Scandal's Kerry Washington Pregnant: How Past Shows 'Handled' It, Which Ways Work for Olivia

Kerry Washington is reportedly expecting her first baby, according to People.com, a happy development that may (or may not) have Scandal-ous repercussions for the actress’ TV alter-ego, Washington, DC fixer Olivia Pope.

RELATED | Scandal Recap: The One Where Mellie ‘Minted’ Fitz’s Election Opponent

While it’s probably too early for Shonda Rhimes & Co. to decide how (and whether) Washington’s pregnancy will affect any upcoming story arcs, we thought it’d be interesting to examine how other modern TV shows have handled their leading ladies’ baby bumps — and whether said strategies might work on Scandal.

Click through the gallery below for an octet of ideas, then hit the comments and tell us which template you’d like Scandal to follow!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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63 Comments
  1. Josh says:

    Cover it up!

  2. Eric7740 says:

    As long as its handled/written well and as long as it doesn’t mean less Scandal, that’s what I’m voting for!!! Oh and of course a healthy and happy baby for Ms. Washington!!! Congratulations!

  3. Babybop says:

    Congrats to Kerry Washington! They could always do what Hart of Dixie is doing, just never show her stomach on screen and use a double if they have to…

  4. Oh yes. An Olitz baby ! Bring it to me! Bring it to me now!

    • Rook says:

      No. While I do love Fitz and Olivia, having a baby would weigh her down. Scandal doesn’t seem like she show were the main character could have a baby, it doesn’t fit with Olivia or the show.

      • Mel says:

        I completely agree. It would be disastrous for Olivia to get pregnant. This show is not conducive to babies. Even though Cyrus and James have a baby, it does not interfere with the story line. Adoption + baby sitters + less screen time for James = minimal baby time. Usually there’s barely a mention.

  5. Kevin H. says:

    I’m all in favor of the plan that brings John Barrowman back (depending on how many episodes he’ll be in of Arrow).

    • Rook says:

      I could see Olivia getting shot and being hospital bound for a couple of episode and get John Barrowman to run Pope and Assoc

      • Ace says:

        I think this is the easiest. I’m all for big tote bags for a while, but depending on how filming falls, it might make sense to have Olivia running the show from a hospital bed for a while (it’s the only way that her fashion choices could accommodate a baby).

        Maybe they could entice Henry Ian Cusick to come back and help things out too? John Barrowman would also be good, though.

    • LSJ says:

      John Barrowman’s character was killed on Arrow wasn’t he?

    • Anna says:

      Yes please! More Barrowman, I say!

  6. Anthony says:

    I LOVED the way Desperate Housewives handled Marcia Cross’ pregnancy. She was written out of about a half-dozen season 3 episodes, and returned for the finale after her maternity leave “pregnant”…only to find out in the final moments that she was faking it.

  7. leo21 says:

    Go for the most Scandalous option: WRITE IT IN! I would love to see how Shonda handles a Who The Daddy story.

  8. Mary says:

    Cover it up with purses, furniture, and whatever else the director can think of. I’m not ready for Olivia Pope to be a mother, it would take away from her being a fixer. Plus I don’t feel like watching “who’s the daddy”.

  9. Cheyenne says:

    When Mariska Hargitay was pregnant on Law & Order SVU they shot her from the waist up when she started to show. That seems like the most sensible way to handle Washington’s pregnancy.

    I will say right now: if Shonda write some cheap babydaddy shenanigans (Fitz vs Jake) into the story arc, I am done. If she stoops that low, the series is done.

  10. Marcia Cross was actually pregnant during Season 3 of DH and they covered it up with objects until she left for a couple of episodes. Then in Season 4 the fake pregnancy happened on the show and Marcia Cross was no longer pregnant. Just thought I’d point that out.

    • the girl says:

      How annoying. So you could have done the fake pregnancy storyline when she was Actually pregnant… but you didn’t. Wow.

    • Jess says:

      I think that’s happened a few times on shows. The actress gets pregnant and they cover it up only for the writers to make the character pregnant a season or two later. So the actress basically goes from being real pregnant to fake pregnant in a two year span.

  11. the girl says:

    Yeah, definitely do not write it into the storyline. Cover that sucker up to the best of your ability. Have Huck or Quinn conveniently standing in front of Olivia at all times. Have her sitting down in every single meeting. Or doing press conferences in front of huge podiums. No babies on Scandal.

  12. Miss VCI says:

    as interesting as it would be to write in it. President’s love child and all. I just wouldn’t believe Olivia Pope having an unplanned/unexpected pregnancy. Plus Shonda seemed to ignore most of Grey’s Anatomy pregnancies, so i’m sure she’ll ignore this one but even that is hard with Olivia Pope’s fashion sense.

