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Best of 2012: 5 great cliffhangers

The purpose of a cliffhanger is to keep the fans talking — for a week or for months. Here are five that got our readers buzzing.

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Best of 2012: Did that really just happen? TV plot twists

Deaths, daddy issues, and a “Did she just do that?!” moment. These five single moments had lasting effects on their shows — and their shocked viewers. READ FULL STORY

'Pretty Little Liars,' 'Supernatural,' 'Scandal,' 'Sons of Anarchy,' 'Grey's Anatomy': Find out what's next in the Spoiler Room

Hope your holidays are filled with glee (and Glee?) so far, Roomies.

Thanks as always for your great questions and keep ‘em coming! (spoilerroom@ew.com) And while you do that, I’ll continue working on my application to be the Royal Nanny. #dreams

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Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): Shonda Rhimes pens McSteamy's obituary

After the unfortunate passing of Seattle Grace’s longtime lothario Mark “McSteamy” Sloan in September, Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes reflected on the character in an obituary penned for Entertainment Weekly. For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for EW.com’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage

By: Shonda Rhimes

A doctor shows up at Seattle Grace Hospital. He beds all the women. He sutures his own face. He wears a towel better than anyone can wear a towel in the history of wearing towels on television.

We call him McSteamy.

When Mark Sloan first appeared on Grey’s Anatomy in season 2, the original idea was to have him do one episode. Goodbye, Mark Sloan. But none of us planned on what would happen once we cast Eric Dane. His Mark Sloan wasn’t just flirty and handsome—Eric’s Mark Sloan was dirty and hot but also completely self-aware of what he was lacking in emotion and self-control. Eric’s Mark Sloan was smart enough to know he was a man-whore and sexy enough to make the audience believe in him anyway. From the moment ABC aired the scene in which Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) dubbed him McSteamy, I began to get letters from fans. And emails from friends. And phone calls from my mother. It was clear that we were going to need to see Mark Sloan back at Seattle Grace again.

Mark Sloan has been one of my all-time favorite characters to write. He’s the male surgical version of the hooker with the heart of gold. Yes, he seduces so many nurses that they form an actual organization dedicated to eradicating him (Nurses United Against Mark Sloan!). But he also helps a lonely man change his gender. He rebuilds the face of Jane Doe. He fixes cleft palates and lionitis bone deformities, and builds a little boy a pair of ears. He performs double arm transplants. He helps Callie (Sara Ramirez) recognize that her feelings for another woman are not something to be ignored. Okay, yes, he sleeps with his best friend’s wife. But he also supports his daughter when she chooses to put her baby up for adoption. Yes, he breaks his penis having sex with Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh). But he also falls madly in love with her. He’s a good man, Mark Sloan.

Well, he was a good man.

Last week, Mark Sloan succumbed to injuries sustained in the plane crash that took the life of fellow surgeon Alexandra Caroline Grey. By the time he died, he was no longer just a hot naked guy in a towel. He’d become more than McSteamy. Mark had grown to become a mentor, a true best friend, a father, and the love of Lexie Grey’s life.

After six seasons, the end of Mark Sloan was a giant loss for me as a writer and for the show. And for the fans. I like to believe that Mark is with Lexie somewhere. That those two characters are spending eternity together, getting to have the relationship they were never able to have when they were alive. Because, as Lexie’s dying words told us, she and Mark were “meant to be.”

Mark Everett Sloan died on September 27, 2012. He is survived by his daughter Sofia; his baby mamas, Callie and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw); his fellow doctors at Seattle Grace; and every woman who ever imagined what it might be like to have a little McSteamy between her sheets.

He will be missed by all.

Read more:
More of EW.com’s Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes) coverage
‘Grey’s Anatomy’ boss Shonda Rhimes explains Eric Dane’s exit
‘Grey’s Anatomy’ season finale: Boss explains two shocking exits
‘Grey’s Anatomy’ star Jessica Capshaw on Arizona shocker: This is not ‘a story of defeat’

'Once Upon a Time,' 'Grimm,' 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Glee,' 'The Middle': Find out what's next in the Spoiler Room

Hello from Texas!

That’s right, friends, I’m home for the holidays, and getting here was quite the event. (No wi-fi + planes + trains + automobiles = stress) So I hope you can forgive me for being a day later than normal with your scoop. If you can find it in your heart to pardon me, I invite you to gather ’round the Spoiler Room table for a delicious helping of TV dish!

