Chicago Hope Essay

This essay has a total of 750 words and 4 pages.

Chicago Hope

Chicago Hope, David E. Kelly's infamous doctor-drama, premiered on September 18, 1994. Six
years later, the show was canceled after its final season's finale, which aired on May 4,
2000. Even though "Hope" couldn't beat its direct competitor ER in the ratings race, the
show still had a lot of good things going for it. Chicago Hope was nominated for a myriad
of highly prestigious awards during its run. Many of these awards were lost to ER and
other dramas but leading-lady Christina Lahti did receive both an Emmy and a Golden Globe
for her performances on the show. Critic Mark Harris, even when as far as saying, "Lahti
is, no question, the best dramatic actress in prime time." (Entertainment Weekly, Oct. 4,
1996 p.51) Also, Hector Elizondo received an Emmy for his supporting role and people
involved in off screen production won multiple awards. Chicago Hope was loved by critics
even when being directly compared to ER.

Chicago Hope was basically CBS's answer to ER; a drama about doctors, taking place in a
teaching hospital in Chicago, that aired on Thursdays at ten. The cast was constantly
changing due to the constant ratings battle CBS was waging against NBC. Behind the scenes,
CBS put its money on Executive Producer/Writer David E. Kelly who, at the time, was just
coming off a successful run with Picket Fences; while NBC also went with a big name
Producer/Writer/Novelist in Michael Crichton. Also, "Hope" used numerous directors and
guest directors over the course of its six-year run, keeping the show fresh. Aside from
the battle with ER and the constantly changing staff, this show definitely met or exceeded
all of the requirements for a "quality TV" series outlined by Professor Robert J. Thompson
in his book Television's Second Golden Age.

Chicago Hope was not your everyday TV escape. It was a show that made the viewer actually
think about what was going on in both the show and the real world. It brought up issues
that actually affected the lives of the people watching. It dealt with controversial
issues like death, birth control, and AIDS. In the words of critic Ken Tucker, "…in a
fall season with little quality [this is a] solid drama." (Entertainment Weekly, Sept. 23,
1994 p. 52) Furthermore, "Hope" was the brainchild of Producer David E. Kelly, which,
before the premiere even aired, meant that it was of high quality.

Chicago Hope drew viewers with white-collar demographics. Ken Tucker also pointed this out
calling the program, "… the most popular drama in the medically insured world,"
referring to the economic standing of the shows regular viewers. Also, Chicago Hope had to
fight to stay on the air during its battle with ER. This was due in part to the decisions
by network execs that changed both the cast and the time slot numerous times. Furthermore,
"Hope" exploited a large ensemble cast (ten main characters were on cast at the end of the
shows run) that allowed Kelly to explore intricate plot lines and events that would build
off each other. This show was based on great writing and acting with Kelly and his fellow
writers creating plots more complex than the normal TV viewer is accustomed to. In
addition to the intricate plots the show would often carry over from episode to episode,
which Professor Thompson describes as having a memory. These elements made the show much
more involved while adding a feel of pronounced realism.
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