ABC Family’s “Chasing Life” is a somewhat risky move for the young-skewing, family-focused cable channel — a comedy-drama based on a deadly serious subject: cancer.
The series follows April (Italia Ricci), a young woman who discovers she has the disease and tries to cope with the harsh realities that she and her family could not possibly have been prepared for.
“Chasing Life” has already filmed 21 episodes, and the Season 1 finale features April going through her first week of chemotherapy and “all that goes with that,” executive producer Patrick Sean Smith told reporters Tuesday at ABC Family’s Television Critics Association panel.
“Which I’ve never seen before,” Smith continued. “It was amazing to do the research and hear what kind of toll it can take on a person physically and psychologically, spiritually, emotionally — and we explore all of that.”
“And then past that, there is hair loss,” he added. “There are physical repercussions of this poison that she put in her body. To ABC Family’s credit, they have not shied away from that.”
But well before episode 21 there will be graphic depictions of cancer’s side effects: In episode three, the executive producers pitched a teaser where while at her boyfriend’s house, April goes to brush her teeth and she spit blood into the sink.
Smith was surprised that it got the OK. “When I pitched it to the network, they were like, ‘We love it,'” he concluded.