Shonda Rhimes Explains Private Practice and Scandal Cuts, Solves a Grey's Finale Mystery

Shonda Rhimes Scandal CastThings have been a bit precarious over in Shondaland, with both Private Practice‘s Tim Daly and Scandal’s Henry Ian Cusick getting clipped from their respective casts in recent weeks. And that’s all on the heels of Grey’s Anatomy unexpectedly snuffing Lexie Grey, played by series vet Chyler Leigh. (Or is Mer’s sis not dead? More on that in a minute….)

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Showrunner (shows-runner?) Shonda Rhimes, speaking with TV Guide Magazine at a weekend event, addressed the latest cuts, explaining that Daly was a victim of “budgetary issues” as PPP heads into a sixth season that already is poised to be a truncated 13 episodes. Defending the choice to wrap Pete’s story, she said, “Tim’s character had a wonderful journey.”

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Cusick, meanwhile, will not stick around for Scandal Season 2 if only because Rhimes came to realize the show would not best be able to serve the beloved Lost alum. “”[T]here was less for him to do that is deserving of him,” she admitted. “Why hold him back from doing other things?”

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In speaking with TV Guide Magazine, Rhimes also shed light on one of the tragic Grey’s Anatomy finale’s small mysteries — that is, the incongruous wind chime noise heard intermittently during the crash site scenes. A few of the fans hit hardest by the loss of Lexie batted around the theory that the chimes suggested a “dream” and that the crash hadn’t really happened.

Rhimes, though, effectively burst any such “Lexie’s alive!” bubbles, telling the mag, “They were just chimes…. I felt like it was just the tolling of the bells, more stylistic than anything else.”