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Don't Worry! Red Band Society Won't Have a Body Count

Red Band Society

Red Band Society focuses on a group of sick kids at a children’s hospital, but viewers won’t have to face the grim prospect of watching them die.

“Eighty-five percent of all kids who go to the hospital recover,” writer-executive producer Margaret Nagle said at the Television Critics Association fall previews on Sunday. “It is not a show that has a body count. That is not where the show lives. [It's about]: What if you were able to learn what life is all about when you were old enough to do something about it?”

Fox at the TCA fall previews: Get the latest news

The complex, vibrant culture of children’s hospitals is a subject near and dear to Nagle’s heart. She practically grew up in one, having visited her older brother Charlie, who was in a coma for years. In fact, he was the inspiration for the character Charlie (Griffin Gluck), a 12-year-old boy who narrates the series while he’s comatose. The real-life Charlie, who eventually woke up, revealed that he could hear and smell what was around him, a detail that Nagle wrote into the show.

Beyond Charlie, the show also features kids who have cancer, cystic fibrosis, an eating disorder and an enlarged heart, among other ailments. The unique atmosphere throws kids together who normally wouldn’t associate with each other in school. Together, they go through such typical teen rites of passage as first kisses and using fake IDs to buy beer. Wilson Cruz, who plays Kenji Gomez-Rejon, acknowledges a passing resemblance to classic teen comedy The Breakfast Club. “There are these archetypes… Who you think they are is not who they are,” he said. “You will be surprised by who they become to you and who they become to each other. Watching that happen will be very magical.”

Nagle hopes to take that connection one step further. “There’s an actor from The Breakfast Club I really want” to guest-star on Red Band Society” [to play a pathologist],” she said.

Red Band Society premieres on Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 9/8c on Fox. Watch the trailer here


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