Erica Durance: Saving Hope Is Not a Sorrowful Ghost Story But a 'Wonderful Love Story'

Erica Durance is ready to play a real superwoman.

As the female lead of NBC’s Saving Hope (premiering tonight at 9/8c), she plays Dr. Alex Reid, a surgeon whose world is rocked when Dr. Charlie Harris, her Chief of Surgery and husband-to-be (Stargate SG-1‘s Michael Shanks), is left comatose after a car crash.

The wrinkle — and you knew there had to be one — is that as Charlie’s corporeal form lay in a hospital bed tethered to tubes and monitors, his “spirit” still walks the halls of Hope Zion Hospital. Meaning, he can only watch helplessly as his fiancée juggles her job with the near-loss of her love and the assorted options <presented to her regarding his comatose state and pie-in-the-sky treatment therapies.

Oh, and did we mention the cocksure old flame (The Vampire Diaries‘ Daniel Gillies) who now works alongside Alex?

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“It’s been a real, real roller coaster,” Durance tells TVLine of her first series regular TV gig since leaving The CW’s Smallville. (Previously, she guested on shows such as Harry’s Law and Charlie’s Angels; on Saving Hope, she’s also a producer.) “Most shows work up to a point like this, and we started at this just high-octane place. And so, as an actress it’s been very interesting to try to find different levels and different ways to experience this huge emotional stake.”

Lest you think that things will be too maudlin and melancholy as Alex visits with unresponsive Charlie, and since he can only look on as she struggles, Saving Hope will regularly revisit the couple’s happier days, affording insight into just how connected they were.

“What I love [is] that you don’t always find her in this sense of cataclysmic despair,” Durance shares. “They do these wonderful flashbacks to her and Charlie’s relationship…. You get little vignettes of fun, quirky, light stuff going on, and then you have the main course of what’s happening with me. I think they’ve tied it together really beautifully.”

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As for any “mission” Charlie might have as a handsome spirit, Durance won’t divulge details, though early episodes indicate that he will interact with other in-limbo patients. And don’t be surprised if he finds ways to make himself known to those who are up and about, maybe even giving the occasional “chill” to Alex, who until now has only been a believer in that which science says is real.

“She starts out in this kind of black-and-white, ‘This is how I see the world’ place, and as the season goes along you start to see moments where she starts to slowly believe that there are other things potentially out there,” Durance previews. “It’s almost like she feels his presence — or does she? Does she know that he’s there? Is he with her?”

All of which fuels “an interesting and wonderful love story, this trying to connect between the two worlds — intermingled with many, many other things that are going on” in the show’s medical storylines.

That said, don’t hold your breath waiting for Charlie to slide a penny up a door a la that famous Ghost story. “Well…,” Durance says with a chuckle, “they havent introduced that yet!”

Will you be checking out Saving Hope tonight?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Jake says:

    Can’t wait to see my man Shanks and Ms. Durance. Great cast!

    • Nancy says:

      Been waiting a loooong time to see Michael Shanks back on a series. He needs to be seen!

    • Danny Stoppenbach says:

      I really liked the show last night. It has so much room to grow, and different directions it can take. I’ll be watching until NBC prematurely yanks it off the air. It seems like every new show I like gets pulled before they really get a chance. I’m on the verge of giving up on the big network shows and sticking with cable shows, at least they have a better chance of survival.

  2. SVClois says:

    Thanks for interview so can’t wait to watch :D

  3. ElenaJ says:

    Great cast. Can’t wait to see the show.

    • Fedup says:

      Isn’t this the female version f A Gifted Man? So fed up of the networks. Why didn’t CW simply take over A Gifted Man which already had an audience .

      • maltru says:

        That’s exactly what I thought after reading the synopsis at the start of the article! I even IMDB’d A Gifted Man to make sure I was remembering its premise correctly. Originality FTW- oh, wait…

        • Jean TenBrook says:

          I totally agree this is just a replacement of A Gifted Man. I loved that show & was do bummed they cancelled it. So my question is, why the hell did they cancel the show if they are just going to make a new show just like it? It’s just stupid to me and makes no sense!

