Grey's Anatomy: Meredith Grey fights for life in episode promo
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Creator, head writer, and executive producer of Grey’s Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes, 51, was less than impressed when she ran into difficulties behind-the-scenes of the hit ABC medical drama due to the FCC’s strict rules. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent agency of the federal government that regulates communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable across the US.
How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy author and show insider Lynette Rice has claimed that showrunner Shonda was stopped in her tracks over a piece of medical equipment she wanted to use on the programme.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Lynette explained that the FCC set tough restrictions for shows to ensure that nothing too racy appears on-air earlier on in the evenings.
The writer and journalist said: “It is strict because, you know, this is the public airwaves, the show ran at eight o’clock.
“And if there are enough people out there in the audience who will call the FCC and complain, that’s why there’s a department called standards and practices.
“They stand there and make sure nothing pushes the envelope.
“I mean, there was even a case where a piece of medical equipment had a very phallic nature to it.
“Shonda had to go to them for that just like, ‘are you telling me this genuine piece of medical equipment can’t be used because it looks like a penis? Are you kidding me?’”
Weighing in on the situation, Lynette admitted: “It is really ridiculous!
“But those stories are gold – gold!
“And you can only get it from writers who are right there with her, waging the battle.”
These rare insights into the hit series are part of the reason that Lynette decided to write her unauthorised account of what goes on behind-the-scenes of Grey’s Anatomy.
The author revealed while discussing the book: “My favourite kind of oral history is not necessarily relying on the big stars because, you know, they’re not going to be completely candid, especially when they’re still collecting a pay cheque.
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“So it’s fun for me to go and find folks who don’t always get their day in the sun, who are the geniuses behind the camera, they often have the best stories.
“Most Grey’s fans don’t find it romantic to talk to a writer on Grey’s Anatomy, but all I can say is, just wait, give them a chance to speak.
“You’ll be surprised to hear what they have to say!
“The writers have a unique perspective, because when they’re in the room with Shonda, they work alongside her.
“They see, you know, what kind of genius she has, but they also see the battles that she wages with the network over stupid little things like how many penises you can use in an episode, like, the word ‘penis’.”
Lynette explained: “Obviously, this is a medical show, you’re going to be talking about that part of the anatomy.
“But it becomes like a negotiation, like, ‘okay, I know you want 10 penises, can you just make it four?’”
She continued: “And then, at the same time, the stories about not being able to say the word vagina, which is, again, a part of the anatomy.
“But the fear was like, ‘we can’t say that in primetime’.
“So Shonda, you know, I talked about the story of Shonda going to the writers room and saying, ‘okay guys, I gotta come up with another word besides vagina’, and a young writer, she’s maybe a young assistant, maybe 21/22 says, ‘well, me and my girlfriend’s call it va-jay-jay’.
“So that one young person who was in the writers’ room came up with this word.”
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