If ABC wants to add another Grey’s Anatomy spinoff to its lineup, it won’t have to look far. The recently-introduced Pacific Northwest General, a competitor to the series’ primary hospital, Grey Sloan Memorial, practically screams “third Grey’s offshoot” (following the late Private Practice and the current Station 19). In fact, Season 16 has already seen three of the series’ established characters — Alex, Richard and Owen — defect to Pac-North. And it’s only half over.
Although Grey’s showrunner Krista Vernoff, who has also taken on oversight of Station 19, admits that she “loves hearing” all of the Pac-North spinoff chatter, she insists, “I’m not spinning it off.” Rather, Pac-North was merely a necessary creation in the wake of last season’s Grey’s finale, in which Bailey handed out pink slips like they were scrubs.
“It was born of the question, ‘What happens when Bailey fires everybody?'” Vernoff explains. “As a showrunner, you can’t just fire four people and go, ‘Psych! They’re all back at work!’ So we had to come up with what might really happen, and Pac-North was born.”
Looking ahead, Vernoff teases that she has “fun plans” for the Pac-North plot as Season 16 progresses. But of course, her idea of “fun” might be different than its beleaguered chief Alex’s. “That hospital,” she concludes with a laugh, “is a mess.”