Shonda Rhimes on Katherine Heigl’s Grey’s Anatomy Exit: “On Some Level It Stung”


Don't expect Katherine Heigl to return to Seattle Grace anytime soon. Grey's Anatomy showrunner Shonda Rhimes spoke with Oprah Winfrey Sunday night to discuss her latest primetime drama Scandal, featuring Kerry Washington.  The Mighty O asked Rhimes about Heigl's controversial 2008 decision to pull her name from Emmy nominations. Fans of the series recall Heigl told the press she wasn't submitting since the writing for her character wasn't up to snuff. Ouch. Rhimes has kept mum on Heigl's diss until now. Said Rhimes on Oprah's Next Chapter:

On some level it stung, and on some level I was not surprised. When people show you who they are, believe them. I carry that with me a lot. It has served me well.


Burn, Shonda, BURN! Earlier this year Heigl told E! Online she would love to return to her old stomping grounds saying:

I've told them I want to. I don't know… 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 are there now? There's a lot and so she's balancing about 40 different storylines, so I don't know if it fits in to their sort of vision for this season or next or however many seasons it goes.

Good luck with that, girl. When asked by TV Guide if she'd bring Heigl's Isobel "Izzy" Stevens back, Rhimes responded:

I think it was really nice to hear her appreciating the show. At the same time we are on a track we have been planning. The idea of changing that track is not something we are interested in right now.

Watch Rhimes' interview with Oprah below!

 

24 Responses

  1. Avatar of cmleidi
    cmleidi

    Heigl was asked why she didn’t submit. Her comments were truthful (anyone who watched that season knows that) and the media only made her comments into something negative to get a story. If you read her comments, they can be read as matter of fact with no malice, but people don’t want to see that. Makes a better story if she’s an ungrateful brat. This is all so ridiculous considering how another former castmate behaved. I wonder if Winfrey asked about him and how Rimes feels about him and the fact Heigl called him out on his behavior and stood up for her friend.

  2. Avatar of thecourt99
    thecourt99

    This interview was good and I hoped it would have been longer to go into those issues on Greys. What is funny is that before O asking about Heigl, Shonda stated that they have a no assholes policy. Shonda vets people for assholed-ness before hiring them because of things that she learned from the past. O took that as a lead in to a question about Heigl, and I thought that was funny.

    To this day, I think that there was something that happened behind the scenes during that whole situation with Isaiah Washington. Especially since, Isaiah was fired for something that he said to another actor, but was overheard by a third actor who assumed it was about himself. The only people that truly know what was said and the context of the statements are Isaiah and McDreamy (forgot his name).

    As for as Heigl….I do think she showed herself and from Shonda’s statement, she showed it more than once. After all, she did the same thing on some of the movies that she worked on. I am not surprised if Shonda doesn’t want to open those doors again.

  3. Avatar of pjc722
    pjc722

    I was never a fan of GREY’S ANATOMY, not because of its writing or the actors because I thought they had and still have to a point, a great cast and some good dialogue. My problem with the show was how narrow the characters were in who they were and how they reacted to things. I don’t even know any of the characters names other than Meredith (I believe the lead doctor) but I found her to be the most annoying doctor on the show.

    I wish… all the time it never comes true… that showrunners/producers/writers and even the actors themselves just left the show at certain times without it being storyline dictated. I find that the show has been on for so long that it is long in the tooth and not much different than when it began. If the title character of Meredith left the hospital and went somewhere else, or say, one of the other doctors, once her/their residency was completed and then a new character was brought on, it would allow the show to slowly progress and morph into something new and fresh and different. Sadly, like most soaps, the only way a character leaves it through death, dramatic firing, or murder.

    As for Katherine Heigl, this actress has been full of herself since day one of G.A. being a hit! Prior to that she was in the sequel to ROMY & MICHELLE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION playing the part that Lisa Kudrow or Sorvino gave up and Heigl showed not even there could she carry a flick. Since leaving Grey’s, for some odd reason she has never had a hit but they still offer her vehicles to be the lead in. She carries herself as better than most but if put up to the test to prove her talent in a blind contest she would fall flat on her face as an actress.

    SCANDAL has become my favorite show and now has surplanted REVENGE on my MUST WATCH list. LOVE A HOT SEXY STRONG WOMAN in a role!!!

