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Remote Controlled: ‘For the People’ and ‘Station 19’ Teams Talk About Joining Shondaland

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.

In  this week’s episode, Variety‘s executive editor of TV, Debra Birnbaum, talks with the stars Shonda Rhimes’s new series “For the People” and “Station 19.”

Jasmin Savoy Brown and Britt Robertson star in a legal drama about a group of new lawyers that work for the defense and prosecution. They juggle high profile cases while also focusing on their personal lives.

“We’re seeing both sides on the show—the prosecution and the defense—all the time, every episode, which makes it complicated emotionally to watch because in one moment you’re invested in this storyline and you’re saying, ‘That guy’s wrong, he’s wrong,’ and then you see the anther side of it and you think, ‘No he’s right.’ That’s happening all the time,” Brown said.

Robertson added that challenging viewers’ opinions is a key aspect of the show. “I think that’s a really good thing for this current political climate — to be more accepting of both sides,” she said.

Brown and Robertson also discussed what it means to them to be a part of a Rhimes production. For Brown, it means bringing inclusivity and representation to television screens.

“In Shonda’s world—not just onscreen but off-screen—are lots of women and people of color and people of all sorts of sexual orientation and nationality, and I love that, and it’s celebrated and embraced,” she said.

Later in the podcast, “Station 19” stars Jaina Lee Ortiz and Jason George, as well as creator Stacy McKee discussed the message they hope their show delivers.

“If there is a story that happens to tap into what we’re dealing with politically right now, then of course we’ll tell the story,” McKee said. “We’re not going to shy away from that. But that has to be grounded and appropriate for those characters and what they’re going through.”

“Station 19,” a spinoff of Rhimes’s hit medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” follows the careers and lives of a crew of Seattle firefighters. Ortiz said when she first found out she was cast as the lead in the series, it was like she had won the “actor lottery.”

“We’re under the Shondaland umbrella and you are guaranteed to be in a space that she has created where it is honest and positive and respectful,” Ortiz said.

George said the firefighter drama exists in a “perfect world.” He explained, “Men aren’t threatened by women. Powerful women go after what’s theirs. Everybody gets their shot. People are going to watch this show and they’re going to be young people. Many of them will be women [and] some of them will be young boys who are thinking, ‘I want to be a firefighter because Jaina Lee Ortiz plays Andy Herrera, and she’s a bada–.’”

You can listen to this week’s podcast here:

New episodes of “Remote controlled” are available every Friday, and you can find past episodes here.

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