Category: Grey’s Anatomy just broke the exclusive news that Caterina Scorsone, who plays the recurring role of Dr. Amelia Shepherd on Private Practice, has been promoted to series regular. Amelia is the younger sister of Grey’s Anatomy’s McDreamy and is a neurosurgeon just like her older brother. Scorsone even went to medical school in real life before deciding she preferred to play one on TV, but as a viewer I appreciate that she actually knows her stuff.

Amelia appeared in the last 5 episodes of season 3 of the Grey’s spin-off. In April, I reported that she debuted in the episode “Eyes Wide Open,” where she was part of a team brought in to help Kayla, the surrogate coma patient carrying three babies. Her presence really rattled Derek’s ex-wife Addison, though they had to work together to save the patient and Amelia stayed on temporarily to consult for Oceanside Wellness.

Series creator Shonda Rhimes has revealed they are certainly planning a Shepherd-centric crossover for this upcoming season focusing on Amelia and Derek. How excited are we to finally see McDreamy interact with one of his much-talked-about sisters, especially one that followed in her brother’s footsteps career-wise?

Joining Scorsone as a series regular for season 4 is Brian Benben’s character Sheldon Wallace, who had a recurring role for the past 2 seasons as a Psychiatrist from rival practice Pacific Wellcare and was Violet’s lover/possible baby daddy recently turned Charlotte’s new love interest.

The fourth season of Private Practice will premiere on Thursday September 23, 2010 in it’s normal time-slot at 10pm following Grey’s Anatomy. The season premiere will pick up a few weeks from where we left off, giving everybody some time to grieve after Dell’s tragic death.


Last month, TV Guide reported that Caterina Scorsone joined the cast of Private Practice in a recurring role as Dr. Amelia Shepherd, Grey’s Derek Shepherd’s younger sister. Clearly this is another clever tactic from Shonda to get more McDreamy loving Grey’s fans to watch the Addison-centered Grey’s spinoff set in sunny LA. Catch Scorsone’s debut on the new episode of Private Practice tonight at 10pm on ABC.

Episode 19, “Eyes Wide Open” – When famed neurosurgeon Dr. Ginsberg and her team pay a visit to St. Ambrose to save the life of Kayla, Addison is shocked to see Amelia Shepherd – Derek’s younger sister on the team. But Amelia’s presence causes strife between Addison, Sam and Pete when she claims she can save Kayla’s life after Dr. Ginsberg declares nothing can be done. Meanwhile Charlotte seeks from Cooper’s with a sex education seminar for the elderly that only leads to more tension between the two, as they try to figure out how to work together.

Two weeks ago Ausiello broke the news that Grey’s Anatomy creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes agreed to release Katherine Heigl (Dr. Izzie Stevens) from her contract early effective immediately, meaning that she would not return to the Grey’s set as planned for the last five episodes of the current season. But the real breaking news came this week (in three parts) as Ausiello sat down with Heigl in her LA home and she confirmed her exit, as well as revealed her real reasons for leaving. Ausiello also got all the inside scoop on the many controversies the outspoken actress has been involved in over her 6-year span on the hit TV series. Only part of Ausiello’s exclusive interview with Heigl is available online, but no need to fret I bought the magazine to get the full scoop so you don’t have to, so by all means use me, please…

It is no coincidence that as this hot story broke Shonda Rhimes took to…blogging? She guest blogged for The Ausiello Files about the major twists that are forthcoming in the season finale, she insists that this is the real “GAME. CHANGER” unlike those weak ones that everybody else claims to grab attention, hahaha I suppose its worth taking a gander.

Meanwhile, ABC Studios released the following statement: “By mutual agreement, Katherine Heigl has ended her successful run as Dr. Isobel Stevens. The studio wishes her well. Everyone at Grey’s Anatomy is now focused on delivering a shocking season finale and a great show for seasons to come.”

Heigl stated that the real reason she left was due to shifting priorities in her life after the adoption of her special needs daughter Naleigh whereby her busy career was preventing her from bonding with her daughter and becoming the mom she wants to be. Last year Heigl approached Shonda to let her know that she planned to adopt and warn her that she might be leaving the show. According to Heigl, they tried to work out a way that she could balance her family life and her career, “but at the end of the day, there wasn’t a great way to compromise the work schedule that didn’t negatively affect the crew or the cast.”During Heigl’s mid-season maternity leave from Grey’s, she spent three months focusing solely on her relationship with her daughter, during which time she realized that she no longer wanted to work full-time. Before she was due back she asked Shonda again to be let out of her contract early and this time she got what she wanted.

“Even though I know I’m disappointing the fans, and I know I’m disappointing the writers and my fellow cast members and the crew, I just had to make a choice. I hope I made the right one. I had to try to find the courage to move on. And I am sad. And I’m scared. But I felt it was the right thing to do; we just didn’t quite know how to do it appropriately, gracefully, and respectfully to the audience. And I think we all felt it wasn’t respectful to the audience to bring [Izzie] back again and then have her [leave] again.”

Heigl also came clean about her mistakes and admitted she needs to “filter” her opinions. Among the many controversies that contributed to Heigl’s perception as an “ungrateful diva” were the Emmy faux-pas and the 17 hour work-day complaint. Lets see what she had to say about those now that she is sans contract shall we…

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On Thursday, Ausiello gave us the inside scoop that Heigl’s reps and ABC have come to an agreement to release her from her contract effective immediately. This means that Heigl will not be returning to the set of Grey’s to give her character an appropriate send-off. Izzie’s last appearance on Grey’s was mid-season in the episode titled “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked.” Most fans aren’t upset by this news as Izzie has been MIA for the better part of this season and we haven’t particularly missed her.

Earlier this season Heigl announced she would be taking a leave of absence to work on her new movie entitled Life As We Know It and to spend time with her newly adopted Korean daughter Naleigh. We were a little concerned since this overlapped with Ellen Pompeo’s maternity leave but as these past 10 episodes have proved, Grey’s can certainly go on without Izzie. Fans took this to mean that Heigl’s character should leave the show for good and that it would only improve the quality of the series.

Now this is where it gets tricky, its one thing for Heigl’s character to be taking personal time away from Seattle Grace Mercy West Hospital and its another thing entirely for her never to return to see her friends and (former?) husband. Viewers may be happy watching these episodes now and forgetting that Izzie’s character exists but she does and its necessary for the show to address her exit. Without Heigl returning for a proper send-off episode, I can’t help but feel that I’ll be really let down by the time they have to address it. Remember how everyone was so pissed when Erica Hahn didn’t get properly written-off? Well Hahn was only recurring for half a season and Izzie was in every episode for the first five seasons. The other characters have deep-rooted friendships and history with her and we can’t just ignore the blaring fact that she has cancer and could very well die. If they do choose to let the cancer kill her, I can’t imagine how inadequate hearing that story would be versus seeing it, at least in one episode where the crew visits her in her deathbed. Really, any off-screen send-off isn’t going to do justice to her character and will therefore be disappointing, whether you like her or not.

I am an Izzie fan, I thought she did a phenomenal job with her cancer storyline last season and I’m upset that her character switched so drastically from almost being the protagonist to basically nonexistent so quickly. Whether you love/hate Izzie and/or Heigl for Izzie’s peppiness, Heigl’s sass, etc, she has delivered some heart wrenching performances over the course of her time at Grey’s and played an important part in some of the most memorable moments on the series. Remember—there would have been no Denny without Izzie for him to fall in love with.