ABC Boss Weighs In on the Big Grey's Changes and a Private Practice Without Kate Walsh

Speaking with reporters after his formal appearance at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in Beverly Hills, ABC president Paul Lee shared his forecast for two Shonda Rhimes shows — Grey’s Anatomy and its spin-off Private Practice — as well as one that didn’t quite make it to the schedule.

Asked to weigh in on the many cast changes in place for Grey’s Season 9 — including the exits of Chyler Leigh, Eric Dane (read story) and Kim Raver — Lee was bullish, saying, “If you look at what Shonda’s done… she has maintained the critical dynamic behind that show, the creative dynamism, for such a long time. And I love to see her taking risks and reinventing the show every year.”

Citing the “great cliffhanger” that capped Season 8 with a plane crash and facilitated the departure of Leigh’s Dr. Lexie Grey, Lee said, “We’re excited about where [Rhimes] is going with that show. She is ambitious … so I am fully supportive.”

As for anyone else being trimmed from the Grey’s cast, the network boss ventured: “I think you’ve seen the major moves.”

RELATED | Sarah Drew Mourns Grey’s Anatomy‘s Losses, Eyes April’s Future: ‘She’s Going to Freak Out!’

TVLine asked Lee if, given Private Practice‘s 13-episode renewal and the departure of cast member Kate Walsh thereafter, he was ready to dub this the medical drama’s final season. “No, we’re not [calling it that] yet,” he retorted. Claiming that Private Practice saw a ratings bump with its move from Thursdays to Tuesdays (in part to make room for Rhimes’ Scandal), he said, “We think the show has got a lot of energy, and we’d like to see that continue.”

But has Rhimes presented ABC brass with any vision for what PPP would look like beyond the next 13 episodes sans Walsh, who has announced her exit at the end of her contract? “We’re looking at various options,” he told us. “We’ll see where it goes.”

RELATED | Private Practice Shake-Up: Tim Daly Out!

Later in the aprés-press conference confab, Lee was asked about Gilded Lillys, a period drama pilot that was exec-produced by Rhimes for the coming TV season but didn’t get picked up. “[Lillys] nearly did make it. The script there was beyond brilliant,” he shared. “We didn’t quite deliver the promise of the script, but had we done so, I would’ve done that straight away.”

Do you think Grey’s will be energized by its cast changes? Can Private Practice stand strong sans Addison? Share your thoughts in Comments!

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59 Comments
  1. Ben says:

    Such a shame about Gilded Lillys, I was really looking forward to that.

  2. hello says:

    Wouldn’t deciding PP’s fate now be better now than in six months when the 13 episodes have finished production?

  3. martina says:

    I don’t get how can Paul Lee still support the changes that Shonda Rhimes makes. The show clearly doesn’t reinvent itself, since all she keeps doing is getting in feuds with actors, they get fired or decide to quit the show and then she replaces them with boring characters.

  4. Tom Riddle says:

    I’ve never understood why people refer to Private Practice as PPP.

  5. Jamie says:

    The only time the ratings got a bump was when Addison got her baby. The Season Finale had a 1.8 in the demo. Ouch. There is no way ratings will be good enough for a 7th season. If they had faith in the show, they would have given it a full season not just 13.

    • Actually, Shonda Rhimes said in an interview AND on Twitter she was the one who asked for shorter seasons for Scandal and Private Practice so she could focus better on both shows and not leaving any of them hanging, and that the shows could pick up a better pace. Which juts makes me hate her more and more, because Private Practice is one of the best shows on tv, so, so much better than Grey’s Anatomy and should get at least the same attention. Stupid cow.

  6. Linderella says:

    My guess is Mark goes back to New York and Addison decides to relocate to the city as well to be close to Naomi and to get away from Sam and what’s-his-name (see how forgettable Benjamin Bratt’s character is?). Mark has proven he loves children so he would be great surrogate Dad to Henry. But regardless, PPP without Kate Walsh is just PP.

    • Ace says:

      I can’t see Mark leaving his own daughter (Sofia) behind just to move to another city and raise someone else’s child. I really think that the best closure for his character would be to kill him off. Maybe his injuries from the plane crash are worse than we thought?

