Music an integral part of ‘Anatomy’

Emphasis on progressive tunes began early

ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” is a show about a lot of things — doctors, relationships, life and death — but before the show even began its pilot, producers realized there had to be one more thing included in that list: music.

“We knew going into the pilot that we had to make the lives of the interns as accessible as possible, and the music allows that,” says exec producer Betsy Beers.

To make that music a force of its own, “Grey’s” and showrunner Shonda Rhimes hired Alexandra Patsavas as music supervisor, with the hope she could bring the same magic she supplied to her previous work, such as “The OC” and “Rescue Me.”

“Shonda always intended it to be a musical show,” Patsavas says. “From the start, the producers were never afraid of listening to the unusual.”

Beers also notes that “Grey’s” has never focused on just one genre of music, instead broadening its reach with pieces from the Fray to Kanye West, and credits some of the show’s growth and development over the years to that.

“Part of the way we view the show is as an evolving organism, and that is the way the music works as well,” Beers says. “As the interns evolve and get older, the music evolves as well.”

The one thing Patsavas and many of the execs agree upon is never to predict how big a song or act will get after being heard on the show.

Everything from the Fray’s “How to Save a Life” to Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” climbed the charts, with the acts gaining more popularity once their songs were heard on the show.

“You always hope, but we never could have predicted what the music is doing now,” Beers says.

Show execs aren’t the only ones in the ABC family to notice the importance and popularity of music in their shows. May brings the launch of ABC’s online Music Lounge, featuring on-demand musicvideos and a single-stream online radio station playing songs from all shows and promos you hear on the network.

Dawn Soler, veep of ABC’s TV music division and co-creator of the lounge, says the idea appeared two years ago and credits “Grey’s” for expanding that interest in the area.

“‘Grey’s’ is definitely a tastemaker show,” Soler says.

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