“Station 19” ABC’s firehouse drama catching fire with Jason George

The premiere of Station 19 was packed with a fire-storm of high drama and lots of action.

ABC’s “Station 19” stars Barrett Doss as Victoria Hughes, Jay Hayden as Travis Montgomery, Alberto Frezza as Ryan Tanner, Grey Damon as Jack Gibson, Jason George as Ben Warren, Okieriete Onaodowan as Dean Miller, Danielle Savre as Maya Bishop, Miguel Sandoval as Captain Pruitt Herrera, Jaina Lee Ortiz as Andy Herrera. (ABC/Ed Herrera)

The highly anticipated Grey’s Anatomy spin-off series was first introduced in a Grey’s Anatomy-Station 19 crossover episode on March 1st on ABC. Then the firehouse drama officially launched March 22, setting the stage for the passion and action that will fuel the series.

The debut ratings were respectable, delivering ABC’s largest series audience (5.4 million) to the 2-hour time period in half a year. Station 19 nearly caught up to NBC’s Chicago Fire overall, and even beat its firefighting rival by 14% with the coveted Adults 18-34.

Station 19 follows a group of heroic firefighters, men and women from the Seattle Fire Department, from the Captain on down the ranks to the newest recruits. Their personal and professional lives are the kindling for the super-hot storylines.

Jason George (photo courtesy ABC)

The show is set in the same universe as the hit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy with Jason George’s character Dr. Ben Warren giving up his life as a surgeon to become a firefighter. He is still married to Dr. Bailey (Chandra Wilson), and with his new firehouse home just down the street from Grey Sloan Memorial, there will be many more chances of character crossovers.

In addition to George, Station 19 also stars Jaina Lee Ortiz (Rosewood), in the lead as Andy Herrera, a firefighter and daughter of the firehouse’s Captain, played by Miguel Sandoval (Medium). The cast also includes Grey Damon (Friday Night Lights), Barrett Doss (Marvel’s Iron Fist), Alberto Frezza (Dead of Summer), Jay Hayden, Danielle Savre (Too Close To Home), and Okieriete Onaodowan (Broadway’s Hamilton).

All were on hand during the interview session for Station 19 at the Television Critics Association’s 2018 winter press tour. The ABC panel also included executive producers Betsy Beers, Stacy McKee, and Paris Barclay; plus, TV production queen Shonda Rhimes, the creative force that started the ratings juggernaut Grey’s Anatomy (currently enjoying its 14th season), and its earlier spinoff Private Practice. Rhimes has also given ABC it’s designated TGIT (Thank God It’s Thursday) lineup, with Grey’s, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder.

“Station 19” stars Danielle Savre, Jaina Lee Ortiz and Jason George (ABC/Mitch Haaseth)

Showrunner Stacy McKee described the show as “Grey’s adjacent” with a lot of potential for cross-pollination, and added, “It will be similar and different. It was a priority for me in thinking about this as a Grey’s Anatomy spinoff that it works hand-in-hand with Grey’s and was similar in tone, intensity, humor and heart, but also has a different level of adrenaline and energy.”

Out of all of the characters on Grey’s Anatomy, why was Jason George’s Dr. Warren chosen to spinoff to Station 19?

McKee said, “He seemed like such an organic character to transition into the spinoff, especially once we’d settled on the idea of a fire station. If you followed Ben Warren as a character, he’s changed careers a couple of times. He’s never satisfied if he’s stuck somewhere that isn’t fulfilling him. So, it seemed like a natural transition.”

Jason George’s acting career was really launched when he was cast as a lifeguard on the soap opera Sunset Beach in the late ’90s followed by notable credits over the years. But he modestly said his journey is not really that different than any of the other actors alongside of him.

“We get up, we go to auditions, and we holler at our agents, and try to find good work to do,” George explained. “We try to find phenomenal people to work with and say good words. I’ve just been blessed enough to land in front of people that are good people and give me great things to do, and when you find that, you hold onto those people. When you come across good collaborators, you hold onto them. Even when the show ends, you say to your friends, ‘Let’s go play someplace else.’”

George’s best advice that has worked for him is “put your head down, do your job, and don’t be a jerk.”
The first season of Station 19 will consist of 10 episodes and will follow Grey’s Anatomy every Thursday night on ABC. Tune in.

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.