The good doctors at Seattle Grace may be focused on resuscitating Meredith Grey, but it's another female character who's moving to a better place.
ABC is attempting to duplicate the juggernaut success the network has achieved with Grey's Anatomy by moving forward on a spinoff centering on Kate Walsh's character of Dr. Addison Montgomery-Shepherd.
A network rep says that a series title has not yet been determined, nor has a general plot—whether Walsh's character will remain in Seattle, move back to New York or do something else entirely is still up in the air.
"We are producing an enhanced episode that has a potential for an afterlife," a spokesman for producer ABC Television Studio, the series' producer, said to E! News. The rep declined further comment.
Walsh and Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes are under contract for the new series, according to the Wall Street Jounal, which was first out of the gate with news of the possible spinoff; neither would comment Wednesday.
The show will apparently give plenty of screen time to Addison, who has emerged from hated third party in Grey's Anatomy's central love triangle to become one of the most popular characters on the show.
The spinoff would allow Rhimes to be able to focus on a single character, something that is hard to do on the current show, where story lines and screen time are divvied up among 12 regular characters, something Rhimes herself has said is hard to juggle.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Rhimes only recently broke the news of the spinoff to the cast, and it's not expected than any other characters will jump ship along with Walsh to the new series—potentially disappointing (and spoilerish) news for fans of the budding Addison-Alex love connection.
The cast will, however, be involved in the set up for Addison's sendoff. Rhimes is writing a special two-hour episode of Grey's Anatomy that will effectively serve as the Addison-centric series' pilot.
Both Taye Diggs and Hector Elizondo have signed on to guest star, though it's unclear whether they would have starring roles if the new series is picked up.
The episode will air during May sweeps, allowing time for the network to decide whether or not to place the spinoff on its fall schedule. (In other words, ABC is waiting to see if the premise is more Rhoda than Joey.)
As it is, Grey's Anatomy, currently in its third season, has routinely topped the Nielsen ratings and just last week averaged 26 million viewers. Even a portion of those figures for the new show would make it a success.
Rhimes has reportedly put on hold another of her anticipated projects to move quickly on the spinoff. It's unclear when she made the decision to pursue the new show, but last fall she postponed work on another drama series that was expected to debut midseason.
That show was due to chronicle the lives of four female journalists and also had Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Grey's Anatomy's late Denny Duquette, on board to star. That project will now be pushed back even further.