ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson is pretty much over answering questions about the behind-the-scenes drama on Grey’s Anatomy.
“I think everything that’s been out there — stuff gets said that’s correct, stuff gets said that’s wrong,” McPherson told a gaggle of reporters Friday morning during ABC’s time at the Television Critics Association press tour. “Again” — as he’d stated earlier in the morning — “I just wish everyone would do their jobs and worry about the show.”
OK, about the show, then: What was McPherson’s reaction when Shonda Rhimes laid out the Denny-Izzie story line for this season?
“I actually really liked the story line when I heard the whole year as it was laid out to me,” he says. And, by the way, Denny (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) isn’t a ghost.
“He’s not a ghost, as you’ll learn,” McPherson says. “I actually think that when you get to the end of the season and see everything [Rhimes] had in mind, it might not be your cup of tea, but I think you’ll be surprised how insightful and smart the storyline itself is, in terms of the dynamics it’s creating for the characters involved and where it ends up. …
“Viewers will be the judge,” he adds. “That’s what’s good and bad about this business: You put it out there and see what works and what doesn’t. I think shows ebb and flow, especially the kind of shows we have. … There is going to be some stuff people don’t respond to.” He also says he has confidence that Rhimes will find a way through this storyline.
A number of behind-the-scenes questions came up in the post-press conference scrum, including ones about the departure of Brooke Smith earlier in the season and the reported truncation of Melissa George’s guest stint.
Asked about George, who was reportedly signed for eight to 11 episodes and has appeared in five so far, McPherson asserts, “She didn’t contract for that many episodes. We all know what everyone says when they leave a show — they want to say what works best for them.”
(For the record, George has said she left Grey’s Anatomy “to do something else” and praised the show profusely.)
As for Smith, whose departure caused waves when it was reported that ABC got nervous about the lesbian relationship between her Dr. Erica Hahn and Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez), McPherson says the character simply wasn’t popping.
“The dynamic with the relationship was not working for us,” he says. “We felt like Sara is such a dynamic character and an amazing actress … and we just weren’t seeing the excitement out of that relationship. There was some mention that we were upset by the lesbian nature of it — she’s going to be in a dedicated lesbian relationship in the show.”
McPherson also says he expects T.R. Knight to be back next season. He cut things off, though, when a reporter asked him if Grey’s had officially been picked up for next season or whether he was “just speculating it will be.”
“That’s the last question,” he says, starting to move away. “It’s Grey’s Anatomy. It’s the No. 3 show on television.”
Tags: Grey's Anatomy