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Behind The Scenes: The Drama Behind the Drama

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But I think she was supposed to come back after Alex dumping her and Meredith begging her to stay. That storyline was to accommodate Heigls family leave. She was due back to film the final five episodes of that season but Heigl wouldn’t return so Izzies shitty exit is moreso as a result of that then it was writers wanting her gone. 

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That's what I remember. She pissed off the show runners. 

That seems phenomenally easy to do. I remember she had the colossal gall to say she did not submit her work for Emmy consideration one year because she didn't feel like she had the material that year. Naturally, Shonda Rhimes took this as a personal insult. TK Knight and Patrick Dempsey also had the nerve to point out they weren't getting a lot of material and the result was that they were essentially written out of the show, maybe getting one line per episode, until they finally left. So apparently actors are not permitted to express how they feel about the writing their characters are getting without fear of reprisal. 

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4 hours ago, iMonrey said:

That seems phenomenally easy to do. I remember she had the colossal gall to say she did not submit her work for Emmy consideration one year because she didn't feel like she had the material that year. Naturally, Shonda Rhimes took this as a personal insult. TK Knight and Patrick Dempsey also had the nerve to point out they weren't getting a lot of material and the result was that they were essentially written out of the show, maybe getting one line per episode, until they finally left. So apparently actors are not permitted to express how they feel about the writing their characters are getting without fear of reprisal. 

That's what I told my dad the other night, when he asked "why doesn't that guy shut up?" when he was in the kitchen, and I was watching it in the living room. I explained that he wanted to leave the show suddenly, so they had to make something up, and this was it. As we walked back into the living room, George appeared on-screen, so I told him, "When he had problems with his character getting side-lined, they had him hit by a bus."

 

Edited by Anela

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I agree that the showrunners are difficult but Heigls is the one case where I don’t think they did anything wrong. She publicly slated the show the show by withdrawing from the Emmys so they gave her the cancer storyline, they granted her time off which ended up being her ultimate exit storyline because she refused to come back. They wanted her to stay, she wasn’t willing to and because of that her exit was left as it was. 

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On 3/11/2020 at 3:56 PM, iMonrey said:

That seems phenomenally easy to do. I remember she had the colossal gall to say she did not submit her work for Emmy consideration one year because she didn't feel like she had the material that year. Naturally, Shonda Rhimes took this as a personal insult. TK Knight and Patrick Dempsey also had the nerve to point out they weren't getting a lot of material and the result was that they were essentially written out of the show, maybe getting one line per episode, until they finally left. So apparently actors are not permitted to express how they feel about the writing their characters are getting without fear of reprisal. 

I think the issue may be publicly complaining about the show. 

In any other industry if you go to the media and say negative things about your boss/company, you will likely not have a job for long. Making your employer look bad in front of others is generally a bad idea. You should approach them privately with your concerns/complaints.

Now in the case of Grey's maybe they did and it didn't work, or maybe they just didn't care about getting fired.

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As far as Heigl goes, I do not think Grey’s Anatomy did anything wrong. Saying that she withdrew because she didn’t think she had worthy material was just stupid. It may have been true, but it’s still stupid. Then, they granted her time off, and she still couldn’t be bothered to show up and finish her job? Yeah, in this rare instance, I am taking Shonda’s side.

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My stance is heigl burned the bridge between her and Shonda. 

But so much time has passed and heigl has publicly been remorseful of how she behaved but Shonda and co are still being petty as hell when it comes to heigl and izzie. 

It’s like we can’t take into account personal growth over a decade. 

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I think Ellen said it best when she said the early success of the show was hard on everyone. I appreciate that Ellen has never has never put on the "everything was fine!" facade that most actors put on. She even admitted to being one of the actors who let it get to her head early on. Grey's peak was the era where ratings REALLY mattered. It made news when Grey's started passing Desperate Housewives in the ratings. The show took off in an absolutely massive way. It was basically the big farewell of broadcast TV ruling the world. They had both massive ratings and critical success, and the actors became celebrities virtually overnight. 

Katherine didn't show up to set and later said she reached out to the team to ask for time off because her adopted daughter wasn't bonding with her. It's clear tensions were high between she and Shonda, and Shonda made that very obvious in the following years. But Shonda also said she was incredibly overwhelmed as a showrunner. She went from "the girl that wrote Crossroads" to one of the first celebrity showrunners along with JJ Abrams, Marc Cherry, etc. It's a lot of pressure to have that type of $ on your back when you have no experience being in charge of so many things. I think much of the turbulence of the early years comes down to this, on all accounts - Katherine, Shonda, Patrick all had moments of ego overtaking them. 

