Category: Grey's Anatomy

'Grey's Anatomy' season finale: Shonda Rhimes comments on cast exits

Grey's Anatomy
The eighth season finale of "Grey's Anatomy" aired Thursday night and fans of the show were forced to bid goodbye to not one but two cast members -- one of them in a very permanent way.

Although it was known in advance that someone would die in the season finale, there was some question as to who it would be. Could it be McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey)? Or Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) herself?

It turns out that the ill-fated cast member was a Grey, but not Meredith. Her half-sister, Lexie, played by Chyler Leigh, went to that big sexy hospital in the sky. The poor resident died following a plane crash that involved most of the cast.

"Grey's" creator Shonda Rhimes confirmed the departure via Twitter on Thursday night, telling fans, "I love Chyler and I love the character of Lexie Grey. She was an important member of my Grey's family. This was not an easy decision. But it was a decision that Chyler and I came to together. We had a lot of thoughtful discussion about it and ultimately we both decided this was the right time for her character's journey to end. As far as I'm concerned Chyler will always remain a part of the Shondaland family and I can't wait to work with her again in the future."

The other cast member to leave was Kim Raver, who played Dr. Teddy Altman. Her exit was not as grisly as Leigh's: Altman left Seattle Grace to head up the Army Medical Command.

Of Raver's exit, Rhimes tweeted, "I know this season’s finale had some surprises for viewers and the exit of Kim Raver was one of the big ones. But Kim’s series option was up and she was ready to give Teddy Altman a much-needed vacation. It’s been a pleasure working with someone as talented and funny and kind as Kim; everyone is going to miss her terribly."

Fans can breathe a little easier about the rest of the cast now. It was reported by TVLine last week that series stars Pompeo, Dempsey, Sandra Oh, Justin Chambers, James Pickens Jr. and Chandra Wilson all signed contracts for two more years.

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-- Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: From left, Eric Dane, Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey and Sandra Oh in "Grey's Anatomy." Credit: Craig Sjodin / ABC.

Katherine Heigl open to returning to 'Grey's Anatomy'

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Katherine Heigl has a big new movie coming out, "One For the Money," in which she's the main star, but she seems open to returning to "Grey's Anatomy" to play Dr. Izzie Stevens. The question now is: Do they want her?

Heigl was promoting her movie on E! when the interviewer asked her about the potential of a possible "Grey's" return and Heigl surprised everyone with her response. "I've told them I want to.... Being a showrunner and being a writer of a TV series like that is so complicated that, I mean, she's got how many characters on there now? There's a lot and so she's balancing about 40 different story lines, so I don't know if it fits into their sort of vision for this season or next or however many seasons it goes."

Heigl, who left the long-running ABC series in January 2010 to be with her adopted daughter Naleigh, has had a long and rocky history with the writers of "Grey's." In 2008, previous Emmy-winner Heigl withdrew her name from the Emmy race because, "I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination, and in an effort to maintain the integrity of the academy organization, I withdrew my name from contention."

Words like that did not endear her to the writers, although show creator Shonda Rhimes later said Heigl's lack of meaty scenes was a result of the actress' request for a lighter work schedule. During the summer of 2009, she publicly complained to David Letterman about the long hours she was subjected to on set, grousing about a 17-hour work day, which she called "cruel and mean."

When filming resumed in March 2010, Heigl did not show up and was eventually released from her contract, leaving her character's story line, which had recently involved a bout with cancer, unresolved.

As she told E!, "I really, really, really want to see where [Izzie] is. I just want to know what happened to her and where she went and what she's doing now."

If Rhimes doesn't welcome Heigl back to the series, which is midway through its eighth season, she can at least hope that "One For the Money" is a hit. It's based on the first in a long, long series of books by mystery writer Janet Evanovich, meaning many, many sequels. If the fans show up, that is.

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Katherine Heigl has really, really, really left 'Grey's Anatomy'

-- Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: During one of her final story lines on "Grey's Anatomy," Katherine Heigl's Dr. Stevens battled cancer. Scott Garfield / ABC

Fall TV season: ABC's ambitious new schedule tries to 'Man Up' and strike a balance

Manup

In unveiling ABC's fall prime-time schedule, the network's new entertainment president, Paul Lee, played keys of affection to describe his slate of 13 new shows, calling them: "super cool," "a power bloc of drama" and "pure candy."

