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Station 19’s New Showrunners Reveal How They Learned ABC Had Swung the Axe — and ‘Through Waves of Tears’ Told the Firehouse Fam

Having come to love Station 19 as much as and sometimes even more than Grey’s Anatomy, the series from which it was spun, I approached TVLine’s interview with new showrunners Zoanne Clack and Peter Paige with mixed feelings. On one hand, I was delighted, as I was as eager as any overenthusiastic viewer to find out what they have in store. On the other, I was horrified, as the first-responders drama’s Season 7 premiere would mark the beginning of the end: In December, ABC turned the hose on the show, announcing that its next 10 episodes would be its last.

station 19 season 7 mashup abc 3 getty 1
station 19 season 7 mashup abc 3 getty 1

Station 19 EPs Preview Andy’s Big Season 7 Test, a Maya/Carina Reset, Sullivan and Ross’ Obstacle, and Jack’s Future (If He Has One!)

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“We are also delighted and horrified” to be doing this Q&A, Clack says as we get underway. “And deeply, deeply sad,” adds Paige. Here, the tag team takes us through the fateful day that they found out Station 19 was being forcibly finished just when they were getting started.

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TVLINE | So how did the powers that be break the news to you? “Welcome, new showrunners… and also, the show is cancelled”?
PETER PAIGE | Pretty much like that. 
ZOANNE CLACK | We were what, two days into shooting the new episodes? And we got the call.
PAIGE | I was at home. Weren’t you, too? 
CLACK | No! I was on a panel, in front of, like, 100 people. I kept getting calls, and I finally texted and said, “Is this important? I’m in front of people!” And they were like, “OK, you can wait.” And you know how sometimes after a panel people want to talk to you? [I didn’t do that,] I just got on the phone and then I was told. I called Peter as soon as I heard and was like, “Why did this happen?” as I’m driving to Disney.
PAIGE | Basically, we got the news and were like, “Get the cast in, get the writers, get the crew assembled… Make sure they’re all going to meet us at lunch!” Then we raced, raced, raced to tell them before there were any leaks. We wanted to make sure they heard it from us.

TVLINE | Were you able to beat the news? 
PAIGE | By, like, three minutes!

TVLINE | So you were actually able to tell everybody face to face? This wasn’t like the world’s saddest Zoom call? 
PAIGE | No, it was the world’s saddest in-person meeting. We managed to do it all in person. 
CLACK | We had a very interesting back and forth, Peter and I, trying to get out all the information through waves of tears. 
PAIGE | And I’m racing over the hills. I’d yanked on pants, because I was working on a rewrite or something…

TVLINE | And nobody does that with pants on. 
PAIGE | Let’s admit it. In the post-COVID era, wearing pants for work is overrated.
CLACK | That’s why pajama pants were invented! 
PAIGE | [This was also] the day I got the call about Good Trouble ending, so it was really quite a day! [Ed. Note: Paige co-created the Freeform series.]

station 19 season 7 jaina lee ortiz
station 19 season 7 jaina lee ortiz

TVLINE | What had to kinda fall by the wayside or get accelerated to wrap things up in just 10 episodes?
PAIGE | We definitely had some story ideas that we had to let go of. Like, there was a really complex arson storyline that we’d never done on the show. We had to say, “OK, well, that’s going to be a Season Never story.”
CLACK | Yeah, there were a lot of things that we were thinking would be leading into Season 8. It was like, “OK, either we don’t tell that story or we squish it way down and tell it in two episodes instead of as a season-long arc.”

It hurts just to read that, no? Season 7 of Station 19 premieres Thursday, March 14, at 10/9c.

Since the show is ending, how do you hope that it ends? Your wish list in the comments.

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