Katherine Heigl is talking a prolonged leave of absence from “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Gosh, is that applause we hear?

She’s reportedly going to skip five episodes to shoot yet another romantic comedy, “Life As We Know It,”  directed by Greg Berlanti .

But this leave didn’t have anything to do with her loud complaints last month about (boo-hoo) having to work 17-hour days. 

And the resulting smackdown from ABC President Stephen McPherson was not indicative of any network displeasure. 

Or was it?

]]>“I think it’s unfortunate," McPherson said of Heigl's comments during the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour. "It’s not something I think you want to let consume you or your people because it is what it is. People are going to behave in the way they choose to behave."

And it probably also has nothing to do with Heigl withdrawing her name from Emmy consideration last year because she felt the material she was given was not awards worthy.

Nah, just a coincidence.

Except that my inside sources tell me that this ”temporary leave” is an easy way to transition Heigl off the show without causing a big stink.  

Obviously, the leave is being presented like it was her idea. And maybe it was. 

What do you think?

Did we mention that there are three new doctors coming to work at Seattle Grace? Nora Zehetner, Robert Baker, and Jesse Williams are joining the cast as recurring characters.

If Heigl comes back, she may find someone else wearing Izzie's scrubs and putting their name on her locker.

More Katherine Heigl Dish:

Gerard Butler talks about romancing Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Aniston. And Joan Rivers? 

Katherine Heigl, T.R. Knight leaving "Grey's Anatomy." Finally!

T.R. Knight wants OFF "Grey's Anatomy" stat!

How should Izzie die? You get to decide.

Is Katherine Heigl the new Julia Roberts? And why is that a bad thing?

Photo credits: WireImage

Posted by:Elizabeth Snead