Rhimes says she and Heigl have a 'wonderful working relationship'

Shonda_l Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes (pictured) said she was “surprised” but “wasn’t insulted” by comments made by Katherine Heigl about her decision to drop out of the Emmy race and added that she has a “really wonderful working relationship” with the outspoken actress.

“We have a really great story worked out for Heigl,” said Rhimes, who participated in a showrunner panel at the TV critics press tour on Thursday along with Lost’s Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, Ugly Betty’s Silvio Horta, Desperate Housewives’ Marc Cherry, and Brothers & Sisters’ Greg Berlanti. “It was not an insult of the writers per se,” Rhimes went on. “The first half of the season had a very strong storyline with Izzie and George, but it [played] more comedic than most of Katie’s storyline in the past. I wrote the back half light for Katherine so she could do her movie. So I didn’t feel insulted.”

Inside sources have told EW.com that Rhimes has considered killing Izzie off in the coming season of Grey’s, but Rhimes would not confirm those rumors. When Rhimes was further pressed by a reporter who wanted to know what it’s like to deal with difficult actors, Cherry jumped in with an anecdote from Housewives’ notorious Vanity Fair cover shoot a few years back that mushroomed into a tabloid tale of dueling divas fighting over who stands where in the now-memorable photo.

“You have to pretend [the actors] are real people and you talk to them,” said Cherry, whose comment was met with laughter. “What was so sad about that disastrous Vanity Fair thing was that the writer saw it from one perspective. It was so much more complicated, real, and understandable. I ended up hugging a sobbing actress in her trailer by saying,`This, too, shall pass.’ I try to give [the actors] the best advice. This isn’t real life. It’s showbiz. It may be controversial now, but pretty soon they are going to forget you and really attack Lost.”

Speaking of of Lost, it turns out it was that show’s story line that inspired Cherry to forward Housewives‘ action five years into the future for the upcoming season. “I was so impressed with the bold stroke that Damon and Carlton did with the season finale,” Cherry said. “I wanted to pare down the show to have small but relatable problems. So I said, why not just go forward in time? Originally, I wanted to do an eight-year jump but someone explained to me how the actresses may react to being eight years older. So I said, `Okay, let’s do five.’”

Cherry also declared that he’s ending the show after seven seasons.

Other highlights from the showrunner panel:

  • Rhimes said she met with GLAAD representatives to discuss how to further the lesbian storyline between Callie and Erica. In the Grey’s season finale, the two characters exchanged a kiss. “We talked about women who figure out they are lesbians later in life,” she explained. “We are really able to find humorous and serious emotional stuff to play.” As for Private Practice, Rhimes said the 100-day writers’ strike allowed her to rethink the show and where it should go in the second season. “The medical cases bring a moral and ethical dilemma for the characters. Those shows really brought heart and made me excited [for the new season]. I don’t think we’re talking about less soap, per se. We’re talking about making the medical cases stronger.”
  • Lindelof said the strike was a blessing in disguise because it gave him and Cuse a chance to “course correct” on the back end of last season after getting feedback from family and peers. This upcoming season “we will not have that safety net,” he says. “We’ll begin at the end of August and we’ll be done writing by the end of February. So there’s no opportunity to get feedback, which quite frankly scares the sh– out of us.”

Speaking of of Lost, it turns out it was that show’s story line that inspired Cherry to forward Housewives‘ action five years into the future for the upcoming season. “I was so impressed with the bold stroke that Damon and Carlton did with the season finale,” Cherry said. “I wanted to pare down the show to have small but relatable problems. So I said, why not just go forward in time? Originally, I wanted to do an eight-year jump but someone explained to me how the actresses may react to being eight years older. So I said, `Okay, let’s do five.’”

Cherry also declared that he’s ending the show after seven seasons.

Other highlights from the showrunner panel:

  • Rhimes said she met with GLAAD representatives to discuss how to further the lesbian storyline between Callie and Erica. In the Grey’s season finale, the two characters exchanged a kiss. “We talked about women who figure out they are lesbians later in life,” she explained. “We are really able to find humorous and serious emotional stuff to play.” As for Private Practice, Rhimes said the 100-day writers’ strike allowed her to rethink the show and where it should go in the second season. “The medical cases bring a moral and ethical dilemma for the characters. Those shows really brought heart and made me excited [for the new season]. I don’t think we’re talking about less soap, per se. We’re talking about making the medical cases stronger.”
  • Lindelof said the strike was a blessing in disguise because it gave him and Cuse a chance to “course correct” on the back end of last season after getting feedback from family and peers. This upcoming season “we will not have that safety net,” he says. "We’ll begin at the end of August and we’ll be done writing by the end of February. So there’s no opportunity to get feedback, which quite frankly scares the sh– out of us.”

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Comments (12 total) Add your comment
  • Mel

    Hasn’t the media beaten this story to death yet? Yawn, give us something worth reading…

  • Jin

    Shonda Rimes and Chandra Wilson (in a recent interview) show the class that Katherine Heigl lacks. They don’t feel the need to express every thought, no matter how hurtful and nasty.

  • Paula

    well
    if they kill izzie they should get her together with denny in the after life

  • Hizzy

    Wake me when Katherine Heigl’s 15 minutes are up

  • =)

    Shonda is really etic, and seems like she only wants the best for the show.
    About Katherine Heigl, her comments are truth, unhappyness but truthfull.
    So let’s holp that the show back for a great season, cause we knoe that they do the best.

  • Lindsay

    Hey Hizzey…wake up. Her times up.

  • Moxie

    Hey, Katherine…take a lesson from Ms. Rhimes. It IS possible to be a strong, opinionated woman and still be tactful. My 2 cents? You couldn’t kill Izzie off fast enough. For all Katie’s whining about her storyline, Sandra Oh’s didn’t seem all that fascinating either. Moping over Burke? Focusing on a glitter pager? But Oh turned THAT OUT!

  • minderbinder

    “The first half of the season had a very strong storyline with Izzie and George”
    Wow, that’s probably the funniest line she’s written in years.
    The George/Izzie thing was horrible. Fans hated it, and it’s EXACTLY the reason Heigl asked to bow out. I don’t know if Rhimes noticed, but her show didn’t get the emmy nomination this year, and it was completely deserved.
    Quit telling us that weak storylines are “strong” and actually show us some strong storylines like we used to see in the first couple seasons. The show has been a mess and desperately in need of fixing.

  • I hate arrogant person

    She’s an hypocrite!
    I don’t think Heigl (arrogant and selfish woman) deserves a great storyline. Someone should throw soap into her mouth

  • Sweet

    Shondra said the same thing about Isiaah Washington before they gave him the boot so I doubt if things are rainbows and butterflies between her and Katherine. Shondra said she gave Katherine a light storyline to do her movie and this is the thanks she gets? Please..

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