Katherine Heigl is leaving Grey's Anatomy!!! (just not permanently)
If only it were permanent. (Commence booing and hissing at your leisure.)
Turns out that Meredith Grey's temporary departure from Grey's Anatomy this coming sixth season (Ellen Pompeo is going out on maternity leave) won't be the only character taking leave from the halls of Seattle Grace. Katherine Heigl's chock-full-o'-cancer Izzie Stevens will be going MIA for a few episodes as well.
If you're like me, the how and why doesn't really matter because this is just delightful news (my dislike for Heigl and her outbursts is no secret), but the details and spoilers are after the jump if you really want to know.According to Jennifer Godwin over at Watch With Kristin, Heigl has been granted leave by the powers that be to -- wait for it -- shoot a movie! Considering the recent comments made by ABC prez Steve McPherson at the TCA, this is shocking. With all the crap she's spewed, you'd think that rather than give in to Heigl's obvious desire to advance her film career, they'd want to torture her and give Izzie a story where she gets leprosy, loses both legs, and literally can't leave Seattle Grace. But no, Heigl is heading off to film a date flick with Josh Duhamel.
Believe it or not though, this gets juicer. How can they get by with both Mer and Izzie gone? Godwin goes on to report that a major plot this season involves Seattle Grace merging with their cross-town rival hospital Mercy West. That means an influx of new characters and would explain the casting bonanza the drama has experienced the past few days - there's going to be a lot of new faces wandering the halls.
Why the merge? Longevity. Apparently ABC would like Grey's Anatomy to reach Law & Order or ER status and stay on for a decade or more. This merge will be the first real test to see if older characters can leave and newer ones can be rotated in. More characters means more options.
Makes sense and I find the attempt admirable, but you know what actually bugs me about this more than anything? Say the show is still on in five or six years with an entirely different cast as we know it right now. It'll still be called Grey's Anatomy and that just won't make sense anymore. It hardly makes sense right now as Meredith hasn't truly been the focal point of the show since early on in season two. Although, they did introduce Lexie and Thatcher could have easily had six or seven more illegitimate children while in a drunken stupor... nevermind.
If longevity was the goal, giving it a more generic name alá Chicago Hope or St. Elsewhere might have been a smarter move. Although, who knows - maybe the show will actually suck without Izzie, fans will complain, and the title will get changed to Izzie Stevens, MD.