Grey's Anatomy (season 3) - Production - Spin-off Launch

Spin-off Launch

On February 21, 2007, The Wall Street Journal reported that ABC was pursuing a spin-off medical drama television series for the series featuring Kate Walsh's character, Addison Montgomery. Subsequent reports confirmed the decision, stating that an expanded two-hour broadcast of Grey's Anatomy would serve as a backdoor pilot for the proposed spin-off. The cast was reportedly unhappy about the decision, as all hoped the spin-off would have been given to them. Pompeo commented that she felt, as the star, she should have been consulted, and Heigl, disclosed that she had hoped for a spin-off for Izzie. The backdoor pilot that aired on May 3, 2007, sees Addison take "a leave of absence" from Seattle Grace Hospital, to visit her best friend from Los Angeles, Naomi Bennett, a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist, in order to get pregnant. While in Los Angeles, she meets Bennett's colleagues at the Oceanside Wellness Center and even becomes the clinic's obstetrician-gynecologist for the day. The two-hour broadcast served as the twenty-second and the twenty-third episodes of the third season, and was directed by Michael Grossman, according to Variety. The cast included Amy Brenneman, Paul Adelstein, Tim Daly, Taye Diggs, Chris Lowell and Merrin Dungey. ABC officially picked up Private Practice for its 2007 lineup on May 11, 2007. KaDee Strickland's character, Charlotte King, who would be introduced in the spin-off's first season premiere, did not appear in the backdoor pilot. Her addition to the main cast was announced on July 11, 2007, prior to the commencement of the first season. She did not have to audition for the role, but was cast after a meeting with Rhimes. Also not present in the backdoor pilot was Audra McDonald, due to her character, Bennett, being portrayed by a different actress, Merrin Dungey. However, on June 29, 2007, ABC announced that Dungey would be replaced, with no reason given for the change. The premiere episode followed the second part of the season debut of Dancing with the Stars, and provided a lead-in to fellow freshman series, Dirty Sexy Money. Pushing Daisies, a third new series for the evening, rounded out the lineup as a lead-in to Private Practice. The series has aired five seasons, with a renewal in place for the sixth.


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