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Shonda Rhimes: Heigl requested lighter story in second half of season - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 17th 2008 6:13PM
Shonda RhimesThe always lively ABC show-runner panel just ended. Included on the panel were Shonda Rhimes, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, Marc Cherry, Greg Berlanti and Silvio Horta. Lindelof made some jokes, and Cherry tried to translate sports metaphors to musical theater metaphors. But we knew one question would come up a few times: How Rhimes reacted to Katherine Heigl's remark about removing herself from Emmy consideration for her work on Grey's Anatomy this season.

What I didn't know was that the most interesting answers would come from my questions.

I asked her how she initially reacted to the kerfuffle. She kind of dodged it, saying "I found it surprising. I have a wonderful working relationship with Katherine. It was surprising; Katie is an outspoken person and we know that already." By the time I wanted to follow up, not only was the microphone out of my hands, but another question had been asked. A few of the critics in front of me turned around and said, "you've gotta follow up!" It took a while, but I did.

I asked her if, as a writer, she felt that Heigl's remark insulted her or the other writers. What she said in response was the best factoid of the session: That the first half of the season, Heigl's storyline (the "Gizzie" pairing) was comedic and light, and for the second half, Heigl requested that Rhimes and her crew use her lightly so she had time to shoot a movie.

So let me get this straight: she asks to have a lighter storyline, then she says she wasn't given the storylines to make her think she had an Emmy-worthy season? On what planet does that make sense?

Did Rhimes feel insulted by the swipe? "I didn't feel insulted." Ok, not sure the rest of your crew felt the same, Shonda. But I'll take your word for it.

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I dont care about Katherine Heigel. She is so full of herself and Izzy is annoying. Shonda on the other hand is great! Let's reflect on 4 years of her great work!

August 15 2008 at 2:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you want to see/hear Katherine Heigl's comments, they may still be on You Tube. When this first happened, I saw a video clip of it there.

July 18 2008 at 12:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maybe that's what Heigl meant to say -- that AT HER REQUEST she wasn't "given the material this season to warrant" an emmy nod. Now IF that's what she really meant, that would be the right and honorable thing to do. By not including that reference, however, it leaves it wide open to assume she was criticizing the writers and the fact that she has not made any attempt to step up and clarify her statement, or to say she misspoke, was misquoted or that her words were taken out of context seems to show that her quote was indeed a snarky swipe at the writers. If that's the case, shame on you Katherine.

July 18 2008 at 10:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lynn Johns

Ok, maybe I'm missing something, but I'm trying to figure out why everyone is in an uproar about Katherine Heigl's comment? All she said (I believe) is that she was not submitting herself for Emmy consideration because she didn't feel she was given material worthy of Emmy consideration. She didn't say, "The writers on my show are awful and gave me awful material" After watching the show last season, I agree that she didn't have a real "meaty" storyline. Not that she wasn't awesome, or the writing wasn't awesome, but let's face it, it wasn't the emotional turmoil that was season two and three for her. Can we please just let this go now????

July 18 2008 at 6:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Lynn Johns's comment

I couldn't agree with you more! I read the quote and even though I couldn't hear her voice inflections when she said it I can't imagine her being the huge brat that the media has made her out to be!

I felt she was trying to do exactly what she said. She wanted to keep the integrity of what the Emmys are. Just because she won last year doesn't give her an automatic bid for this year if her character doesn't warrant the nomination. I think it was very mature of her to bow out.

This is a perfect example of the media blowing a story out of proportion (and yes, that means you too TVS!!!)

Let it go already!

July 18 2008 at 9:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

She was saying in essance, My storylines weren't good enough.

July 18 2008 at 10:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I hope there will be a longer report about this panel. I'm intrigued by the sports/musical mataphors...!

July 17 2008 at 7:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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