Welcome to Remote Controlled, Variety’s podcast series featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.
This week’s episode features Variety executive editor of TV Debra Birnbaum and TV reporter Elizabeth Wagmeister in conversation with Shondaland partner Betsy Beers, executive producer of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder.” Beers talks about the ratings resurgence of “Grey’s Anatomy,” now in its 13th season, as well as what’s ahead for “How to Get Away with Murder” and “Scandal” — along with Shondaland’s development slate.
“It’s so much fun this year,” says Beers of long-running hit “Grey’s Anatomy.” “There’s some stuff coming up I cannot talk about because there’s a cone of silence at Shondaland, but it’s such a good season and some real surprises. There’s endless number of stories in that hospital and endless numbers of adventures that these characters seem to be getting into.”
There’s been a revolving door at Seattle Grace as cast members have come and gone, but that hasn’t had any impact on the show’s success, and Beers credits the writing. “As characters die or fall away, other characters are able to emerge and get into the minds and hearts of the audience. That’s the virtue of the amazing writing,” says Beers. “There’s always something relatable about each of the characters.”
So while other series have been planning their end dates, Beers sees no end in sight for the medical drama. “I hope [we stay on the air] for a really long time,” she says. “We’ve managed to keep going through season 13 and I don’t think we’re close to having told all of the stories there are to tell.”
Listen to the full episode with Beers below:
As for Shondaland’s other Thursday night drama, “How to Get Away with Murder,” Beers praises creator Pete Nowalk for the creative risks the story has taken in this season. “When Pete first described what he was thinking about doing this season, I thought it was so genius,” she says. And she promises that a character will in fact be killed off. “When a show is called ‘How to Get Away with Murder, expectations are pretty high that something is going to happen to somebody,” she says. “The stakes have been ratcheted up over the past few seasons. It’s the right emotional time for this kind of gigantic bomb to drop for the show, for the growth of the characters, for the next stage of storytelling. For Pete, that involved making sure there was someone under that sheet. Because there is somebody under that sheet.”
Beers was tight-lipped, however, when it came to spilling any details about “Scandal,” which is set to premiere Jan. 19. “We’re going to have a new president both in America and according to last season, it seems like on ‘Scandal’ as well,” she says.
“I can tell you it’s amazing. The first episode alone, do not miss the premiere episode. Just don’t miss it. Because it’s kind of amazing, that’s all I can say. Everybody is at their best. The performances are crazy-balls.”
New episodes of “Remote Controlled” are available every Friday.