      • Jo says:

        A Gifted Man, schmifted man. Maybe if the show wasn’t so charmless more people would have tuned in. Saving Hope looks like it has everything that AGM lacked.

        • ravie says:

          Jo, I beg to disagree. The premise is that Patrick Wilson is a charmless doctor, but that the “ghost” of his ex-wife was supposed to bring back the charm in his life. Unfortunately she didn’t seem to be doing that. She always aggravated him (and me) and possibly audiences, as she always seemed to pop in at the wrong time, and stick her nose in his business.

          I think that if they had changed her (there was another person who died later on and I felt they could have replaced “the ghost”), then I think that may have helped the show.

          In Saving Hope it seems that Michael Shanks’ character is not full of charm either. In fact, he made a decision that the other surgeon did not agree with, and actually showed that the other surgeon was correct and had more charm and compassion. So, in this sense we do see a great similarity with A Gifted Man (AGM). The male doctors were “charmless” and the females compassionate. Again I see similarities.

          I’ll still watch it because I like these kinds of shows, but I feel that AGM was not given enough of a chance.

          • JimmyDean BreakfastSausage says:

            Actually, there is no evidence that his decision (to remove the entire arm) was wrong. Two good, competent doctors can make different decisions.

            If the guys cancer spreads because the doctor missed a single cell, then Shanks would be right and the entire arm would be removed. It won’t be known if that happens for a while. If ever.

            This is in fact the kind of decision that happens in hospitals, and good doctors disagree about.

            Its why some women choose complete mastectomies. Cut it off and and have a better chance of long term success, or cut out the tumor, and hope you got it all.

      • matttucker76 says:

        Ah, ‘A Gifted Man’ … The show even its star came to not like.

        Wouldn’t have mattered a lick if the ‘AGF’ had been picked up and moved to the CW in regard to ‘Saving Hope’. ‘SH’ is Canadian-made and being shown on NBC. Nothing to do with CBS or WB.

        • ravie says:

          Matt Tucker, is it true that the star came not to like his own show? Do you have a link to that story? would love to read it. Thanks

      • Kath says:

        No. While also a medical show with a Canadian female lead, it’s quite different. I liked A Gifted Man but this has a better chance of lasting.

      • Barbara says:

        I agree 100%! If the Gifted Man couldn’t make it, I doubt that this show has much longer to live. The Gifted man was an excellent show!!

  4. Sarah says:

    I was just waiting for your interview with Erica to come out. Thanks Matt!! Love her…so glad to have her back on my screen again.

  5. Gloria says:

    I’m so glad Erica Durance is back!! I love Michael Shanks too, I’m looking forward to watch the premiere

  6. jude says:

    Really looking forward to seeing Erica Durance back on TV again!

  7. I’m looking forward to this one a lot. I can’t wait to see how it develops as a series.

  8. kate says:

    so there’s Saving Hope and Raising Hope (not confusing at all) and Saving Hope looks like a slightly less angsty, slightly more supernatural version of Grey’s Anatomy. I love the cast, but will probably sit this one out.

    • lauren says:

      I hope you are sitting down because there’s now a show called The Choice in addition to The Voice. How they allow rhyming words in different tv series escapes me. Begging for confusion.

    • moobear says:

      LOL, yeah over at ABC, Grey’s Anatomy did a partial season of ghost Denny that caused a lot of fans and critics to share a collective groan (and I love Jeffrey Dean Morgan),so NBC in all it’s wisdom, was like, lets do a whole series based on this premise! Again, love Shanks and the handful of Smallville episodes I saw, I liked Durance too, but yeah, think I’ll have to pass.

  9. Jennifer says:

    I’ll be watching for Daniel Gillies!!! :D

  10. Dominique says:

    Yes, thank you so much for this interview! So excited for Saving Hope, it’s got a great cast and I’m SO happy to have Michael Shanks back on my screen again!

