Disney Studios sponsored this event. All thoughts are my own.

ABC has so many fantastic shows in their lineup, it really is hard to pick a favorite. Especially when you have a show like Station 19, returning for its second season, along with many new shows that have premiered this year. 

If you are a fan of drama like I am, you will definitely want to add ABC’s Station 19 to your watch list! Check out my photos from the set visit as well as an exclusive interview with showrunner and executive producer Stacy McKee, actress Jaina Lee Ortiz, and actor Boris Kodjoe.

Station 19 Interview

Stacy McKee started off the interview by telling us a bit about how the idea for Station 19 came about (as a Grey’s Anatomy spin-off).

In the background of all the Grey’s episodes, you see all of the first responders scootching into the breezeway, dropping off patients and then really quickly we dispense with them and get them out of the scene so we could focus on the surgeon.

But, what about if we got back in the ambulance and drove away with them and then started to see what their life was like? What if there was a fire station, 3 blocks down from this hospital that we’ve been seeing for 13 years and they have a whole life that’s been going on this whole time too. What if we just shine a light over there? 

That was really sort of the beginning gestation of the idea and it’s something really appealing to me.

McKee also tells us why she’s such a fan of television and movies

The reason I’m such a fan of television and movies is the pure fact that it’s a way for us to decompress and live thru our favorite characters.

Especially right now, this day and age, I feel like the world can be tough. There’s a lot of difficulties when you wake up every morning, you open up your news, there’s stuff that’s hard. And to focus on a group of people whose only job is to help other people.

Doesn’t matter who you are, doesn’t matter what color you are, what your religion is, doesn’t matter what your politics are. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that if you are a person who needs help, these characters will help you. And to me, that was just remarkable.

Jaina Lee Ortiz was really excited to be a part of this show and she even took the firefighter test that real firefighters have to take once she knew she had gotten the role. She really wanted to understand what it was to play this character. Ortiz tells us a little about that experience.

I mean before the show even started talking to her, I signed onto the show the second I heard Shonda Rhimes is doing a spin-off, I said yes, I don’t care what it is, just put me in. Luckily, I found out it was about firefighters, I went and met 2 female captains and I was like Oh my gosh, these ladies are bad-ass and they could do everything. They could be moms and work and still have a life and balance.

I actually came home and I said Mom, how much do you weigh?  And she was, I forgot what the weight was and I was like, I told her, you need to be at least 165 pounds so that I know, I can drag you out of a building because that was part of the test, dragging a dummy that was 165, and it’s hard, it’s really hard.

Boris Kodjoe tells us about wanting to sign on right away as well, but the timing didn’t work out so it didn’t happen — until now!

Well, I wanted to be a part of the show from the first episode as well.  And unfortunately, that didn’t happen.  So I had to wait patiently in the wings until it was possible. Code Black was canceled on a Friday and I think I met with Stacy on a Monday and it was pretty much done Monday night.

I was ready to pounce. No absolutely, first of all, Shondaland is a universe that I wanted to be a part of ever since [Shonda Rhimes] appeared on the horizon. And for some reason, it never worked out so that was a huge draw for me as well. 

And then meeting Stacy and Betsy [Beers, Shonda’s producing partner] just did the trick. I love writers and I love great writers and to sort of put myself in the hands of someone like Stacy is an absolute pleasure and honor really, because you know that every single episode where you don’t think it can get any better and then you open a script and then the script is better than the script that you read before, and that’s always an amazing surprise and it’s so much fun to go to work because not only do you get to speak these words but also work with people like Jaina and people who have been so embracing of me.

Check out this additional featurette with KodJoe!

Ortiz and Kodjoe also made sure to tell us how the gear they wear is real, and the suit up with about 40lbs of gear when they are shooting certain scenes. They also did a 2-day ‘boot camp’ prior to shooting this season just to get everyone accustomed to wearing the gear and to be prepared for the physical exertion that would be required on set so they would seem more natural on camera.

(Photo Credit: ABC/Eric McCandless)

About the Station 19 Set

The scenes look so real, all those inside the building and the fire all that. Can you tell us how much is real and what is set?

McKee: Sure, basically our main [set] is a fire station set which is so cool. The interior of it is all on our stages. The exterior is all shot on location in Seattle. So when you see those exterior scenes, we went to Seattle, we shot all of those actually there on location. 

As for the incidents with the fires and stuff, it’s sort of a combination. We have both practical fire that we do a lot on our burn stage. We have a stage that we sort of dedicate to burning things up. But we also then supplement and add a lot of CG fire as well.

So it’s both a combination of computer-generated, really crazy fire and then some practical stuff that we can use that’s still safe for everybody to be around.

Station 19 Set Pictures

After our fun interview, we were given a tour of the set and both Ortiz and Kodjoe joined us for the full tour. Check it out!

I even took my turn behind the desk. 🙂

The Boathouse Set.

The Fire Station.

Watch Station 19 Thursdays at 9|8c on ABC, Stream on the ABC App, ABC.com, Hulu, and On Demand on.

Want more? Read the full #DisneysNutcrackerEvent itinerary here and stay tuned as I continue to share about each of the fun experiences on this trip!



Photo credits: Coralie Hughes Seright /LovebugsAndPostcards.com