Shonda Rhimes wasn’t talking about the elephant in the room – the upcoming end of contracts for “Grey’s Anatomy” stars, including Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey – on Tuesday at the Television Critics Association Winter Session, where she was promoting her new show for ABC, “Scandal,” but she confirmed her own commitment to the medical drama.
“I think that we’re all interested in doing the show as long as the show’s interesting to do,” Shonda told a small group of reporters after the “Scandal” panel. “When I’m done having interesting ideas for the show, I will be done with the show, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the show will be done.”
Among those ideas, as revealed on last week’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” was giving Seattle Grace’s power couple – Meredith and Derek (Mer/Der) – their adopted baby back.
“They’re going to get to be parents and I think you’re going to see a lot of joy from them,” Shonda told AccessHollywood.com. “And I think it’s a really good evolution for their characters.”
But how long will their happiness last?
“I think it’s going to last for a while,” Shonda told reporters. “It’s been a great evolution for their characters to see – it’s been wonderful to see Meredith as a mother and what that is and we’ve been having a lot of fun with that. And Ellen’s amazing with the twins who play baby Zola… She’s amazing with those babies and has been turning in amazing performances all season and really been bringing it. It’s been really fun to watch.”
While happiness is there for Mer/Der, Kim Raver’s character, Dr. Teddy Altman, is heading into a mourning period, following the death – on the operating table, under Dr. Christina Yang (Sandra Oh) – of her husband, Henry Burton, played by Scott Foley.
“I think it’s about what happens when something like that happens to you and who’s to blame and how she’s gonna deal with that,” Shonda told Access of Kim/Teddy’s upcoming storyline.
Still, she would have liked to have kept Scott and his character on the show.
“I wanted her [character] to be happy and I would have loved for the opportunity to keep Scott Foley, but it wasn’t in the cards for us, unfortunately. I’m dying to work with him again, because he’s amazing. Literally, like, amazing. People were like weeping on set that he was going, but yeah, it’s part of the plan for her character,” Shonda told Access. “We have a story that we’re gonna tell and we’re excited about it.”
As for Christina (Sandra) and Dr. Owen Hunt (Kevin McKdd), they have more drama in store over Dr. Yang’s abortion.
“It felt like It wasn’t closed for Owen, it was closed for Christina, but it wasn’t closed for Owen,” she said.
There will be some happiness, however, for Chandra Wilson’s Dr. Miranda Bailey.
“Bailey and Jason George (who plays Dr. Ben Warren) are having a romance and that’s a really good thing. It’s nice to see Bailey happy,” she told Access.
Shonda also revealed that Debbie Allen is heading back to play Dr. Catherine Avery in the coming weeks, “because we love her.”
Beyond character updates, Shonda said she’s excited about the upcoming alternate reality episode of “Grey’s” which will see Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) come back to Seattle Grace.
“I think I really like the alternate reality episode that’s coming up because I think it’s pretty amazing,” Shonda told reporters.
“Scandal” premieres Thursday, April 5 at 10:00 PM EST/PST, after “Grey’s.”