Grey’s Anatomy alum Patrick Dempsey is returning to broadcast television as the star and executive producer of Ways & Means (fka The Whip), a Washington D.C. drama that has been picked up to pilot by CBS. The project comes from former SEAL Team showrunner Ed Redlich, Republican political consultant Mike Murphy, Nina Tassler and Denise Di Novi’s PatMa Productions and CBS TV Studios.
Written by Murphy and Redlich, Ways & Means centers on a powerful congressional leader (Dempsey) who has lost faith in politics. He finds himself working secretly with an idealistic young congresswoman from the opposing party to subvert the hopelessly gridlocked system he helped create; together, they’ll attempt to save American politics — if they don’t get caught.
Dempsey and Murphy executive produce with Tassler and Di Novi via PatMa and Tom Lassally of 3 Arts. Dempsey’s manager, Joannie Burstein, serves as co-executive producer.
The project was developed and sold to CBS with Dempsey attached. This marks the first pilot order for PatMa, a company focused on amplifying diverse voices. It stems from the first-look deal PatMa signed with CBS and its divisions last year in exchange for an ownership stake in the company. Under the pact, CBS Studios co-finances and co-produces projects, like Ways & Means, set up at the CBS broadcast network, Showtime or CBS All Access.
For 11 seasons, Dempsey starred as neurosurgeon Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd on ABC’s hit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. Following his exit in spring 2015, he starred in two international series, The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair, which aired in the US on Epix, and Sky’s Devils.
At CBS, Redlich served as executive producer and original showrunner of drama series SEAL Team. He also co-created and executive produced Unforgettable and served as an executive producer on Without a Trace.
Murphy has advised such Republicans as John McCain, Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Lamar Alexander, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
CBS is building a high-profile drama pilot lineup, with Ways & Means joining The Equalizer reimagening starring Queen Latifah and Silence of the Lambs sequel Clarice. The network also has The Lincoln Lawyer with a series order.
Dempsey is repped by UTA, The Burstein Company and attorney Mitch Smelkinson.