  4. Avatar of alstonboy4315
    alstonboy4315

    Grey’s Anatomy has managed to thrive without that graceless cow, Katherine Heigl. Heigl was/is a great actress, no doubt, but something about her personality and image has always screamed BITCH to me. She seems to have very little natural charm and she’s very harsh. She went off into Hollywood hoping to become the next Julia Roberts, but that hasn’t happened yet, nor do I think it will.

    That’s right, Shonda. Hold your ground and don’t let this diva back on YOUR show. She’s already stung you once and if given the chance, will probably do so again.

  5. Avatar of SoapArmageddon
    SoapArmageddon

    Alstonboy, we’ll have to disagree about the “great actress” bit. IMO there are thousands of actresses who could have done the type of stories she had on Grey’s.

    Hell. Even that Khalil girl on Y&R did a similar job with her cancer storyline.

  6. Avatar of stoney07
    stoney07

    …anybody can cry and whine for twice a month. HAHA….Lily’s cancer was the only cancer storyline that wasn’t really frontburner. I knew MAB made history SOME kind of way.

    Or maybe it WAS frontburner…I think I may have just tuned it out because it was the same crap every day. But back to Katherine Heigl….

    SHE’S HOT. a bitch maybe. Questionable actress, possibly. But she’s hot. So if she’d close her mouth on and offscreen and just take off her clothes, I’d be satisfied :)

  7. Avatar of liason4real
    liason4real

    Woot! I love Scandal! I miss the Emily/Nolan dynamic now that she has a new boyfriend, Jack is in some silly story with his father’s old enemies, and Daniel is mixed up with another woman.

  8. Avatar of blake3b
    blake3b

    Yeah with dissing Grey’s and Knocked Up, which I believe is her most successful film, it doesn’t look good on her. She could’ve done all of GA and still doing movies like Jennifer Aniston did while on Friends, she had one movie out a year that she’d film during the show’s hiatus.

  9. Avatar of flyhigh5
    flyhigh5

    I know I sound spiteful – but I’m glad Katherine’s last movies have been total flops. She has burned almost every professional bridge that made her famous. First was GA, then was “Knocked Up.”

    I think her diva-like GA behavior will always haunt her the most. After the writing team gave her Emmy material the year prior, she had the nerve to call them out. And then she pulled a no-show for the remaining portion of her contract. Shame. Yet, after GA, Heigl chose to move on to the stellar writing of “The Ugly Truth” and “Killers.” Big upward moves Katherine.

    I say, go Shonda – stick to your guns. You gave that brat beautiful material and fame. She spit in your face. Just walk away Shonda and never look back.

  10. Avatar of Cordelia Chase
    Cordelia Chase

    I’ve always liked Katherine Heigl, but I can understand why people take offense to her comments. She’s incredibly blunt and very honest, and often that doesn’t translate well in print.

    I supported her decision not to submit herself for the Emmys that year because she didn’t have the material, especially since won the previous year. I don’t believe she was taking a shot at Rimes, but commenting that her storyline simply wasn’t as strong and she wanted to give her spot to someone more deserving.

    As for “Knocked Up,” she said the movie had an undercurrent of misogyny. I thought that to be true. Should she have said it? Probably not, but I respected her for doing so. *shrug*

  11. Avatar of SoapSnob
    SoapSnob

    I have always loved the Maya Angelou quote – “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” It is very smart and very true. I have also appreciated all the variations as well.

    At the risk of stirring a hornet’s nest, I have to say that, professionally, Katherine Heigl and Victoria Rowell sound like identical twins. But there appears to be a different standard/expectation of acceptance for each. Hmm, I wonder what that is about. ;-)

  12. Avatar of Divatude58
    Divatude58

    [quote=SoapSnob]I have always loved the Maya Angelou quote – “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” It is very smart and very true. I have also appreciated all the variations as well.
    At the risk of stirring a hornet’s nest, I have to say that, professionally, Katherine Heigl and Victoria Rowell sound like identical twins. But there appears to be a different standard/expectation of acceptance for each. Hmm, I wonder what that is about. ;-)[/quote]

    I also see the parallel between VR and KH. With one distinct difference. VR was fighting for racial equality in daytime. Noble. Especially since we all know that Y&R and daytime in general has a race/ethnicity issue. What is KH’s gripe? Issue? Problem? Is there anything other than being rude and self absorbed.

