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'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Private Practice' prepare for a joint operation

February 7, 2009 |  6:09 pm


There's nothing like a nasty case of worms in the brain to bring a gang back together.

On the set of "Grey's Anatomy," a gaggle of doctors have congregated around the hospital bed of one of their own, a neurologist who's suffering from the life-threatening illness. Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) wants to perform risky surgery on the patient (Grant Show), who just happens to be the brother of his ex-wife, Dr. Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh), who exited "Grey's" in 2007 for a fresh start on its spinoff, "Private Practice."

Now, just in time for sweeps, Addison is back at Seattle Grace for the first crossover between the ABC series.

"This is like our 'Big Chill,' " said Shonda Rhimes, who created both soapy medical dramas. "It's that idea of who you used to be and who you are now."

The timing of the on-screen mashup, which airs Thursday, is notable as well: "Grey's" is in the midst of a rocky fifth season, while "Private" is still regarded as its less popular kid sibling. The idea for a crossover was first floated by the network last season but, with "Private" still in its infancy, Rhimes was resistant. "I wanted to solidify the identity of what 'Private Practice' is," Rhimes explained, "both for audiences and in our minds.

Read the whole story here.

-- By Shawna Malcom

(Photo courtesy Karen Neal / ABC)