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Preview: Heartbeat (NBC) - A brilliant but stubborn surgeon with a mysterious personal life

By on March 1, 2016



Originally titled Heartbreaker, NBC’s newest medical procedural Heartbeat is based on the real life of Kathy Magliato, as she wrote down in her book Heart Matters. Melissa George (The Slap) stars as main character Alex Panettiere, a world-renowned heart surgeon who struggles to balance her professional and personal lives. In a case of life imitating art, the show, which was originally scheduled to premiere this fall, had to be pushed back to midseason to accommodate Melissa George’s pregnancy.

The show revolves around the outspoken and stubborn Panettiere, who has recently become her hospital’s Chief Innovations Officer, and is tasked with bringing cutting-edge technology to the operating theaters. At the same time she has a racy personal life that is a full-time job in itself. The rest of the hospital staff include love-interest Dr. Harrison (Dave Annable, Brothers & Sisters), boss Dr. Shane (Don Hany, Childhood’s End), colleague Dr. Hackett (D.L. Hughley, Dancing With The Stars), and hospital chief of staff Patel (Shelley Conn, Terra Nova).

Where CBS’ rather unimpressive medical procedural Code Black revolved around the emergency room at an understaffed hospital, Heartbeat is a character-driven show that mainly focuses on Panettiere, her outstanding medical insight combined with her stubborn persona, and her personal life. This could make for a very interesting series, but if it is not executed subtly enough, it can become annoying very quickly. The trailer solely focuses on the hospital stuff, which looks fine (albeit a little over-dramatic), so whatever she does in her personal life that is supposedly a full-time job in itself remains a mystery for now.

Starting March 23rd, Heartbeat will air in the Wednesdays at 8/7c timeslot, which it will take over from The Mysteries Of Laura once that show concludes its short second season on March 2nd. Heartbeat will have to compete with ABC comedies The Middle and The Goldbergs, FOX crime procedural Rosewood, CBS reality entry Survivor, and The CW superhero show Arrow. Competition is not too heavy for Heartbreaker, but self-starting on Wednesdays at 8/7c is not easy, especially for freshman series. It can really go either way for Heartbeat.

Heartbeat premieres on Tuesday, March 22nd at 9/8c. After that, it will move into its regular timeslot on Wednesdays at 8/7c.