This is a story that may finally prove – per screenwriter William Goldman’s indelible line – that nobody knows anything in Hollywood.
What this definitely establishes is that television – often a fool’s paradise of predictions, guesswork, spin, hype and outright balderdash – very much remains a place of surprise and even mystery.
This is a story, in other words, about “Grey’s Anatomy” and “ER,” which both air on Thursday nights, the former at 8 Central on ABC, the latter at 9 on NBC.
One is the great ascendant hit of the year, the TV monster of the moment. The other is an old warhorse. Presumed to be tired and listless.
“Grey’s” has been seen by an average of 24 million viewers this season, and is far and away TV’s dominant scripted show.
And the old warhorse? “ER” was TV’s big kahuna in the 1995, ’96 and ’98 seasons and has been a top-10 stalwart for almost each of the past 13 seasons. With all original cast members gone, ratings way down in 2005 and a prevailing sense that the show’s creative arteries were irreversibly sclerotic, this was expected to be the last or next-to-last season.