March 2013
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Surgeon General Information


It’s been nearly two days since the news of Kathryn’s new project broke so let’s collate all the info we have on it and run through some talking points:

  • Show name:  Surgeon General / The Surgeon General
  • Kathryn’s role:  Lydia Ferrari (aka LaFerrari to us at KM UK :-) )
  • Lydia’s job title:  Chief Of Staff to the Surgeon General
  • Co-stars:  Jason Isaacs (Awake), Beth Riesgraf (Leverage) and Katherine McNamara.
  • TV network:  CBS
  • Filming location:  Atlanta, Georgia
  • Writer/Creator:  Samuel Baum (Lie To Me)
  • Pilot director:  Rod Lurie (Resurrecting The Champ)
  • Premise:  Dr John Sherman (Jason Isaacs) is the Surgeon General of the United States, the nation’s doctor.  He has to deal with the political side of the medical profession, taking on government for the sake of the people.

Kathryn is not the lead actor in the show, that’s Jason Issacs as the Surgeon General Dr John Sherman.  The Chief Of Staff to the Surgeon General is a management role, second in command to the General.  Incumbents in both roles hold military senior military ranks.  The Surgeon General works in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC), based in Washington.

Lydia Ferrari is described as “fiercely loyal chief of staff and long-time friend, who was close to Sherman’s late wife. The consummate political operative, Ferrari admires Sherman and runs interference when he won’t play ball with their White House superiors” (THR).

Although talked about as a medical show because of the obvious doctor element, Surgeon General is more likely to be more of a political drama.  No doubt there’ll be some investigative work as Beth Riesgraf plays Dr. Page Wyatt, a micro-organisms expert.   TV have a habit of expanding characters roles in to investigators beyond the scope of the real job, see the CSI franchise for prime examples of that.  It is not going to be an E.R., House or Bones.

Writer/director/producer Rod Lurie, has a lot of experience making political dramas.  Films The Contender and The Last Castle, and TV shows Line Of Fire and Commander In Chief have all covered the behind-the-scenes machinations in the corridors of power.

The show title might include the definite article (the ‘The’), it might not.  So far it has depended on who said it.  Also, the name is not necessarily going to be that.  Consider it a good working title for now and don’t be surprised if it changes.

The wording of one recent news report suggests that Dr Sherman is still seeking to attain the job of Surgeon General.  Having him just stepping into the role (which other reports hint at) would be a good way to start the show.  The need for him to meet everyone at the PHSCC and get the lay of the land is a useful narrative device for audience too.

Dr Sherman is likely to be a widower with a daughter (Katherine McNamara).  That gives him the double whamy of having “baggage” and being single, so could date.  The death of his could well be a plot point used at some time.

Most American TV show filming takes place in Los Angeles, even for shows not set there.  This pilot is due to be filmed in Atlanta, Georgia, with local casting already having taken place.  Exactly when filming will happen is not clear but it will likely be in the next few weeks.  Pilots are often treated more like movies, using locations instead of going to the expense of building sets.  If picked up to series then you would expect filming to switch to sound studios in LA.  Filming for a season would start in May or June.

Remember that so far this news is just about a pilot episode.  It may not make it beyond that.  There are a lot of options open to the TV network.  Here are some of them:

  • Not taking it any further
  • Broadcast the pilot as a one off TV movie
  • Make changes (including to the cast) prior to pick-up
  • A short season
  • A short season held off until later as a replacement for another show cancelled mid-season
  • A full season pick-up

CBS have commissioned a lot of pilots this year, more than in recent years.  Plus, they have schedules full of successful shows that they won’t be looking to replace.  Last season they picked up 6 new shows out of a total of 16 pilots (comedies and dramas).  This time they have a total 23 pilots in the works.  The odds are long on Surgeon General.

At KM UK we wish all the cast and crew of Surgeon General the best of luck and we look forward to seeing the results.

5 comments to Surgeon General Information

  • Kut kut kut kut kut kut kut kut

    Doom you Ms Elbers with your difficule English version of ‘Think Pink’ how can I suposed to meet Kathryn if she is in Georgia.(lol and than I just listen to Miranda’s What About Georgia)

    When do they start filming.

    • I managed to omit a comment about the filming time, I’ve updated the post. It has not been stated when filming is due to start but it will have to be soon so it can be completed in time for the decisions to be made on the new season.

      • Finn

        How true! Not only that,the summer weather in the South is terrible,even if,your use too it!!

        As you,pointed out already,not only do the Network executives want to see the finished product! They will sometimes show the program,to a live audience & poll them to find out what they liked or didn’t like,about the show!! Its a process,that new pilot shows go thru & it could take all the way up to the end of summer or the beginning of fall,for a finally decision to be made!

  • Are they in Georgia in July????

    • Finn

      Probable not!! Being in the South anytime during the summer is miserable!! Mosquitos & Rain Storms, which will make the humidity,not only very sticky but unpleasant,day or night!!

      Even if,your use to that type of weather,you’ll wish u were somewhere else!

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