  13. Sophonisbe says:

    That would be really bad if the pregnancy was written in the show. Well the pregnancy itself could be ok, but what to do with a baby next ?
    Or… they show the pregnancy, and then the baby dies… problem solved.

  14. TVPeong says:

    Congratulations to Kerry and her husband!

  15. ozi says:

    write it in an screw with mellys head. she has a baby with fitz, olitz would have a baby. that will be awesome.

  16. steven says:

    You may have included what happened to Lily during Alyson Hannigan’s first pregnancy, but you forgot to include Lily avoiding Barney after hearing a really dirty joke from him.

  17. Jan says:

    Does no one else think that it’s sort of irresponsible for everyone to be speculating on Kerry Washington’s pregnancy? It seems like no one from her camp (or husband’s) has actually confirmed it–everyone is citing People or US Weekly, which both cite a source “close” to Ms. Washington. I’m not saying that she isn’t pregnant, but shouldn’t we all wait to speculate until she actually decides to share the news (if she ever does)?

  18. David4 says:

    Congrads!!!

    I say a mixture of jackets and storytelling can hide it. I don’t see her getting huge so it shouldn’t be a huge problem. The bigger issue is her leaving after having the baby.

    I say we have her disappear for a few episodes and it turns out her dad threw her in the hole. :)

  19. ChicagoDan says:

    Thanks to Hunter Tylo’s landmark case (firing from MP before she filmed because she was pregnant), shows started to get creative in working around an actresses’ pregnancy. On MP, Heather Locklear was never show as pregnant even though she was far along. Since KW is the lead, it’s going to be tough to have entire episodes without her. It really depends on how far along they are with the season. Could be a great mystery, having her kidnapped or missing. Oh, and that’s great news for KW, she is a class act.

  20. Fernanda says:

    Heather Locklear was also pregnant on Melrose Place season 5, they began filming early n order to Heather could filme her scenes before she gave birth her daughter. 90210’s Jenny Garth was pregnant too and her belly was very big at the beginning of season 8. Kelly was shot by delinquents and had to rest in a hospital. Charisma Carpenter was pregnant in season 4 of Angel, the writers created a storyline about a crazy demon goddess who also created a human by one soulless vampire (Darla) and our vampire with a soul. Sadly that storyline ruined Cordelia’s character and she ask to leave the show in the next and final season.
    Shonda could manage their actresses pregnancies but I still remember the sad storyline about Amelia’s pregnancy on Private Practice season 5. I hope that situation never happens on Olivia’s character

  21. azu says:

    Who cares! Write Olivia pope out from a couple of episodes and make rowan either kill her off or at least throw her in the hole. I’m tired of her behaviour this season any way!!

  22. Sunny says:

    Congrats to the new mom and dad-to-be :) But I hope they do NOT write in the pregnancy, I don’t see it fitting into the storyline.

  23. mirvin365 says:

    I think Daddy Pope should kidnap Liv for some episodes under the pretense of protecting her from herself, so to speak. Then have Fitz & Jake have to work together to find her while Abby & Harrison battle out on who’s running Pope & Assoc. Plenty of drama there. And maybe they can film several scenes with Liv months in advances, like on soaps, and edit them in specific EPs later.

  24. Joy says:

    Congrats to Kerry and her husband Nnamdi. I hope they don’t write it into the show. It would make for bad story telling right now. I am not interested in a WTD story, I believe they are 6 episodes ahead so they will probably be done shooting the season before she really starts showing. She’s supposedly due in late Spring.

  25. Apples says:

    Writing in a pregnancy and making it believable is tricky. For me, Bones jumped the shark and lost me as a viewer when they made the lead couple get together so fast after so many years of UST thanks to the pregnancy.
    .
    On NCIS LA, Daniela Ruah’s pregnancy is smartly not being written into the show because the ship-tease they have between her character and Deeks is not ready for any such drama.
    .
    For more believable couples in a realistic stage of their relationship, it is much easier to write in a pregnancy. On Alias, for example. If Stana Katic got pregnant and they had to write one in on Castle, that’d work.

    • cas says:

      So what you are saying is that you were not really a fan of Bones? Because while okay maybe they could have written the story a little different, that lead couple had been beating around the bush for years and they were headed that way anyway.

      • Apples says:

        I was a fan, I watched every episode till the end of that season. But I wanted to see the actual romance bloom, blossom and grow from first kiss to having them start a family organically, not just have them sleep together in a rush and for Bones to announce it the next episode. It felt very anti-climactic and false and I thought a disservice to the characters.
        .
        So when I did not enjoy the story, I quit watching the show. There is no “fandom contract” saying I have to keep watching come hell or high water.

  26. Scott says:

    My favorite covering scheme was when Kelly Ripa was pregnant back when she was Hayley on All My Children. They’d had her carrying all sorts of things — potted plants, a big vat of chocolate pudding (she was running a restaurant) — it was hilarious to watch it.