  13. Avatar of SoapSnob
    SoapSnob

    @Divatude58 – “Fighting for racial equality in daytime.” You (and others) give Victoria Rowell way too much credit. Make no mistake, the powers that be in daytime know exactly who are (and have been) watching daytime serials for years/decades. Unfortunately, the majority of the eyes that have been tuning in do not belong to their desired demographic. And here we are in 2012 still “fighting for racial equality in daytime” when the world has long past the archaic ideals that we see on our beloved daytime serials. Just take a look at the canvas of each of the 4 shows left. While they are trying, they obviously are not trying hard enough. While I have wanted to see more equality in daytime and stories that reflect the current decade, I also realize exactly what these shows are for viewers: entertainment, not vehicles for social (or racial) justice and change. And as with all the entertainment that we choose, we can choose to watch. Or not watch. For my entertainment pleasure, I choose to watch Y&R and B&B – probably more from habit (watching Y&R for 36 years and B&B since day one back in 1987) than really being truly engaged as I have been in the past. By the way, in reference to my beloved Y&R, why the hell does every black person work at Jabot? Perfect for storyline isolation?

    Katherine Heigl should be allowed to vent as much as Victoria Rowell is allowed to. From the sounds of her “rants”, who’s to say that Katherine is not “fighting for women’s equality?” Is that not an equally worthy cause?

  14. Avatar of thecourt99
    thecourt99

    [quote=SoapSnob]I have always loved the Maya Angelou quote – “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” It is very smart and very true. I have also appreciated all the variations as well. At the risk of stirring a hornet’s nest, I have to say that, professionally, Katherine Heigl and Victoria Rowell sound like identical twins. But there appears to be a different standard/expectation of acceptance for each. Hmm, I wonder what that is about. ;-)[/quote]

    …Unless there is a worthy cause. Speaking for myself, I accept VR’s comments because they are specifically directed to the treatment of AA’s behind the scenes and on the screen. Regarding writing, VR was coming from the perspective of a person that had recently been given the chance to write a story and it was done well. What she wanted was a writing credit to give her the opportunity to expand. Also, I am more inclined to believe VR because of what I have seen on the show myself. Her complaints have been realized on screen. Since VR left, how often were the Winter’s featured? WTH happened to KSJ? Remember when Bryton spoke out about the same thing and was silenced? Remember when KSJ was silenced? Remember the horrible hair styles/wigs that Olivia had (before the horrendous Victoria hair years)? I saw the inequality on screen, and it was obvious that once she was no longer there to call them out, they did what they wanted to do…which was next to nothing.

    So yea, because I see the bigger picture that is beyond VR herself, I have no issue with her comments. Especially because VR wasn’t just complaining, she was trying to change something for everyone (given all the anecdotes of the stories that she pitched for other black actresses or actors). KH was in it for self.

  15. Avatar of thecourt99
    thecourt99

    [quote=Cordelia Chase]I’ve always liked Katherine Heigl, but I can understand why people take offense to her comments. She’s incredibly blunt and very honest, and often that doesn’t translate well in print.I supported her decision not to submit herself for the Emmys that year because she didn’t have the material, especially since won the previous year. I don’t believe she was taking a shot at Rimes, but commenting that her storyline simply wasn’t as strong and she wanted to give her spot to someone more deserving.As for “Knocked Up,” she said the movie had an undercurrent of misogyny. I thought that to be true. Should she have said it? Probably not, but I respected her for doing so. *shrug*[/quote]

    You know what, if she simply said that she won the previous year and wanted to give someone else a chance, I think the reaction would have been different. Instead, she dogged the writing as not being worthy, implying that she could do better and simultaneously dogging the writers that were there. To be honest, I thought it was a crappy thing to say, but I didn’t trip until she said it AGAIN for Knocked Up. Now, those comments were pure bill. She called the movie misogynistic, yet before she agreed to do the film, didn’t she read the script? I mean, she signed on for the movie, knowing full well what it was about…and then she dogs them? It’s like me joining the cast of a movie about coons and calling them racist after the movie is over. If I really felt that way, I wouldn’t have done it.

    At that point, it no longer becomes an issue of whether she was accurate. Just because you can say something doesn’t mean that you should..

