"It's exciting! I've always wanted to see the doctors dance!" Paul Adelstein joked from the set of Private Practice shortly after learning that the series has been moved to Tuesdays following Dancing with the Stars.
In its fifth season, the ABC medical drama is moving from its long-time home on Thursdays following flagship series Grey's Anatomy to Tuesday nights at 10/9c. In its place, the network debuted new series Scandal from creator Shonda Rhimes, the woman also behind Grey's and Private.
TVGuide.com hit the set in January shortly after the announcement of the move was made, and the cast was hyped for the new challenge. "I think it's a really wonderful opportunity," Kate Walsh said of following Dancing with the Stars. "It's a huge female demographic and hopefully our fans will follow us over and maybe we'll pick up some new fans. People are like, 'Oh no, is that a bad thing?' but I think it's a great thing." Taye Diggs said it would be a chance for Private to prove itself without the help of Grey's Anatomy. "I'm excited to mix it up a bit and see if we can hold our own," he said. "I've felt like the baby brother or sister of Grey's, and we're very thankful for the bump that they've given us thus far. I have faith and I'm hopeful and have confidence that we can hold our own."
For fans who worried that the recent early success of Scandal — which showed growth in its second week with 7.5 million viewers tuning in — may spell the end of Private, Rhimes recently tweeted that Scandal doing well in the Thursday timeslot would have no impact on whether Private would return. That will depend entirely on who tunes in Tuesday nights when the show returns. "I think it signals wanting to position Scandal," Amy Brenneman said of the move. "I think it's less about us and more about the new baby."
"I think [it means] that we're on the bubble," Tim Daly added. "We do a very great number, ABC knows it, they're happy with it, we're happy with it. But our show is expensive, so it becomes a matter of corporate profits. If they can put a show in our spot that does a similar or better number and is way cheaper, then that makes business sense."
But in March, two months after the move was announced, the cast seemed less sure of its future. They were filming the season's penultimate episode without a word about a sixth-season renewal. (ABC still hasn't renewed any of its series.) "It's always frustrating because the good news about doing a series that's been a success is that you have a little bit of stability and life is inherently unstable and changeable, but when you get to a place where you're on the bubble and waiting to hear, you get back to the reality of most actors' lives most of the time, which is that you don't know what's going to happen," Daly said.
"It feels like every season might be the last season, so that doesn't really change it, it just adds another moving part and you can't predict how it's going to affect things," Adelstein added.
The cast did say that if this was to be the final season, they would hope viewers would get some closure. "It's funny because people are like, 'Well, if we don't get renewed, we need to end the series.' We didn't get to do that on Judging Amy," Brenneman said. "I actually was suggesting to the writers, 'Why not treat this like the last season? Have an enormous bang that you can always recover from." I actually think when you think it's the end, it ups the stakes in a great way, which you want to do at the end of the season anyway."
In a recent chat following the completion of the Private season finale script, Rhimes seemed more confident in the Grey's spin-off. "I really approached Private's finale as if we were going to have another season," she said. "I might be wrong, but I believe firmly that we're going to."
Do you want to see another season of Private Practice? Hit the comments with your thoughts.
Private Practice debuts in its new timeslot Tuesday at 10/9c on ABC.