In a Tuesday-morning press conference, ABC entertainment president Stephen McPherson said the network is "obviously really thrilled" to include Grey's Anatomy spin-off Private Practice on the schedule, but admitted, "There's some work to do" toward preparing the show - which was somewhat tepidly received by critics - to stand on its own. Calling the May 3 episode which laid the foundation for the follow-up "not really a pilot, but a hybrid kind of introduction," McPherson says, "We spent a lot of time introducing the characters and not enough time on the stories. We've really got to hit the stories stronger." With the characters established, he says, "What [ Grey's creator] Shonda [Rhimes] does brilliantly is the conflict between people and the reality of that. You'll see the intricacies of those relationships."

Accounting for the tonal differences between the two shows - one of the nits picked by those lukewarm to Practice - McPherson said, "We're not doing an imitation of Grey's. Grey's was a show about these young interns who know nothing, don't know each other and are thrown into this world. [ Private Practice presents] a world where people know each other - really well, in some cases - and the complications that result when your life hasn't necessarily turned out the way you want it to, and you're trying to change it."

At the fore, of course, is Kate Walsh's Dr. Addison Montgomery, whose journey thus far, McPherson notes, "has really captivated people." "It's amazing that a character who came in as a bitch on wheels can become some people's favorite," he marveled. "We want to carry that into the world in L.A." - Matt Webb Mitovich