What bugs me is how long Shonda let it linger. Krista alluded to wanting to bring Izzie back for the 300th episode, and Shonda turned the idea down. 

I appreciate Ellen, Debbie, Krista and Shonda fighting over the last several years to transform the set from toxic to one that the actors gush about. I don't think that was an easy thing.

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@BaseOps - agree overall with your assessment. 

The one thing I struggle with is where to put the firings of Sarah Drew & Jessica Capshaw in that context. Neither strike me as people who contributed to a toxic culture. 

I am on the fence re: Sara Ramirez on that topic. 

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3 minutes ago, cycworker said:

The one thing I struggle with is where to put the firings of Sarah Drew & Jessica Capshaw in that context. Neither strike me as people who contributed to a toxic culture. 

Those were plot based. I get them writing off Arizona because without Callie, Arizona was pretty much just floating around in limbo with nothing to do. Sarah Drew was the victim of the writers thinking that fans would never really accept Jackson in a new relationship if April was still around. Alas, it was all for naught. They didn’t take into account that the majority of Jackson and April’s chemistry came from Sarah Drew’s side. 

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Anyone betting they want the show to reach 400 episodes before finally finishing up for good? Will be interesting to see how they wrap things up and end the show. 
Meredith running GSM??

 

 

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4 hours ago, GSManiac said:

Anyone betting they want the show to reach 400 episodes before finally finishing up for good? Will be interesting to see how they wrap things up and end the show. 
Meredith running GSM??

 

 

Yeah, at this point I see them trying to do this before they finally pull the plug. 

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This is still one of ABC’s top rated shows. They aren’t cancelling it. The only way this goes off the air is when the production company decides they’ve had enough.

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I give it one more season or maybe two tops. As said above I see it aiming for 400 episodes. It wouldn’t shock me if Jesse Williams bowed out this year. He looks bored as hell with his lather rinse repeat romantic storylines that end up toxic.

i know it was discussed already But as I’ve just caught up on season 16 - I though it was weird Alex had virtually zero scenes with Meredith. I know he was at PAC North but still. They went from having poignant moments in each episode to barely any scenes (if any alone) in season 16.

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Krista did an interview with the LA Times. She spoke about Dempsey return. It sounds like when he finished up there was beef with him and Ellen (Shonda too I imagine) but he and Ellen have now made up. 
 

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So I called Ellen, and I was like, “What if in the first few episodes, you’re on a beach in a dream sequence?” And she goes, “What if we get Patrick Dempsey?” In all my wildest fantasy imaginings of who we might get, he was not on the list. Because there was some complexity around him leaving the show. I said, “Are you serious?” And she said, “We just went on a hike together. He really wants to do something ... with masks ... and we’re good. I bet he would do it, Krista.”

Edited by Avabelle
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Link to the full article here:

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2020-11-13/greys-anatomy-mcdreamy-ellen-pompeo-katherine-heigl

She also spoke about how behind the scenes antics always fuck up actual storylines and how usually the fans blame the writers for not being able to come up with a decent ending but usually it’s because of some behind the scene issue that results in writers having to scramble last minute with rewrites. She referred to Heigl as an example. I swear this entire crew hate Heigl. She must have been a nightmare near the end.

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On every show I’ve ever worked on, there are stories you wish you could have told differently, but they were derailed by a behind-the-scenes issue. And that’s the thing that fans don’t understand. So, if you’re responding to fan outcries, you can go crazy because you want to tell them: “If some couple broke up really suddenly in the middle of what was a really exceedingly beautiful arc, that probably wasn’t what the writers wanted! There was probably some s— happening behind the scenes that we had to stay up all night rewriting scripts to try to have any semblance of a story to tell.” That’s why writers have producer titles in television, because you’re not spending two years writing a script and then that’s a perfect script and then you’re shipping it up for people to shoot. There are personalities involved. 

There was a resolution to Izzie’s (Katherine Heigl) story. We had planned to have her come back for an episode to really properly tie up Izzie and Alex (Justin Chambers). And I wrote that episode, and it was beautiful. The day before it was supposed to start prepping or shooting, I can’t remember, we got a call that Katie wasn’t coming. Just wasn’t coming. Wasn’t going to do it.

