How Will the 'Grey's' Spinoff Compare to 'Grey's Anatomy'?

Jim Halterman
ABC/Mitch Haaseth

The 'Grey's Anatomy' spinoff follows a group of heroic firefighters at Seattle Fire Station 19 - from captain to newest recruit - as they risk their lives and their hearts both in the line of duty and off the clock.

Fire? Seattle Smoke? Light My Fire?

Unfortunately, none of these will be the title of the upcoming Grey's Anatomy spin-off, as when cast and producers took the stage at Monday's ABC day of the Television Critics Association winter press tour, even they didn't know what the show will be called. Creator/executive producer Stacy McKee did say, "We've come up with such an incredible list of so many great titles. It's really hard to land on just one that would be perfect so we're working on it."

Of all the characters from Grey's Anatomy's large cast who could have been spun off, why was Jason George's Ben Warren the guy? "His character seemed like such an organic character to position in the spin-off," said McKee. "If you've followed Ben Warren as a character, he's changed careers a couple of times and he always goes after the thing that he thinks will satisfy him in the moment and he's never satisfied if he's stuck somewhere that isn't fulfilling him."

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Will the spinoff look like an extension of Grey's or feel like it's own world—even with all of the action happening in the same city? "We had a lot of conversations about that and where we landed is we're in the neighborhood," said executive producer/director Paris Barclay. "As [the trailer] says it's three blocks down so it should feel like Grey's Anatomy ... but as we went to the fire station, we tried some more things. We tried to make the fires more involved, we tried to put you in the fire with the firefighters and make that a little more active."

While there isn't a set number of characters just yet, the producers are well aware of what they can do with storylines for the new series. "The great thing about it is that we exist in the same universe," explained McKee. "There's definitely potential to have people or places in small ways and big ways and we're excited about all those possibilities."

Outside of the spinoff discussion, executive producer Shonda Rhimes cleared up any misconceptions about her place at ABC now that Shondaland has moved over to streaming monster Netflix.  "We're already at Netflix and we're at ABC," she stated. "Our deal with Netflix already began so it's not as if we're going to pack our bags and take some boxes and march someplace else and put things down. We're here. We have five shows at ABC, we're developing another, we're very happy where we are and all our new shows will be at Netflix."

Grey's Anatomy Spin-off premieres with a two-hour episode on Thurs., March 22, 9/8c, ABC.