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CBS’ Code Black is going under the knife for season two.
The medical drama has parted ways with series regulars Bonnie Somerville and Raza Jaffrey, while also promoting Boris Kodjoe to regular, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The move is part of a creative decision by producers to help relaunch the Marcia Gay Harden medical drama to reach a broader audience for what is said to be a 17-episode sophomore season. The series also is expected to add a few new series-regular doctors and recurring interns.
Code Black, a co-production with ABC Studios and CBS Television Studios, was a bubble series heading into May’s upfront presentations with many industry insiders expecting CBS to either pick up its Jason Katims Silicon Valley medical drama Pure Genius (a co-prod with Universal TV) or renew Code Black. In a move considered a surprise by industry observers, CBS renewed the series for season two while also adding Pure Genius. The pickups of both series comes as the network doubles down on doctors, lawyers and cops for the 2016-17 season.
Code Black will return in the fall in its 10 p.m. slot on Wednesdays, while Pure Genius will debut in the competitive Thursdays at 10 p.m. slot post-football on Oct. 27 opposite NBC’s The Blacklist and ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder.
In its freshman season, Code Black wasn’t the runaway hit CBS had hoped for. The series didn’t earn a full-season order but was picked up for only five additional episodes. It ended its run with a 2.0 rating among adults 18-49.
Jaffrey co-starred as Dr. Neal Hudson, an ER attending physician and love interest for Somerville’s Dr. Christa Lorenson. Kodjoe was added in January in the recurring role of Dr. Will Campbell, a surgeon whose charm is overshadowed by his ego and a rival for Hudson.
The season-two changes mark the latest casting moves on Code Black. During the pilot casting stage, Maggie Grace was originally cast to star as Leanne, the residency doctor in the ER. Following the table read, Harden — who was initially cast to play Christa — was tapped to take over as Leanne, with Somerville added to replace Harden as Christa.
For Jaffrey’s part, this is the second time he’s been dropped from a sophomore drama. He was among the actors trimmed from NBC’s Smash following its first run.
CBS declined comment.
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