But one more practical word stood out: balance.

"What we have tried to do is get a nice balance -- stability for our established hits and real ambition for our new shows," Lee said Tuesday morning during a news conference at ABC's New York headquarters, a few hours before he was scheduled to take the stage to pitch his schedule to hundreds of advertisers and influential advertising buyers.

Finding a balance has been something that has eluded the Walt Disney Co.-owned network in recent years. After soaring to great heights six years ago with such blockbuster dramas as "Grey's Anatomy," "Desperate Housewives," and "Lost," ABC stumbled in its search for strong replacement dramas that appeal to both men and women. 

Instead, the network has achieved ratings success with "Dancing with the Stars" and the breakout comedy "Modern Family," and has made more modest gains with "The Middle," "Castle" and "Body of Proof," starring Dana Delany as a medical examiner. 

But advertisers have grumbled that the network, which will finish the current season in third place, was becoming a bit too female-centric. Nearly 65% of ABC's prime-time audience are women.

So now, similar to the middle-aged vixens of "Desperate Housewives," fetching the men has become something of a priority for Lee. The 50-year-old British executive, who transformed Disney's ABC Family cable channel, was picked last summer to run ABC Entertainment following the abrupt departure of former network programmer Stephen McPherson.

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'Grey's Anatomy's' Sara Ramirez to sing on March 31 episode, release debut EP

Sara Ramirez-Grey's Anatomy ABC 
“Grey’s Anatomy” costar Sara Ramirez will get to display her extra-medical talents both on the small screen and off, with a featured segment on the show’s March 31 “musical event” episode in which she’ll sing one of the songs from her soon-to-be-released debut EP.

That four-song collection will arrive March 27 on iTunes, with “The Story,” the Phil Hanseroth song her character, Dr. Callie Torres, will sing on the show. A different version of "The Story" will be included on the EP, along three others that Ramirez wrote or co-wrote.

Series executive producer Shonda Rhimes says the March 31 episode will be “Callie-centric” as it extends a platform for Ramirez to launch her career as a singer-songwriter.

-- Randy Lewis

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Photo of Sara Ramirez, right, as Dr. Callie Torres, and T.R. Knight from a 2007 episode of "Grey's Anatomy." Credit: Vivian Zenk / ABC.

'Grey's Anatomy': It's not a finale without a body count

120260_577_pre "Grey's Anatomy" has a history of strong finales. With the exception of Cristina's wedding -- which I'll excuse because that was the year of the writers' strike -- each season-ender has been poignant enough to move me to tears. This year, I was too stunned to cry.

The finale, "Sanctuary / Death and All His Friends," turns the hospital from a sanctuary into a battle field. Mr. Clark returns, still upset by his wife's death at the hand of Webber, Lexie and McDreamy despite the board's ruling that the doctors made the right decisions.

This time, he wants revenge of the "eye for an eye" variety, and he's got the jacket full of ammunition to prove it.

It's been 11 years since the Columbine High School massacre, and only three since the Virginia Tech massacre. Despite the fact that "Grey's Anatomy" takes place in a hospital, not a school, the episode couldn't help but recall those memories. Like a school, a hospital is a safe place. It's somewhere people go to be taken care of and nurtured. To be honest, this episode was hard for me to watch.

Death is a common occurrence on "Grey's Anatomy;" someone dies in nearly every episode. However, it's never been a violent, intentional death at the hand of another human being. I don't know what the body count was from Mr. Clark's shooting spree, but I expect we'll find out next season. What I do know is that Seattle Grace will never be the same.

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Upfronts: Why ABC benched Shonda Rhimes' and Matthew Perry's new shows

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When ABC announced its fall lineup Tuesday morning, there were a couple of glaring omissions: Shonda Rhimes' new medical drama, "Off the Map," and Matthew Perry's single-camera comedy, "Mr. Sunshine."

Both of those shows packed some buzz behind them during pilot season and were picked up, but ABC didn't schedule them for the fall. Why?