It became my job to stay up all night for multiple nights and reimagine a script that didn’t include Izzie. And for years and years and years and years and years, the fans scream at us, “How could you?” Well, that’s the behind-the-scenes story. That’s what happened. I’m not saying that to bash Katie. I don’t know what was happening in her life. I don’t know what led to that decision. All I know is that the night before a thing is supposed to start shooting that is entirely centered on one character and the completion of her story arc, I got a phone call that she wasn’t coming to do it. That’s what it is to be a TV writer and producer. So, yeah, do I wish I could go back and do that differently? Sure.

Edited by Avabelle
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Yeah none of that surprises me. Although with the Izzie example she used it was also played out in the media so you couldn't go on any entertainment channel, website, talk show magazine etc without being told that there was BTS drama going on with Shonda and Heigl, her movie career, her baby, TR Knight, The Emmys and whatever else. 

However I do think that there were a large amount of dropped or WTF storylines that were avoidable or could have been better managed despite BTS drama. I know it's not the first example but even with whatever the full story was with TR Knight, George was handled abominably in S5. They may as well have hung up a flashing neon sign that the "Chokegate/outing explosion" was still causing problems when he and Lexie back tracked on their kiss and he disappeared for the rest of the season. In one scene literally getting up and walking away and not appearing again and another being yelled at to go away and again not being in the ep.

I know it's tough and getting the call at short notice sucks ass but it's also both the writers and actors job to make the audience NOT think that a reality show featuring the cast would be better than the show itself. 

 

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On 11/14/2020 at 7:13 AM, Avabelle said:

Krista did an interview with the LA Times. She spoke about Dempsey return. It sounds like when he finished up there was beef with him and Ellen (Shonda too I imagine) but he and Ellen have now made up. 
 

 I feel like I read somewhere right as all that was going down that Dempsey was having an affair.  Ellen is friends with Patrick's wife so I can see how that created tension behind the scenes.. 

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Drama bounds to happen on long running shows...but do you see-as an outsider- actors/actresses in the past and present where you got the feeling that they got along with everybody? 

I always thought Kate Walsh was one of them.

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Washington seems very unlikable to me. And I always appreciated that Heigl stood up for Knight when basically no one else did. That says more about her character than criticizing a storyline publicly.

I really wonder what is it about Heigl that makes people dislike her so much? She's been very polite and nice about the show for about 10 years now. She admitted her mistakes. Why are people still holding grudges and bringing up stuff?

I remember loving the fact that Heigl spoke out against her bad storylines. I didn't even mind that she did it publicly. The George/Izzy thing was BAD. I also remember Shondra giving Heigl bad publicity just before Heigl's own show premiered years ago (which later flopped). And it's not like everyone on Greys hates her. JC seems to be on good terms with her, for example.

I just fail to see why the show sees no problem in bringing Washington back for a few episodes and not Heigl. It's weird.

Edited by sbfan81
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I don’t know that The Heigl dislike is limited to Greys. I’m pretty sure she fell out with Judd Apatow too after slating Knocked Up. I think that her apologies about her Greys behaviour were delivered too late - she was only sorry after her career didn’t take off. 
 

Also the Gizzie storyline was awful but I don’t think she should have been publicly slating the show she worked on. It’s just screams unprofessional and disrespectful. 

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7 minutes ago, Avabelle said:

I don’t know that The Heigl dislike is limited to Greys. I’m pretty sure she fell out with Judd Apatow too after slating Knocked Up. I think that her apologies about her Greys behaviour were delivered too late - she was only sorry after her career didn’t take off. 
 

Also the Gizzie storyline was awful but I don’t think she should have been publicly slating the show she worked on. It’s just screams unprofessional and disrespectful. 

I agree. It just suprises me that Shonda didn't kill Heigls character off. Rumors are going around that Shonda loved to do that with characters of actors she had "issues" with. 

I think there are only a handful of actors who got along well with practically everyone. 

 

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14 minutes ago, Avabelle said:

I don’t know that The Heigl dislike is limited to Greys. I’m pretty sure she fell out with Judd Apatow too after slating Knocked Up. I think that her apologies about her Greys behaviour were delivered too late - she was only sorry after her career didn’t take off. 

Ah but maybe she was genuine nonetheless? Personal growth and all.

Besides, according to Heigl, she apologized to Rhimes in person after making those comments. She also apologized for her comment about Knocked Up, even though she made it clear at the time that she liked the movie, just not her character. I guess I'm more about forgiveness than people in Hollywood 😉

Edited by sbfan81
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I just don’t think she got the chance as Heigl literally didn’t return to the set. It’s funny actually how similar her and Chambers exits were.

