‘Gideon’s Crossing’

New medical drama may need to resuscitate potential

The producers, cast and crew of “Gideon’s Crossing” might need a few aspirin this fall, given the series’ tough time slot.

Although the ABC medical drama is considered to be one of a handful of new series with the most potential for hit status, “Gideon’s Crossing” will have to combat NBC’s mighty “Law & Order” franchise Wednesdays at 10 p.m.

But Steve Sternberg, senior vp of broadcast research at TN Media, says “Gideon’s Crossing” represents the first major challenge to “Law & Order’s” position in years.

“‘Gideon’s’ pilot was excellent, and while it won’t beat NBC, if they can maintain the quality from week-to-week, it does have potential,” Sternberg says.

The drama stars “Homicide’s” Andre Braugher as a the chief of experimental medicine at a Boston teaching hospital. Inspired by the book “The Measure of Our Days,” by Dr. Jerome Groopman, “Gideon’s Crossing” explores how illness changes people’s lives.

“That’s very different as a story-telling approach than what the other medical shows are,” says executive producer Paul Attanasio. “You get into really the deeper stories of people’s lives.”

Attanasio created the pilot for “Homicide,” which became a critical hit–but never a big commercial hit–for NBC. The exec producer says he believes “Gideon’s” is much less dark than “Homicide.”

“I think this show is more open-hearted and emotional and accessible in certain ways than ‘Homicide’ was, which was very tough and dealing with a tragic urban reality of murder,” Attanasio says. “The subject matter of this show is not death every week. It’s failure every week…I do think it will reach a broader audience. But as an artist, I’d be quite content to have that kind of passionate response from fewer people.”

ABC is expected to premiere “Gideon’s” as a 90-minute pilot in late October.

— Michael Schneider

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