Created by Jenna Bans ("Grey's Anatomy") and produced by Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers ("Grey's Anatomy," "Private Practice"), "Off the Map" is about five young doctors who run from their personal demons to a tiny town in the South American jungle that has one understaffed medical clinic. Hoping to score gold again with a post-"Desperate Housewives" mid-season launch, as it did with "Grey's," ABC has opted to premiere the series next year on Sundays after "Housewives." To make room for the new show, the network plans to move "Brothers & Sisters" to a new night.

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"Mr. Sunshine"
stars Matthew Perry, who has co-written the pilot, as the self-involved manager of a second-rate San Diego sports arena who begins to reevaluate his life after his 40th birthday. The single-camera comedy, along with the comedy "Happy Endings," has been held because there was no time slot available. By choosing to premiere "No Ordinary Family," on Tuesdays at 8 p.m., the network lost its only hour available to pair the two comedies. Both of them are expected to premiere in late fall, after ABC can evaluate the performance of the seven new series it has scheduled.

-- Maria Elena Fernandez

twitter.com/writerchica

Top photo: John Galindez and Jason George in "Off the Map." Credit: Craig Sjodin / ABC. Bottom photo: The cast of "Mr. Sunshine," from left to right: Portia Doubleday, Nate Torrence, Allison Janney, Matthew Perry, James Lesure and Andrea Anders. Credit: Bob D'Amico / ABC

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'Grey's Anatomy': Fat jokes, a confession and ... a mature adult decision?

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Thursday's episode of "Grey's Anatomy" began with a little sensitivity training from Dr. Bailey. "R.O.C." was the watchword: reaction, observation and communication. From these doctors? I don't think so.

The reason for the extra reminder was Bobby -- a man who was so heavy he had to be brought in on a flatbed truck. When he stood to try to walk a few feet, his ankle snapped under his own weight. Though the fat jokes practically wrote themselves, Bobby is one of the most compelling patients we've met this season on "Grey's."

Some of the doctors view him as pathetic and helpless. Alex sees Bobby himself as the villain: "I got a good one. What did they call the guy who was so fat he couldn't get out of the house? Dead. And selfish. Because you left a 700-pound mess for your wife to clean up.'' Bobby's beautiful wife completely adores him, fiercely standing up for him when she walks in on the doctors comparing a hamburger and a French fry to figure out how she and her husband have sex.

After one of the most gruesome surgery scenes we've seen -- both because of the layers of fat and the perforated bowel -- Bobby survives the operation. Whether his new lease on life will last is yet to be discovered, but we hope that his wife's pregnancy will inspire him to clean up his act.

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'Grey's Anatomy': He's a Sloan all right

119706_0025_preDoes Shonda Rimes have babies on the brain or what? Both "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice" have focused on wanting babies, keeping babies and giving babies up. In "Hook, Line, and Sinner," Thursday's "Grey's Anatomy" episode, Mark's daughter Sloan finally had her son ... making Mark officially the hottest grandpa ever. Lucky for us, they decided to cast a real baby in the role instead of using one of the awful dolls they've taken to substituting in.

I'll admit it. Despite my better judgment, I really wanted Mark to keep that baby. I didn't care whether his daughter Sloan was in the picture or not -- Mark was just so proud of that baby.

Of course, logically, I know that Mark adopting his grandson is 10 kinds of a bad idea, but with everything that's been going on with Callie and Arizona, it seemed that someone who wants a baby should have one. Right?

With some coaxing from Arizona, Mark finally realizes that it's in the child's best interest to go with the adoptive parents. It's been easy to forget this entire time that Sloan is Mark's child too. He doesn't need a brand-spanking new one ... he's got the 18-year-old one who is still desperately in need of guidance. It's not too late for him to be a dad. I really hope that Sloan stays on the show -- if not as a regular, then at least for an occasional visit.

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'Grey's Anatomy': You can't pick your family

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Every episode of "Grey's Anatomy" has a theme of some sort; that's the whole point of the Meredith voice over. Tonight's episode, "Sympathy for the Parents," was a little heavy-handed with the theme, though.

Of course, what I'm talking about is the theme of family. According to the MVO, "every aspect of our lives, all our thought processes and behavior patterns, are the direct result of our relationship to our parents."

