Countless movies and TV shows have revolved around firefighters, and now NBC's Chicago Fire (Wednesdays, 10/9c) gives an authentic look at the brave men and women tasked with putting out blazes and saving lives. Jesse Spencer and Taylor Kinney star in the drama, which is produced by Law & Order maestro Dick Wolf and was just picked up for a full season. Creators Derek Haas and Michael Brandt (who wrote the movie 3:10 to Yuma) took our showrunner survey to explain why we should be hot on Chicago Fire.
TV Guide Magazine: I've got room in my life for one show. Tell me why it should be yours.
Derek Haas: First of all, you need to get more storage on your DVR and cut out that 40 minutes you usually use to play Angry Birds and tune in to Chicago Fire. We're going to give it all to you: action, drama, twists, emotion, comedy, romance. Pretty much everything that happens every day in a real firehouse.
Michael Brandt: And don't forget, we're the guys who brought the world 2 Fast 2 Furious, so we know our romance.
TV Guide Magazine: Who should be watching?
Haas: Anyone who loves firemen. So... America.
Brandt: We set out to re-capture the heart of those great NBC dramas of old. Network TV has become so procedurally driven (ironically, because of Dick Wolf!) that character has been lost. Cable has embraced the character and look what's going on there.
TV Guide Magazine: What happens if we don't watch your show?
Haas: Michael and I will personally come to your doorstep and make you watch. Listen for the siren.
TV Guide Magazine: Give us an equation for your show.
Haas: NYPD Blue meets ER with a dash of 3:10 To Yuma.
Brandt: You can tell Derek was an English major. NYPD Blue plus ER minus horses.
TV Guide Magazine: What's the best thing anyone has said or written about your show?
Brandt: The Los Angeles Times mistakenly called it Chicago Hope in its fall preview section. That was a great show!
Haas: Our main consultant, Steve Chikerotis — who is a legend in the Chicago Fire Department — said, "You got it right." That's all we needed.
TV Guide Magazine: What's the worst thing?
Haas: My mom said, "When's the calendar episode?"
TV Guide Magazine: What's an alternate title for your show?
Haas: Dick Wolf Presents
Brandt: If You Liked Emergency As a Kid and Wonder Where Randolf Mantooth Is
TV Guide Magazine: Come up with a premise for the spin-off.
Haas: The nice thing about working in a fire department is that men and women are constantly being detailed out to other houses in other parts of the city. We could follow one of our characters to a new place.
Brandt: Obviously a new show would be called Chicago Fire, where we follow the complex lives of the men who play soccer for the Chicago Fire MLS team. Do you think that would be confusing?
TV Guide Magazine: What credit of yours would you prefer we forget?
Haas: We got suckered into doing a terrible movie on TBS when we were brand new to the industry. Billy Zane is in it. It has karate. We were young and needed the money.
Brandt: My wife got up halfway through it and did the dishes. I've never been so proud.
TV Guide Magazine: If you weren't producing this show, what series would you most like to be an executive producer on?
Haas: Breaking Bad. Truly one of the greatest experiences I've had watching a show.
Brandt: Law & Order. You should see Dick's plane.
TV Guide Magazine: How is your cast the best on television?
Haas: Our cast wants to get it right and takes great pride in getting it right. They don't just show up after reading their sides and wait for someone to say "action." They're constantly training at the fire academy so that when they roll out on a call, they look as authentic as possible. They're really inspiring.
Brandt: And their camaraderie really plays on screen. Training together they way they have has built something really special. They all say this is the best experience they've had on a production.
TV Guide Magazine: Let's scare the network. Tell us an idea that didn't make it on to the screen.
Haas: We had the idea based on a true story that one of our paramedics pulls a prank on the other one who was out on furlough. When she comes back to the house, everyone is staring at her breasts. She realizes the other paramedic told everyone she had gotten fake boobs while she was out. Didn't make the cut for the pilot.
Brandt: That idea's coming back.
TV Guide Magazine: Finish this sentence: "If you like _______, you'll love our show."
Brandt: 2 Fast 2 Furious
TV Guide Magazine: Fall is brutal. Pick another show to start a fake feud with.
Haas: Nashville, of course, also in our time slot. Up yours, Nashville! (Not the city, the show. Whoops.)
Brandt: Yeah, for sure. And that Callie Khouri, what a blowhard. And her talentless husband, T Bone Burnett.
TV Guide Magazine: What show would you like to do a crossover episode with and how would that go?
Haas: I'd love to have Homeland come to Chicago and need the fire department to help with some sort of terrorist event.
Brandt: Or the Chicago Fire crossover with the spin-off Chicago Fire, where the soccer stadium is on fire.
TV Guide Magazine: How will your show change the face of TV as we know it?
Haas: We're hoping to craft some legendary TV moments, the way people talk about the great episodes of ER, and give you characters people want in their living rooms for the next 15 years.
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