“Nurse Jackie” and “Hawthorne”: Nurse vs. nurse

Nursejackie Just like in the real world of medicine, there’s been an over-supply of doctors in primetime for years but a severe shortage of nurses fronting their own shows.

That will change next month as Showtime raises the curtain on Edie Falco as“Nurse Jackie” while TNT delivers Jada Pinkett Smith as “Hawthorne”

I haven’t seen either show yet, but on paper they sound awfully similar. She’s a tough, talented, dedicated, compassionate RN who’s willing to buck the medical bureaucracy to do what it takes to help Hawthorne their patients. Smith plays Christina Hawthorne, who seems to have more of a home life with her oncologist husband and daughter; Falco is Jackie O’Hurley, described as a lapsed Catholic with an occasional weakness for Vicodin. (I’m guessing O’Hurley uses more anatomically specific language.) 

We know the casting is great for both shows. “Hawthorne” hails from seasoned scribe John Masius, with Jamie Tarses and Glen Mazzara among the exec producers for Sony Pictures TV. “Nurse Jackie” was birthed by Liz Brixius, Linda Wallem and Evan Dunsky for Lionsgate TV.

So it’ll come down to execution. The half-hour “Nurse Jackie” arrives first, on June 8. Hourlong “Hawthorne” bows June 16. I’m writing myself a prescription to track down screeners for both, STAT. Here’s hoping that one or both will be worthy of a refill.


Emergencydixiemccall My all-time favorite TV nurse? The husky voiced, no-nonsense Miss Julie London as the husky voiced, no-nonsense Nurse Dixie McCall from the under-appreciated 1972-1977 NBC drama “Emergency.”

London usually played opposite her real-life husband, musician Bobby Troup (of “Route 66” fame), as the head nurse in the hospital frequented by paramedics Gage and DeSoto and their clientele. Interesting too that London was cast in the series by her ex-husband, and Troup’s longtime pal, producer Jack Webb.