After six seasons, we already see the Seattle Grace doctors as a family - a dysfunctional, incestuous family, but a family nonetheless. It's easy to forget that there are actual blood-related people in their lives. I hadn't thought of Alex's family, or what his childhood may have been like, so I was as surprised as he was when his brother Aaron (Jake McLaughlin) showed up out of the blue seeking medical advice.

Since Aaron, a mover, doesn't have health insurance, Alex convinces Bailey to operate on Aaron's umbilical hernia pro-bono. While he's being prepped, Aaron spills the beans about Alex's past. Alex, along with Aaron and their now-17-year-old sister, Amber, spent their childhood in and out of foster homes. Alex had to steal food for his family when he was 11, which landed him in juvie. Though Alex hasn't been home in seven years, he sends money and medicine back every month.
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'Grey's Anatomy': Wartime memories overwhelm Owen

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In Thursday night's "Grey's Anatomy" episode, "Suicide is Painless," we got a long-overdue glimpse into Owen and Teddy's army deployment. We've always been aware of Owen's severe post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, but they were put on the back burner after he stopped waking up choking Cristina in her sleep.

This week, a lung cancer patient named Kim (Sara Gilbert) brings Owen's issues back to the surface when she asks Teddy to end her life through physician-assisted suicide. Owen, serving as the required second doctor present to witness Kim declare her wishes, begins to experience flashbacks.

Though the initial images of army life are pleasant, with Teddy and Owen flirting and rough-housing with their comrades, things soon turn ugly when Owen and his captain hit a bomb while transporting a patient. Owen and Capt. Dan survive the crash, but Dan's injuries are severe. His body looks wrecked, and when he moves his hand away from his neck, he begins to gush blood. Owen puts pressure on the wound, desperately holding onto his friend, though the moment he moves, Dan is going to die.

Eventually, Dan knows that death will be his least painful option. He asks Owen to let him go, and Owen does. He watches his friend bleed out on the ground just before Teddy arrives in a rescue helicopter.
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Katherine Heigl has really, really, really left 'Grey's Anatomy'

CVR1096-1 Entertainment Weekly's new cover story is about Katherine Heigl coming clean that she left the TV show that made her a star in January and won't return for a send-off.

Rumors about Heigl leaving "Grey's Anatomy" began right about the time "Roots" was on the air, but this time ABC confirms Heigl is gone.

In an excerpt of the article released today,  Heigl says, "I am done. We just finalized our agreement. Everyone had been working really hard to find an amicable and gracious way of letting go and moving on. It’s sad but it’s what I wanted.”

Heigl, who has been on maternity leave, explained that adopting a daughter has changed her priorities and she no longer wants to work full time. She was scheduled to appear in the season's last five episodes. But ABC Studios allowed her to leave without fulfilling that part of her contract.

That means the Jan. 21 episode was Izzie Stevens' last hurrah.

“I know I’m disappointing the fans,” she said to EW. “I just had to make a choice. I hope I made the right one.”

Hmm. Is she really? Do you feel disappointed?

— Maria Elena Fernandez (follow me on Twitter @writerchica)

Photo: Entertainment Weekly cover. Credit: Entertainment Weekly

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'Grey's Anatomy': Love is in the air for Bailey

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In Thursday night's new episode of "Grey's Anatomy," titled "Push," Hunt and Webber kicked up the competition for the Harper Avery Award, battling over how to handle a patient's seemingly inoperable tumor.  Of course, after spying and subterfuge, the men realized that working together to save lives is more important than working apart to win titles.  Awww.

Meredith and Derek have barely shared any screen time in weeks, and fans are beginning to make some noise about it!  Show runner Shonda Rhimes took to Twitter tonight to promise fans that "More mer/der is coming."

Though that particular couple may have taken a backseat lately, this episode introduced a new possible love connection: between Mark and Teddy. Mark and Teddy are being presented as the latest Seattle Grace romance, but there's an insincerity to the story.  As Callie said, Teddy is "age appropriate, and she probably wants kids," which is what Mark is apparently looking for.  Unfortunately I'm not convinced that Mark and Teddy make a good match. 

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