9-1-1 stars (l-r) Peter Krause, Angela Bassett and Jennifer Love Hewitt greeted TCA reporters to the set of their series in February. Photos: Disney/Frank Micelotta

If you are looking for 9-1-1 when it returns Thursday for a seventh season, well, you may have to call 911 to find it.

Not in Canada, however, where it returns Thursday, March 14 at 8 pm ET on Global and STACKTV. In the US however, where the series originates, 9-1-1 is switching networks. It jumps from Fox to ABC.

Which is odd, because, as the network happily proclaimed back in February, this has been one of broadcasting’s top-rated dramas. Why then, entering its seventh season, is it switching networks?

Well, ratings had dipped somewhat when Fox cancelled the series last May. Not helping was the writers and actors strikes, which cut last season short. Another factor: this is an expensive series to produce. Disney owns both ABC and Fox Studios, so they rescued this show about rescuers for a seventh season in a sideways, inter-platform scheduling move.

The move was promoted with a set visit, with Television Critics Association members, who had already gathered last month in Pasadena, Calif., shuttled to the Fox Studios lot in Beverly Hills. There we were greeted by showrunner Tim Minear as well as the stars of the series, including Angela Bassett, Peter Krause and Jennifer Love Hewitt.

The visit came on a dark and stormy night in Los Angeles. A perfect evening, therefore, to check out a show about emergecy responders. Firetrucks and helicopters were set up outside the soundstage just to show off some of the series big shiny toys.


Minear was asked what the difference was in going from Fox to ABC.

“It feels like the first year of the show in a lot of ways,” he said. “The enthusiasm at the network is, you know, through the roof. The promotions are fantastic. The artwork is great, and they’re just really engaged, and they love — they already love the show. So, I just think it’s a shot in the arm for all of us.”

Bassett, ageless at 65, was less hyperbolic.

“It feels a lot the same so far,” said the actress, who received an honourary Oscar in 2023. “I mean, we’re just a month in, and we’re still in the same walls, the same set, so, you know, the same lot.”

This shot from the set shows Athena and Bobby’s living room. (The character’s played by Bassett and Krause.) The newlyweds figure prominantly in Thursday’s Seventh season opener, set aboard a luxury cruise liner. Note the “Hot Set” sign on the couch, a warning to visiting reporters and others not to mess things up with drinks or snacks

Love Hewitt joined the series in its second season as a 911 operator. Fans who remember her best from her Party of Five days back in the ’90s may be surprised that she’s now 45.

Her 10-year-old daughter recently told her that things from the ’90s “are so cool.” Mom, however, doesn’t rate among the coolest.

Hewitt is grateful to have spent 35 of her years acting. “It’s just really fun that I still get to do something that I love so much, and people still allow it, which is really nice.”

Krause praised Minear for whipping the series into feature film-level situations and effects. He compared his showrunner to Irwin Allen, a film and TV producer who made a name for himself in the ’60s and ’70s creating shows such as Time Tunnel and Lost in Space and disaster movies such as “The Towering Inferno.” As Krause pointed out, “We’ve done an earthquake, a tidal wave. Now we’re doing ‘The Poseidon Adventure.'”

He wasn’t joking. “The Poseidon Adventure” was a big budget, 1972 movie about a luxury cruise ship that flips upside down, trapping Gene Hackman, Shelley Winters, Ernest Borgnine and others inside. At the time of the press conference on the set of 9-1-1, the cast had just shot an episode about a capsized luxury liner. Minear admits it is more or less an homage to Allen.

Minear thought he had a deal in place to shoot aboard an actual passenger ship. Then the cruise company demanded a happy ending showing the cruiser right side up again. Minear quickly torpedoed that idea. That meant his team had to re-create a ship, which took a sizeable chunk out the budget of what will be the series’ 100th episode.

Minear has had an extraordinary career writing and producing TV shows that cross over into many types and genres. Among his credits are Angel and Firefly, and a couple of Ryan Murphy shows including American Horror Story and Feud. He was also very involved in two of my favourite flops, Wonderfalls (shot in Toronto and Niagara Falls) and Terriers.

9-1-1 showrunner Tim Minear. Disney/Frank Micelotta

I asked him how he was able to swing from fantasy and sci-fi to a heightened reality-like rescue series such as 9-1-1?

“It’s all the same to me,” said Minear. He felt 9-1-1– was,” the best of the bunch.

“It can be a rom-com, it can be a soap, it can be satire, it can be, you know, a heartbreaking melodrama. It can be all of those things in the same episode, right?”

Minear added that “the canvas on this show is absolutely unlimited. And I have these talented people to pull it off, and other talented people behind the scenes. All I have to do is sit there and make it up, which is good because I don’t know anything about anything.”


  1. Perhaps a clarification of what Disney owns. Disney does not own the Fox Television Network. Disney just bought the studio production side. Your line in the article makes it sound like Disney owns both ABC (TV) and Fox (TV). It only owns the former but it does own Fox Studios, 20th Century Fox. A distinction your article doesn’t make,

    • Bill Brioux Reply

      I stand corrected Jim, you are right. Just the studio.

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