What surprised me with Heigl and Greys is that either the network or Shondaland bent over backwards to keep her. She bitched about not having good enough material to work with and they gave her the cancer storyline. She wanted time off to accommodate her movies and later maternity leave and they have her that. She was given a big fat pay check to re up her contract and after all of that she stilll screwed them over last minute by refusing to return to film her final episode of the contract she backed out of. 
 

I think Shonda seems an ego maniac and Greys does seem pretty toxic but I do get why there’s no love lost with Heigl.

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1 minute ago, Avabelle said:

What surprised me with Heigl and Greys is that either the network or Shondaland bent over backwards to keep her.

I think the reason is simple. She was easily one of the most popular stars on Greys who won an Emmy. Losing her could have hurt the show more than it actually did. I totally understand why they wouldn't want to lose her.

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7 minutes ago, Avabelle said:

I just don’t think she got the chance as Heigl literally didn’t return to the set. It’s funny actually how similar her and Chambers exits were.

What surprised me with Heigl and Greys is that either the network or Shondaland bent over backwards to keep her. She bitched about not having good enough material to work with and they gave her the cancer storyline. She wanted time off to accommodate her movies and later maternity leave and they have her that. She was given a big fat pay check to re up her contract and after all of that she stilll screwed them over last minute by refusing to return to film her final episode of the contract she backed out of. 
 

I think Shonda seems an ego maniac and Greys does seem pretty toxic but I do get why there’s no love lost with Heigl.

Oh yeah. Ellen said herself that times behind the scenes were pretty toxic. 

Kate Walsh who appeared to be one of the more  "inconspicuous" actresses from whom we never heard anything bad about said that people on set stopped talking to her when they heard that she got her own show. However, she never addressed who it was. 

It's astonishing for how long this show has been going on DESPITE of what happened bts. 

There are shows (like Castle e.g) which got cancelled because of bts issues.😐 

 

Edited by Spritti12
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On 11/16/2020 at 3:44 PM, taanja said:

 I feel like I read somewhere right as all that was going down that Dempsey was having an affair.  Ellen is friends with Patrick's wife so I can see how that created tension behind the scenes.. 

I remember reading that too and that's what I actually came to ask. Is his affair the reason he got fired? 

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I don't think Patrick got fired, I think it ended up being more of a mutual decision. IIRC, he was already wanting less screen time/a lighter load because he wanted to pursue other things. But I do think the affair with a production staff member made things more complicated because of Human Resources and any possible legalities that could come of that, let alone the effects on his personal life/marriage. So it was best to cut ties. It would explain why the cast couldn't talk about it and how there wasn't a big to-do about his last days filming. 

I think his relationships with both Ellen and Shonda remained at the very least cordial and that they all get along to this day. No bad blood, but that both women were rightfully unhappy with what transpired, personally and professionally. From a storytelling and character perspective because Derek's premature and hasty exit messed up the trajectory of the flagship couple, and also personally in that Ellen is friends with his wife. Ego and poor judgement really changed the course of a good thing. 

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Agreed I don’t think Patrick was fired either but I think his exit ended up more abrupt then initially planned due to the actors Personal life interfering. I think that and the fact that he wanted to leave the show soured his relationships with Ellen and Shonda. Time is a healer I guess. At least with Ellen.

Im still more interested in Chambers departure. It’s probably wasnt as scandalous as his costars but I do still think something went down. 

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5 hours ago, Avabelle said:

 

Im still more interested in Chambers departure. It’s probably wasnt as scandalous as his costars but I do still think something went down. 

I agree, I mean with Knight it was over several disagreements with what he wanted for the character of George and to the point it got where it went. Or whatever the weird falling out with Washington and Shondra, which also seemed to have healed by the time we saw Burke show up with a more proper exit. Something I've learned dabbling into professional acting myself over 20 years ago, things can go south very fast. 

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I thought it was the network that wanted Washington gone and not Shonda? Or was that a rumour due to her and TR/Heigl not getting on.

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7 hours ago, Avabelle said:

I thought it was the network that wanted Washington gone and not Shonda? Or was that a rumour due to her and TR/Heigl not getting on.

Washington did run to NBC for both Bionic Woman and another couple of shows, so I think ABC at the time wanted him gone. As for TR and Heigl it seems it was a combination of both Shonda and the network. 

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