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Katherine Heigl & T.R. Knight: Are they really set to exit 'Grey's Anatomy?'

Knight6_jzwab2ncWhatever story twists the writers are planning for ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," they couldn't possibly be as dramatic - or at least as suspenseful, in the literal sense of something suspended that never seems actually to fall - as the slow-motion goodbyes of cast members Katherine Heigl and T.R. Knight.

This particular bit of off-screen kabuki was heightened with a new report that quotes fellow cast member James Pickens as declaring that Heigl and Knight are as good as gone.

Fans have been wondering about the actors' tenure for months. Heigl, a sometime movie star ("Knocked Up") with a well-documented fondness for saying seemingly unguarded and possibly career-jeopardizing things, dissed the series last year with a grandiose gesture, removing herself from Emmy consideration and saying "the material I was given" failed to warrant award consideration. Knight, who was at the center of an ugly gay-baiting incident involving former costar Isaiah Washington, is reportedly unhappy with what he feels is too-limited screen time.

A couple points, however, are getting lost in the scuffle to squeeze some sort of definitive news from Pickens' remarks. First, it may seem like old-school skepticism but we'll ask anyway: Not that he's necessarily wrong, but how does Pickens know for sure that either one of his costars is leaving? Actors are not always the most reliable sources of dish on upcoming scripts, let alone information about what's happening off the set. For the record, network and studio sources have declined comment on the Heigl/Knight issue, as have PR reps for the two actors.

But that leads the second point: Why should anyone comment and ruin all this great suspense? Now in its fifth season, "Grey's" needs all the help it can get. Back in the day - that would be the 2006-07 season, to be precise, when it averaged a record 19.9 viewers - it was ABC's top-rated scripted show and bona fide sensation.

That all seems like a very, very long time ago. Fans have complained bitterly about this season's storylines - particularly the remergence of "Dead Denny," a deceased former love interest of Heigl's character surgical resident Izzie Stevens - and the show is slogging through its worst-ever ratings, averaging 15.1 million viewers. A current arc of interlocking episodes with the "Grey's" spin-off "Private Practice" seems to be boosting the latter show without doing anything to help the former.

So by keeping the Heigl/Knight drama alive, Pickens may have just been doing what he could to help out the home team.

-Scott Collins

Photo: ABC

Comments () | Archives (5)

I am so glad to hear Heigl might be leaving. I do not like her one bit and hope with her bratty attitude that she gets blackballed in Hollywood for a while

Good riddance to them both. Especially Heigl. We award her the David Caruso TV-to-Movies Inflated Head Achievement Trophy for 2008.

Since they fired Mr. Washington, I hoped that the show would tank. Nobody should be forced to accept immorality as a condition of employment.

Seriously, can you just print whatever you want in this article? While Grey's ratings are not what they were in S2, being in the top 10 consistently is nothing to be taken lightly (Grey's ranked 7th in overall shows for last week) while Practice did not come close to cracking the top 10. No offense to the spin off, but the ratings were so low to begin with the only place you caan go is up (or get canceled) and Practice's ratings boost is in large part due to Grey's Anatomy. Try to give them a little credit here where I realize credit is hard to find anymore. Post strike for many shows has been hard to recover from. Given the absurd dead Denny like storylines this show has piled on us, it's a pretty great thing Grey's is ranking so high still.

I find the context with which James Pickens Jr's comments were made questionable. I think the was originally asked to comment on KH and TRK and said these things, but that the actual quotes from him were taken out of context and twisted. All the "reports" on line have two small lines in quotes with all of their suppositions sandwiching them. This is all just stirring up interest and giving the die hard George and Izzie fans ulcers. I really won't believe that TR and KH are leaving UNTIL it comes from a VIABLE source (i.e. Shonda, ABC, TR or KH).
TRK and KH are incredible actors. Greys is an amazing show. I speak for many fans when I say that I sincerely hope they do not leave.


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