  27. I think since this is a top story and we all know that Kerry Washington is pregnant, why insult the viewers by making up another reason. Without that knowledge, it could be plausible. If her pregnancy is not addressed, it will become a major distraction on the show.

  28. Maryann says:

    My first choice would be to write it into the story line.

    Or if that isn’t feasible, then a combination of hiding behind furniture, and letting the Gladiators have more focus for a while so that Kerry isn’t so stressed, with maybe her missing for no more than a couple of episodes.

  29. Red says:

    There have been a lot of successful “hiding it” attempts over the history of television. Apparently you can still shock some trekkies by saying that Gates McFadden (Beverly Crusher) was pregnant during the run of the show, and in fact was rather pregnant when they filmed the episode The Host.

    Some shows work at hiding it better than others.

  30. Carol says:

    I’m telling you, those Prada bags Olivia Pope carries can hide a baby bump!

  31. John 1138 says:

    They’re doing #8 with Hart of Dixie and it’s quite cute to see the imagination. Pompoms on a car windshield! They’ve also segued into using a body double for some torso and long shots.

    Lemon’s making it work.

    • Mel says:

      During the first 2 episodes of Heart of Dixie I was slightly distracted by Jaime King’s pregnancy (due to the fact she was previously so painfully thin), and now she looks just perfect. Now that I am used to the extra weight in her face, neck and arms, I completely forgot about the pregnancy. You are right John, Lemon’s making it work.

  32. Lee Whitman says:

    There’s also a #9 which is a combination of a couple of these. Rachel Griffiths’ was pregnant in the final season of Six Feet Under. While they wrote it into the show, she also “gave birth” in the first few moments of the final episode (but was still VERY pregnant for the rest of the shoot.) So, for the rest of the finale they had her wearing black, standing behind pots, holding bags, wearing baggy clothing, etc. etc. etc.

    /The commentary on this episode is actually REALLY fascinating to listen to.

  33. Luis says:

    Uh, Olivia gets pregnant with the President’s baby? i wouldn’t be surprised if it was revealed that Shonda hid fertility idols all around Kerry’s dressing room to force her into just such a corner? (Yes I know Shonda could write this story line any time without Kerry being pregnant, but its just too delicious!}

  34. Kew1224 says:

    I hope they don’t write the pregnancy in the story line. Olivia having a baby would ruin the show. She is much to smart to go and get pregnant with her career in high gear. I’m sure they already have a way to get around her pregnancy . They will do what is best for the show.

  35. Mary S says:

    This seems to be the season of unexpected pregnancies. Jennifer Love Hewitt lost her show because of it, which is a shame, but I don’t think it was the pregnancy that lost the show, I think it was her insistence that the real-life daddy be the tv daddy.
    In the case of Scandal, depending upon where they are in the shooting schedule compared to where she is in the pregnancy, hopefully they can prevent it from showing. And if the birth occurs during the shooting schedule, just write it so that her daddy kidnaps her “for her own good” and sends her away to a tropical paradise for a few weeks. There can be phone calls and texts, maybe, while she’s away but being prevented from leaving the island. Each episode can be just one day, so that she can be away for 3 or 4 episodes that just cover 3 or 4 days in the life of the show while she is trying to find a way home. Flights can be fully booked, no cruise lines go to the island, etc.
    I know the writers are clever enough to find a way to deal with it. But Olivia with a baby just does NOT fit the show, at all.

  36. Mellie’s pregnancy was never an issue on the show. The stories are interesting enough to totally overshadow a pregnant belly. I think Kerry will not do anything that will question or ruin the integrity of the show, pregnant or not.

  37. Debbie Jones says:

    a pregnancy, especially one involving Fitz would take us deep into Sally Hemmings territory, a place I have ABSOLUTELY no desire to go. Now if the story is written as Jake Ballard being the father that would be awesome cause they could get married.

  38. Lolita says:

    I’m going back to season1, Cyrus supposedly had Charlie kill Amanda, then later on we hear Billy Chambers say he killed her, my question is which one of them killed her or had her killed?

  39. Malaikah says:

    Please write in the gladiator baby! I can see an entire season of is it Fitz or Jake’s? Babies do not stop us from performing our daily roles people, and, women are known to get more amorous when pregnant. Plus Fitz loves babies and two hot men pandering to her every whim – yummy!

  40. Aisha says:

    Olivia should be pregnant with fitz. The kind of love they share, I think makes them ok to have a love child. She can refuse to discuss who the baby daddy is. Since she now has 2 men in her life. People won’t be too suspicious

  41. Yves says:

    No Kerry Washington deserves a break. Congrats Kerry, I just don’t see it fitting into the script. All your true fans will patiently wait for the next season.

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