Katherine Heigl wants to return to television, but that does not mean that she will be coming back to “Grey’s Anatomy,” the show that made her a star.
Heigl wants to star in and produce a drama about a CIA team that responds to global crises. According to Deadline, she would play an adviser to the president. Alexi Hawley, a supervising producer on “The Following,” will write the script. Multiple broadcast and cable networks are reportedly interested in the series, with one glaring exception. ABC, Heigl’s former home, reportedly is not in the running.
Heigl notoriously complained about the material she was given on “Grey’s,” once refusing to submit herself for Emmy consideration because she did not feel she had a strong enough storyline. She left the show during its sixth season to pursue a movie career after starring in several hits, including “Knocked Up” and “27 Dresses,” that she filmed during the show’s hiatuses. Her “Grey’s” character Izzie Stevens was given a hasty exit, leaving town after successfully battling cancer, then divorcing her husband Alex (Justin Chambers) off-screen. At the time, it was billed as a temporary departure but Heigl never returned.
However, Heigl’s recent films have flopped, with “One For the Money,” an adaptation of the bestselling novel by Janet Evanovich, failing to make back its production costs. So it is not surprising that she, like many other film stars whose careers hit a rough patch, would return to television.
Last year, Heigl stated in an interview that she approached “Grey’s Anatomy” showrunner Shonda Rhimes about returning to the show, but apparently Rhimes felt that the show, which has added numerous characters since Heigl’s departure, no longer had room for Izzie.
ABC’s lack of interest in Heigl’s new show does not mean that the network is holding a grudge. Its premise is somewhat similar to the network’s hit “Scandal,” which was also created by Rhimes.
NBC is reportedly the leading contender to nab the new series. Though most television series first film a pilot, which a network then has the option of ordering to series, recently some networks have begun to pick-up shows straight-to-series, including NBC’s upcoming “The Michael J. Fox Show.” It is unknown whether or not the network considers Heigl enough of a draw to greenlight her potential show sight unseen.