The stream of speculation about who’s staying and who’s leaving Grey’s Anatomy has been so constant and so contradictory that it’s hard to keep track of what’s what. The latest bit of news on that front, though, comes from an actual named source, so here goes.
Grey’s actor James Pickens Jr. tells Us Weekly that Katherine Heigl and T.R. Knight, who have been the focus of most of that speculation, will both be leaving the show at season’s end.
“Yes, she is,” Pickens said in response to a question about Heigl leaving at an NAACP Image Awards lunch over the weekend. “Wherever Katherine goes, I wish her nothing but the best.”
Heigl’s character, Dr. Izzie Stevens, recently found out — courtesy of her dead, not-a-ghost boyfriend, Denny (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) — that she’s sick and spent much of the last episode surreptitiously trying to diagnose herself. Reports that Heigl was on her way out (or not) of the ABC have been swirling for some time, particularly after Heigl’s remarks about not being given “material … to warrant an Emmy nomination” last summer.
Knight, meanwhile, has been pushed to the show’s margins of late, only appearing in one or two scenes per episode. Pickens tells Us that the actor who plays George O’Malley “just wanted to pursue other career paths.”
Pickens’ statement on Knight’s potential departure counters recent remarks by ABC boss Stephen McPherson. Speaking to reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour last month, McPherson said he expected Knight to be back next season.
Grey’s Anatomy has already written off cast regular Brooke Smith this season. The show and ABC took some heat for writing off a gay character (Smith’s Dr. Erica Hahn had recently begun a relationship with Sara Ramirez’s Callie Torres), although McPherson said the move was made because of “the dynamic with the relationship was not working.”
Grey’s ends its season in May, which is presumably when we’ll have definitive answers to the two actors’ future on the show.