Scandal Has Only One More Season To Go!
Shonda Rhimes drama starring Kerry Washington will end with its previously announced seventh season. ABC, producers ABC Studios and Shondaland declined comment.
Says ‘Scandal’ star Kerry Washington: “In my lifetime, I had never seen a black woman at the center of a television drama. When I read the script, I was absorbing something that was at once completely familiar and also totally foreign to my experience.”
Rhimes has been vocal about the show’s uncertain future in the country’s current political climate. “I used to know how it ended, and then Donald Trump was elected,” she told The Hollywood Reporter during an interview for its 100th episode. “We had a destination, and I don’t know if that’s our destination anymore.”
In its sixth season, the ABC Studios drama is averaging a 2.7 among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic and 8.9 million total viewers with seven days of delayed viewing. That ranks the Washington-set series as broadcast TV’s sixth among adults under 50 and 11th among total viewers — behind Rhimes’ Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away With Murder.
This season, writers had to scrap a planned storyline that featured Russians hacking the presidential election when reality struck too close to home for ABC’s political thriller. A new president to replace Tony Goldwyn’s Fitzgerald Grant is expected to be revealed before the show wraps this season.
Sources note that Rhimes always saw Scandal as a seven-season show. The prolific producer told THR ahead of season four that her fast-paced game-changing series — inspired by the life of fixer Judy Smith (who serves as a co-executive producer) wasn’t a “10-season or eight-season show. … I’ve already decided when Scandal is ending,” she said at the time. “I think there’s only so much Scandal you can tell satisfactorily. The Fitz-Liv thing can only be told so long and in such a way. … I’ve already decided how long that is and what that’s going to be.”
With ABC set to unveil its new fall schedule for the 2017-18 broadcast season early next week at its upfront presentation for Madison Avenue ad buyers, it remains unclear if Scandal will be held for a midseason return — similar to how the show originally launched its seven-episode first season and season six. Rhimes, though, has been vocal about wanting another abbreviated run.
For its part, Scandal further solidified Rhimes as one of TV’s most powerful showrunners and helped ABC bolster its Thursday lineup. With the strength of Scandal and emergence of How to Get Away With Murder, the network moved Grey’s Anatomy to its formerly troubled 8 p.m. hour as it created a “TGIT”-branded night consisting of three Rhimes-produced dramas.
Creatively, Scandal helped usher in a new era of diversity on the small screen when Rhimes cast Washington as fixer Olivia Pope. Washington picked up her first Emmy nomination in 2013 and became the first African-American to be nominated for best drama actress in the past 18 years and fifth overall.
“I feel really proud to live in a world where a show like Scandal, people can see survive and succeed not just in the U.S. but overseas,” Washington told THR the morning of her nomination. “I had someone from a Japanese network tell me how exited they are to have a woman of color from the U.S. in Japanese homes. … It’s wonderful when the stories we engage in with the audience in such an intimate way are inclusive and diverse on a lot of levels. Our show is inclusive not only with race but also age, sexual orientation and with gender. It’s really exciting.”
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