  16. Avatar of Restless Vixen
    Restless Vixen

    AFAIC, the KH backlash couldn’t have happened to a bigger bitch!

    I actually think Heigl is a looker and a decent to really good actress. Unfortunately, her head swelled and she became a diva. My disdain for this woman predates the Emmy comment. Anyone who interjects themselves into a conflict that has nothing to do with them then makes it all about them is someone to watch out for as being a self-interested harpy. By the time the smoke cleared between Isaiah Washington, Patrick Dempsey and TR Knight, the media was asking this woman more about “F-word that rhymes with maggot”-gate than the people actually involved. She had the nerve to talk about Washington apologizing to HER about the whole debacle as some form of closure. Really! I kid you not. I’ll bet if this piggybacker was asked about her “friend” TR Knight today, she’d be all “Who????!!” about it. Until F-word-gate occured, the average person had no idea who Heigl was or any of her work prior to that show.

    Good for Shonda Rimes for seeing this person for who she is. Even if Heigl’s material was shitty that year, why throw the writing under the bus publically? Looks like “don’t bite the hand that feeds you” was something Katherine Heigl was unaware of existing. She’s learning now though, after a less than stellar feature film career.

  17. Avatar of luverica
    luverica

    Katherine Heigl is turning out to be a female version of NYPD BLUE’s David Caruso. He was known to be quite difficult on the set and really started to smell himself after winning an Emmy. His film career flopped and ended up back on TV. I think Heigl has not only burned that Grey’s bridge. She carpet bombed that son-of-a-b***h.

    Honestly, the only characters I’ve ever cared about on Grey’s, a show I watch pretty irregularly anyway, is Bailey, Yang, and Avery (Jesse Williams has to be one of the most beautiful men on the planet Earth). If Heigl were to come back to Grey’s, I would pay her no more attention than Meredith, who’s truly one of my least favorite TV characters ever, but I just don’t see a Heigl return at all.

  18. Avatar of Divatude58
    Divatude58

    [quote=SoapSnob]@Divatude58 – “Fighting for racial equality in daytime.” You (and others) give Victoria Rowell way too much credit. Make no mistake, the powers that be in daytime know exactly who are (and have been) watching daytime serials for years/decades. Unfortunately, the majority of the eyes that have been tuning in do not belong to their desired demographic. And here we are in 2012 still “fighting for racial equality in daytime” when the world has long past the archaic ideals that we see on our beloved daytime serials. Just take a look at the canvas of each of the 4 shows left. While they are trying, they obviously are not trying hard enough. While I have wanted to see more equality in daytime and stories that reflect the current decade, I also realize exactly what these shows are for viewers: entertainment, not vehicles for social (or racial) justice and change. And as with all the entertainment that we choose, we can choose to watch. Or not watch. For my entertainment pleasure, I choose to watch Y&R and B&B – probably more from habit (watching Y&R for 36 years and B&B since day one back in 1987) than really being truly engaged as I have been in the past. By the way, in reference to my beloved Y&R, why the hell does every black person work at Jabot? Perfect for storyline isolation?

    Katherine Heigl should be allowed to vent as much as Victoria Rowell is allowed to. From the sounds of her “rants”, who’s to say that Katherine is not “fighting for women’s equality?” Is that not an equally worthy cause?[/quote]

    While I understand where you are coming from with the watch or not watch if it doesn’t entertain you. And I do agree with that to a certain extent but then I disagree with the implied statement. That people should just accept how things are and not effect change. Where would we be if it were not for people that came before us that forced the door open. This is what change is all about. If people during the civil rights movements had not taken the risks upon themselves, would I still be not allowed to sit at the lunch counter due to Jim Crow. Because if you do nothing then nothing will change. I am glad that those that came before me fought for my humanity. I appreciate that.

    And I am glad that when VR was there she fought for the Winters family and their SLs because it entertained me on screen. If it were not for her I would have never began watching this show in 1992 at the age of 14. The faces of her and KSJ are what brought me in. Even then I did not watch shows that didn’t have any black people on it and I still don’t. Never watched one episode of Friends. Not even when they caught flack and brought in Alicia Tyler.

    This is not necesarily about racial justice and fighting the establishment. It is as simple as having someone who looks like me on a TV show so that I can be entertained. VR understood this. And if her trying to get it for me also was in her best interest as well, then so be it.

Leave a Reply