  11. Solstice Winter says:

    Yes, I will watching, absolutely!!!

  12. Fedup says:

    I have no problem with the actors and love Michael Shanks. But come on. I’m still trying to get over A Gifted Man. Similar show in my opinion.

  13. sarah says:

    I will give this show a try because like my fave Rookie Blue it is filmed in Canada and has some Canadian actors so I will be also tuning in for Daniel Gilles!

  14. Xboxbydegrees says:

    I like the people on the show and I like the concept. I just hope they planned ahead. IF it gets renewed I wouldn’t want to see the same show ideas over and over.

  15. joel says:

    I can see the pitch of this show going like this. A woman’s husband haunts the halls of the hospital she works at. The executive would say its been done, recently in fact. The pitcher would reply that hes in a coma. Executive; I like it!

  16. eliza says:

    Can’t wait !!!!! Love Erica Durance and her costars aren’t too bad either.

  17. John says:

    Saving Hope ? there is nothing original always the same soup !

  18. Jesse says:

    I’m so excited to watch this tonight!

  19. Ally says:

    LOL if she doesn’t like Canadian actors she must not watch a lot of movies or TV. They are EVERYWHERE.

  20. Carrie says:

    I will definitely watch. I don’t really care for medical shows, but I love Erica Durance and Michael Shanks, so I’ll give this a chance. It looks interesting enough and I know they’re terrific actors.

  21. Shelbystar says:

    Still no mention that Durance and Shanks worked together on Smallville, huh? They had explosive chemistry together in the episode when Lois went to Egypt and Clark sent Hawkman to make sure she was OK. I am so glad some execs noticed/remembered their great vibe. I really love this pairing.

    • Dee says:

      They did have good chemistry in that episode, huh?
      Shanks is a hottie and I will watch. Forgot it was starting until I saw this interview.

      Thanks, Matt :)

    • Carleen says:

      I so agree! was wondering if anyone was going to mention the Smallville episode. Really enjoyed Saving Hope episode last night

  22. DJ Doena says:

    I’m not that big of a fan of medical shows (with House I couldn’t care less about the actual patient). The last medical show I enjoyed was the first eight years of ER.

    I will give this show a try anyway. I mean it has Daniel Jackson, Hawkman & Lois Lane.

    First she was a guest on his show. Then he was a guest on her show. Now they have their show :-)

  23. Pat says:

    I’ll be watching!! Can’t wait!

  24. S. says:

    I’m not a fan of medical shows. Being in the medical profession, I spend my spare time trying to get away from it. But I’m a huge fan of Erica so this is the first medical show i’m watching…(and probably the last…)

  25. Laura says:

    Great chemistry between Erica and Michael ? But….! You need glasses!!!

  26. Nola says:

    Yes great chemistry :Erica and Michael. Tom welling great chemistry with Cassidy Freeman!

  27. Amy says:

    Giving the pilot a chance. Let’s see what all the buzz is about. :)

  28. Mary says:

    Must not have a large budget…using ancient ventilators…PB 760??? At least 15 years old.

  29. Very ‘A Gifted Man’ style but i’ll give it a shot watching this.

  30. Kath says:

    I really enjoyed it. I hope that it stays around for a while because it’s a better show than Rookie Blue.

  31. Walrus says:

    Love Erica Durance (big Smallville fan) but this show doesn’t intrigue me in the least.

  32. isabel says:

    3 reasons not to watch the Saving Hope: 1) read a good book 2) going out with friends 3) take romantic stroll with a handsome and make love!!!……..I honestly do not like drama hospital .

  33. sun says:

    Thanks Matt for promoting Saving Hope! I’m late to post but I was busy twitting and scouring internet for reviews!

    You were always there for Smallville so I hope you’ll continue spoiling us about future Saving Hope episodes, too!!

  34. helly says:

    Who has titles like “Saving Hope” nowadays? How does one get away with that?

  35. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. THAT SHOW!!!!!!😍😍😍❤❤❤👏 SURE HOPE IT STAYS ON !!!!!!