      • Russ says:

        I could see him leaving and having shared custody of Sofia. That way whenever they show Calizona at home they don’t have to need to be with the baby and could say its with Mark.

  7. Lois says:

    Sorry, you lost me at ‘great cliffhanger’ in regards to the season 8 ending of Grey’s. It was by far the worst season finale they’ve ever done, the whole thing felt entirely off. Killing Lexie was the worst choice by far, even if Chyler wanted to go, especially considering the news has just broken of Eric Dane leaving too. It would’ve been so much better to leave her life hanging in the balance and not upset a large portion of the fanbase by just having them leave together (or die together even considering Rhimes is so sadistic with these characters) in the first couple of episodes of season 9. I think Rhimes can be a fantastic writer, but sometimes she has to realize you can do more than just kill people off to cause great drama.

    • Ines says:

      ^this
      I too agree they didn’t have to kill Lexie. It’s because of her death that Eric Dane is leaving (the only storyline he had from season 8 was getting back together with her). I too agree Shonda didn’t need to kill a character in the finale (I go so angry by her death that I didn’t care about the rest of the episode), it’s was a big risk and now it’s biting in the ass.

  8. Kara says:

    Whatever. I am done with PP when Kate leaves.

  9. flourisher says:

    Private Practice is a spin off off Greys centered on Addison. Without Addison, there is no private practice.

    • Kathi says:

      I agree, without Addison there is no Private Practice. Grey’s Anatomy is too violent. I fast forward through most of it.

  10. mackenzie_conner@yahoo.com says:

    I think Kate made the smart decision for Addison and fans. Shonda will have to write closure for Addison now at the end of the 13. The show will probably get cancelled because of bad ratings at the end of the 13 then the other characters won’t get good closure. I won’t watch without Kate Walsh.

  11. Mimi says:

    Cooper/Carlotte are the heart of the show (in my opinion) I think if they give all the other characters good storylines the show can go on without Addison.

    • I totally agree with you. I think Kadee Strickland has totally taken over the show. And I’ll raise you Caterina Scorsone, too. I went on to watch Private Practice for Kate Walsh, but it’s these two women that I’d never heard of before that keep me coming back every week. And, I’ll even say, Amy Brenneman, because I love Vi, I just hate the whole storyline with Pete. I’m glad he is out. Honestly, I don’t think the men of Private Practice are nearly as strong characters are the women. And, the women they have in there, definitely worth an hour every week <3 <3 <3

      Grey's Anatomy, though, I'm up to here with it. Shonda Rhimes has been messing up time after time. And the characters just haven't captivated me enough to put up with it. And, after watching Rookie Blue, which is pretty much Grey's Anatomy with cops, except the writer is sensible, isn't arrogant and doesn't piss the fans off, I'm more and more inclined to just quit it.

      • megalion says:

        I rewatched Girl Interrupted last weekend and was thrilled to spot and recognize a young almost brunette Kadee in a small role!!! She appears in the ice cream shop scene.

  12. sharona says:

    please bring Kate in Grey’s !!! :)

  13. BrianR says:

    No Lexie = no watchie.

  14. Hugo says:

    No, please. No need for an Addison-come-back to Grey’s. When Kate will be done on PPP, then Addison should have been done too.

  15. Molly says:

    I do not think the world needs ANOTHER Rhimes programme but I was really looking forward to seeing John Barrowman on my tv every week. So, I’m sad Guilded Lilies isn’t getting made. Oh well, I think he has new BBC programme in the works.

    • Yes, NO MORE RHIMES. After Private Practice is done — because I really do love *the characters* as opposed to the show, I’m so done with that woman. I can’t stand how rude she is to people on Twitter, and how arrogant she is. A total turn off to even watch her things.

  16. Brit says:

    I’ve watched Grey’s since the beginning and while I’m still a fan, Scandal is my new favorite Rhimes show. I’m loving the pace of it and the background stories on the characters. I hope it stays around for awhile.

  17. Lindsey says:

    Private Practice is a terrible show. I only watch because I’m a loyal Kate Walsh fan and love Addison. So long PP after Kate leaves no more crappy show for me.

