.
A little over a week later – and more notably after the show’s cast and creative appeared at the Television Critics Association summer press tour – showrunner Andrew Dettmann suddenly exited the series over “creative differences” less than a month before cameras started rolling in Chicago.
“It’s unfortunate. It does happen,” co-creator and executive producer Matt Olmstead tells The Hollywood Reporter. “His fingerprints are still on the show. He got it halfway up the mountain, which has been quite a mountain to clear. So his contributions are still felt and appreciated, but it is just one of those things where it seemed like sooner rather than later would be the best time to make the change.”
Chicago Med has since brought on two new showrunners, husband-and-wife team Andrew Schneider and Diane Frolov, known for their work on acclaimed cable fare like The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire. Olmstead, who serves as showrunner on both Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D., praised the “fantastic” team. “They picked it up and have done a great, great job with it,” he says. “I feel great about the show. Having seen the first cut, I’m very encouraged.”
In the wake of Holden’s exit, the series has also added several new series regulars, including Pretty Little Liars alum Torrey DeVitto and Jane the Virgin grad Rachel DiPillo.
Producers have already been hard at work integrating the new faces of Chicago Med into the universe of the Chicago franchise. Yaya DaCosta had an arc on Fire last spring, Nick Gehlfuss has appeared on both Fire and P.D. already this season, and Oliver Platt kicked off a multi-episode arc on P.D. Wednesday. “The cast members have been super supportive, fluid, light on their feet and trusting that the material is going to come their way and it has,” Olmstead says of Med‘s cast.
The show is also gearing up for an ambitious three-way crossover with Fire and P.D. to air in January.
Although it’s been a tight turnaround, this is not the first major creative retooling the Chicago franchise has faced. After a backdoor pilot for Chicago P.D. aired as a late season one episode of Fire in May 2013, four of the main actors were replaced. Chicago P.D. premiered seven months later, in early January 2014.
“There’s no time to worry about it. You just have to jump in. That’s what we’ve done,” Olmstead says. “To spend time on it would be to lose time. “
Chicago Med premieres Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 9 p.m. on NBC.
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