“We’re going to address this pandemic for sure,” “Grey’s” executive producer Krista Vernoff said during the “Quaranstreaming: Comfort TV That Keeps Us Going” panel, which was hosted by the Television Acadamy and streamed in full on July 21 on Emmys.com. “There’s no way to be a long-running medical show and not do the medical story of our lifetimes.”
Vernoff explained that the show usually consults with real medical professionals to help inform its storylines, and the doctors and nurses they have heard from this year have shared their intense experiences from the front lines of fighting the pandemic.
“Every year, we have doctors come and tell us their stories, and usually they’re telling their worst or their funniest or craziest stories, and this year, it has felt more like therapy,” Vernoff said. “The doctors come in and we’re the first people they’re talking to about these types of experiences they’re having. They are literally shaking and trying not to cry, they’re pale, and they’re talking about it as war — a war they were not trained for.”
Kevin McKidd plays former U.S. Army trauma surgeon Dr. Owen Hunt on the show, and his character will have a storyline related to the coronavirus and how his unique experience as a military doctor has prepared him for this crisis.
“It’s really important to reflect what’s going on in our society right now in our show,” McKidd said during the panel. “It really puts up a mirror sometimes to what’s happening in America and in the world.”
Vernoff says the show’s dedicated fanbase is one reason she feels compelled to shine a light on the ways the pandemic has affected medical professionals.
“I feel like our show has an opportunity and a responsibility to tell some of those stories,” she said.
Filming for season 17 has been delayed due to the pandemic. We can’t wait to see how the show deals with coronavirus once the new season finally premieres!