It took 300 psychics and one intuitive wife to come up with the TV show Medium

By: Start TV Staff     Posted: September 19, 2018, 12:49PM

Before there was Medium in 2005, there was a reality show on SyFy called Crossing Over with John Edward. It aired from 2001 to 2004, and it featured the alleged psychic medium giving eerie readings to his assembled audiences. This show caught the attention of a huge veteran of hit TV, the actor who turned talk radio into a popular sitcom, Kelsey Grammer. Intrigued by Edward's show, Grammer was inspired to do a show of his own.

This spark led Grammer to pitch a reality show meant to be even bigger than Edward's idea with Crossing Over. He tentatively called this show Oracles, and his goal was to create a cast of five folks in touch with their supernatural side. After all, everybody knows the only thing better than one psychic medium is five psychic mediums.

The casting call for Oracles drew approximately 300 psychics to the studio. According to Medium series creator Glenn Gordon Caron, they all looked and seemed the same. Nobody really stood out. Except for one, that is. Her name was Allison DuBois, and Caron said, "She wasn’t wearing a muumuu, she didn’t have an 800 number. She appeared to be young and sort of hip and in the moment."

Although Oracles was not fated to become a show, this one psychic Allison left an impression on Paramount studio head Gary Hart. Caron said Hart tried to convince him there was something special there, telling the veteran TV writer of Moonlighting fame, "I’m convinced there’s a television show in this woman," then asking, "Would you like to meet her?”

Caron said no. He didn't believe in that supernatural stuff, and he was sort of ambivalent to the whole idea of the show. It was his now-wife, who was his girlfriend at the time, who insisted he should at least feel it out. Caron said she told him, "Don’t be such a snob! I would think that would be fascinating!" Listening to his love, he boarded a plane to meet DuBois.

Their meeting took place in the commissary at the Paramount TV studios. Caron approached DuBois like a skeptic, but he gave her all the time she needed to tell her story. DuBois didn't try to sell him one who she was. Instead, she told him about her life, and she did so with so much vigor, Caron said it didn't matter if it was real or not to him. It was clearly real to her. The psychic shared vulnerable stories from her childhood when she first experienced the voices she heard, and Caron was impressed by her generosity of spirit. He was also intrigued by one particular part of her backstory that he knew as a TV writer he could work with.

The real Allison DuBois is married to an engineer, a scientist whose life's work is rooted in fact, that can be proven. Meanwhile his wife is a psychic medium, who many doubt, including Caron. How did this relationship work? He wasn't sure, but he was certain that dynamic would make for compelling TV. That's why the character of Joe DuBois on Medium is much like DuBois' real husband Joe.

After their meeting, Caron went home and got to work on the pilot for Medium. That's when his intuitive wife leaned over and tested fate again. Reading over her now-husband's shoulder, she said to Caron without ever having seen the real Allison DuBois, "Oh my gosh," pointing to the character in his script, "This is Patricia Arquette." Caron made the suggestion to the studio and they agreed, and that's how Arquette eventually got cast in her most famous TV role. Not because a psychic saw her future, but because she had one sharp fan who could instantly see how good she'd be in that role.

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