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Does Mixed Fan Reaction Leave Future of "Private Practice" in Doubt?

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Does Mixed Fan Reaction Leave Future of "Private Practice" in Doubt?Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) left Grey's Anatomy last week, ostensibly for her own spinoff show, tentatively titled Private Practice.

Now it's up to ABC to decide if that spinoff is justified.

From a numbers standpoint, it's an easy decision. Last Thursday's two-hour episode, "The Other Side of This Life," in which Addison left Seattle Grace for a new start and new pals in Santa Monica, Calif., drew over 21 million viewers.

But from a critical standpoint, it's, well, a Grey area.

The spinoff was greeted less-than-enthusiastically by many Grey's Anatomy fans, who voiced their displeasure on online forums and message boards.

"It was the first time that Grey's has been on ABC that I went to bed before it was over," one fan wrote.

"Addison will never make it on her own show. The characters were not very good on the new show and it was annoying to watch."

"Awful is an understatement," replied another. "I had two phone calls from friends after the first hour and we all had the same opinion - it sucked."

ABC officials, so far, have been quiet regarding the spinoff, the fate of which will be clear Tuesday when ABC unveils its upcoming fall schedule at its "upfront" presentation.

One network insider yesterday described ABC officials as "thrilled" with the show's ratings and "very happy" with its content, which was supplied by show creator Shonda Rhimes (who wrote the two-hour episode).

It was, in effect, ABC's reward to Shonda Rhimes for creating a ratings powerhouse - but at the risk of alienating some Grey's Anatomy viewers.

"If they're going to do a spinoff, they should do it now while the iron is hot," analyst Marc Berman of Mediaweek tells the New York Post.

"The thing about taking Kate Walsh off Grey's Anatomy is that you're not losing a lot ... it's taking a secondary character and building a show around that person.

"As long as Shonda Rhimes doesn't stretch herself too thin it's a good idea - and I hear she has a whole new crew [for the spinoff] and a show runner."

And, to be fair, not every fan was put off by Addison's venture into new territory.

"I have to say I loved the show so much I have watched it 3 times already," writes one fan in a typical "loved it" posting.

"Their ploy worked - I will now be looking for this spinoff to start because I think it will be just a good as Grey's."

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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i think grey's on its own is great. private practice on its own could possibly also. i think it's big downfall is that the cutting back and forth between the 2 stories made it hard to care for either one. if it had been it's only stand alone pilot episode, i would have liked it a lot more and i would totally loved all the grey's anatomy stuff, but it was just hard jumping between both shows every five minutes.

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I've been reading a lot of the forums/ msg boards, etc....maybe the 'thumbs down' crowd is more vocal, but it seems to be overwhelmingly against PP. And as y'all have already said (as I have on some of the other boards...) - intertwining it with the REAL GA scenes was the way to guarantee good ratings. I just hope ABC is getting feedback from the forums and boards...and not wasting time & $$ on continuing with that nonsense. I think our worst fears will be realized if they develop PP - Shonda will be distracted, Grey's writing will continue to deteriorate, and we'll have two lousy shows.....neither worth watching...

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Private Practice was awful, from the beginning to the very end. Senseless, boring, stupid, superficial,... The 2-hour mixed show was only a marketing thing, so that Rhonda could say "hey, there were 21 million watching the new show". False! She knew that she was taking a big risk with this new "spin-off" (I don't care that she doesn't call it this way, it IS a damned spin-off) and managed to include it in Grey's... She was caring about the critics if ever the new show didn't get enough audience... So she mixed it with Grey's. The 21 million were for Grey's, not for PP.
Personally, I'm not going to watch the new series, if they don't find anything else more interesting to say about Addison's new life in LA. I'm sick and tired of "khaliforniah" ambiented series and their superficiality. PP great disaster, in my opinion. Greetings from Spain.

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I am the BIGGEST fan of Grey's, so i can say with confidence that I think the only reason that the show had 21 million viewers was because they wanted to watch GREY'S, and they put it in the middle and assumed it counted as someone wanting to watch the show. It was the first time I could not watch Grey's all the way through- ever. I don't really care if they decide to pick up the show or not, because i did not like it and I if they do air it in the fall, it will fail, since the majority of the viewers were already Grey's fans who lost interest. The show is not going to have enough support to survive, no matter what the statistics say.

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I download the episode and I saw that, and... believe, I'm a Grey's fan, for better and for worse, but, in the time of private practice... I just foward the episode, 'cause it was non-sense and god damn useless

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Hey -- we all know where to find the off button for the TV. I say give the thing a chance to sink or swim on its own. Just don't pull another stunt like last week -- hyping an all-new, two-hour Grey's then delivering something else entirely. The "fan anger" over that BAD decision will hurt a spin-off's prospect for success.

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First of all, the reason the rating were so great for last week's episode was because the 2 shows were combined - which was terribly annoying! The editing was horrible - which made both shows painful to watch. I am a devoted Grey's fan, and I love Kate Walsh's character - but if the 2 shows were shown separately, I would I have turned off Private Practice. And I wish they had been shown separately so I COULD turn off Private Practice! The actors were good (some better than others) but the story line was boring, the plot was pointless, and I can see no real depth in most of the characters. Addison Shepard is a great character, and I like the idea of getting deeper with her and showing more of her character - but I don't think this show (Private Practice) is the forum for it.

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i am a HUGE fan of the show and i did not care for the potental spinoff at all. several of my friends and fmaily members felt the same way, i did like a few of the new cast members but i think addison is better off where she is !

Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

Meredith (closing voiceover)

There's a reason I said I'd be happy alone. It wasn't 'cause I thought I'd be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It's easier to be alone, because what if you learn that you need love and you don't have it? What if you like it and lean on it? What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain? Losing love is like organ damage. It's like dying. The only difference is death ends. This? It could go on forever.

Meredith