  18. Sara says:

    No Kate Walsh? No thanks.

  19. alexa says:

    Put PP out of its misery even the STAR of the show wants out of the mess!

    • Ken says:

      Yes. She is so in demand? This is a failing show and theyallowed her to to say she’s leaving to save face as they hope to work together again professional. But the show is over.

  20. ioana says:

    she s insane! it cannot exist private practive without kate walsh!she s the main character!!!no more dramas in my favourite tv series! pls :d just let them be where they belong :)

  21. Jovita says:

    LOL. What should have Paul Lee have said? The truth? I don’t have anything better to put on and Rhimes is saving out butts for 13 weeks because our development teams sucks and I got nothing? Read between the lines people. He didn’t give in to the demands that Walsh wanted for a waning show. This show is barely hanging on with her so I doubt it will last without her. This is the third move for this show. Not a sign of support and with only a 13 episode pickup……put it to bed with some class and dignity and move on already.

  22. Christine says:

    I agree. Why does ABC mess up every show that’s good and with the best characters? And then wonder why they’re behind in the ratings? To keep a show when the main character is leaving, and then not air a show that has promise? SMH. Also, Grey’s was my favorite show and I was waiting to see Lexi and Mark finally get together and then I have to settle for a fatal airplane crash goodbye really,” realistic ” it’s like, they’re daring you not to watch and it will not be difficult with all the other options!

  23. Danielle H says:

    Everything I hear about these 2 shows upsets/angers me. Shonda just messes up good things.. it’s her thing.

  24. Nina says:

    PP with no Kate is ridiculous and not worth it.
    I won’t watch it.

  25. Patti says:

    Grey’s has been terrible for two years. Lexie’s death was it for me. I could stop watching and caring. With Mark leaving though the death of Lexie seems even more unneccessary and stupid. They could have just left together.

  26. Pitchousse says:

    Sure PPP can continue without Kate !!!!!!! I hope so ! The show still alive without Naomie and Pete, why without Addie it will stop ? Okay she was the central character, but if on this season 6 Violet and cie are very present, it’s good for new seasons !
    (okaaaaay, my English is so poor)

  27. mia says:

    That’s a bummer about Gilded Lillies, I was really looking forward to that show.

  28. Ashlee says:

    No WAY! Kate rocks and is the show! It don’t stand a chance of surviving without her!

  29. Carrie says:

    I like Private Practice and all the characters, but I don’t like them enough to watch the show without Addison/Kate Walsh. She is the reason the show was created and why the other characters exist. Without her, the show doesn’t make sense and looses its heart&soul and purpose.

  30. Becca says:

    Despite the fact that the only storylines I cared about last season were Amelia’s and Charlotte/Cooper’s, I would not watch Private Practice without Addison. She’s the heart of the show and the whole reason why it exists. It just wouldn’t make sense without her.

  31. Robin says:

    Tim Daly and Kate Walsh were better on Eyes. I think they could reboot pp w/o AM. Cooper/ char, sheldon/ Amelia, vi, Sam when he isn’t stuck on addy, even Ben could be made more interesting. KW had more chemistry w/ td when he was introduced on grey’s.
    There are other areas of med that could be added to the practice. I will not miss KW.

  32. maria says:

    nope! it would die an embarrassing death without Kate!

  33. TV Fan says:

    Grey’s should end this year.

  34. N says:

    I love CharCoop on PPP!

  35. emma says:

    ADDISON is THE BEST!!!!!!!I love this character sooo much since she first appeared on GA till now to the max!!!! i love kate walsh and i don’t want her to leave the show!!!! :(( but if she’s gone what’s the point to continue without her??? she is private practice!!!PP without ADDIE-KATE will be like coffee without sugar!!!!there ‘s no way to watch if she’s not there anymore:(((

  36. Sam says:

    Please, please put a stake in Private Practice – it is done. Tim Daly is gone this year, and Kate Walsh is gone after 13 episodes. They lost Naomi last year. This show is much smaller cast than Grey’s, I cannot imagine having much of an interest anymore once Walsh leaves – I am going to have a hard time watching it with all the others who have left already.

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