I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with lots of joy, DVR clearing, and gluten-free pies. And should you find the time/need something to do while hiding from your family, I invite you to send in a question for the next column, which will come out Dec. 3. (Yay, vacation!) Contact info is as usual: spoilerroom@ew.com and @EWSandraG on Twitter.

CHANDRA WILSON ON BAILEY’S FUTURE … AND GREY’S ANATOMY

If you read my chat with Grey’s Anatomy‘s Chandra Wilson last week, then you know that Bailey will spend the next episodes “kicking and screaming” her way to the altar. But one thing Wilson thinks might help Bailey get into the groove a bit more? If Ben put a ring on it!

“My finger is light, that’s all I’m saying. It’s very, very light,” she says, laughing. “And he used to be an anesthesiologist. You’d think there would be some sort of bling involved. But her finger is rather light — at least for 2012. So we’ll see what happens going forward.” But regardless of Bailey’s left hand gets a little heavier, Wilson says Bailey is committed. “She’s going to see [it] through,” she says. “You can’t tell somebody you’re going to marry them and then play around.”

And while Bailey and Ben could have many happy years ahead of them, as always, questions are starting to arise about Grey‘s future. Now midway though its ninth season, Wilson says she is anything but tired. And while there won’t be official word about a tenth season for several months, she says she’s personally on board. “I think the consensus is that as long as our writers want to keep writing, we’re here to keep riding the ride,” she says. “As actors, we’re very cognizant of the opportunities we’ve been given. Sooner or later it will be the end.”

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'Grey's Anatomy' casts 'Entourage' actress

Seattle Grace is paging Constance Zimmer.

The Entourage and Boston Legal actress has signed on for a multi-epsiode arc this season on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy.

Zimmer is playing Dr. Cahill, described as a “confident, self-possessed, laser-focused professional with a wicked sense of humor.” That’s all we know right now about the role, which will run about four episodes later this season.

Shonda Rhimes’ long-running soap is set to say goodbye to its spin-off Private Practice, which is wrapping up its final season by the end of the year. The writer-producer’s new political drama Scandal, however, was recently granted a full season order for its second round on the air.

'Grey's Anatomy' doc Chandra Wilson on how Bailey will help Arizona get back on track

Ever since Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) lost her leg earlier this season, her friends and loved ones have fought to get her back to her normal self. But if Bailey (Chandra Wilson) has her way, that’s a battle that is going to be won.

In tonight’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy, which is directed by Wilson, Bailey takes on the seemingly impossible — trying to get Arizona back in on the doctor action. “Bailey is really instrumental in getting Arizona Robbins off her behind and back to work in a fun way,” she says.

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'Supernatural,' 'Scandal,' 'The Vampire Diaries,' 'CSI: NY': Find out what's next in the Spoiler Room

Hi, y’all! Happy almost-Halloween.

In between gathering scoops, I’m in the process of deciding what I’ll be wearing for the big night. So far, I’ve narrowed my options down to: an Observer, the Human Being, or bored single person. I know where I’m leaning but feel free to weigh in if you have a chance.

Meanwhile, make sure you’re emailing all your spoiler question to spoilerroom@ew.com or sending them via Twitter (@EWSandraG). Also, I’m taking other random TV questions via Vyou. I know, that’s a lot of me. Let’s move on:

‘SUPERNATURAL’: ‘THINGS QUICKLY FALL APART’
If you, like me, are still haunted by the image of Castiel calling out to Dean in Purgatory, sit back. I have some interesting intel for you.

While talking to Misha Collins about his charitable scavenger hunt (more about that here), he also confirmed a hunch we’d had about the last time Dean saw Cas. It was, in fact, while Dean was exiting Purgatory. But there’s much more to it than that. “That very moment is a pivotal moment. I think Dean is confused about what happened at that moment and won’t actually find out what happened then until episode 7,” he reveals. “It’s going to take a while to see that moment play out.” Suffice to say the truth hurts — especially on this show.

But when Cas does return topside, look for him to be “reinvigorated with a sense of purpose,” says Collins. “He essentially feels like he has to do good in order to right the wrongs of his past. So he starts to collaborate with Sam and Dean for that reason — so that he can continue to try to make things right. He’s no longer paying penance, really, because it’s no longer an act of suffering for him. But he’s doing his best to right the wrongs of his past.” Doing so won’t be as easy as he hopes, however. “He’s doing that in ways that help Sam and Dean and then, ultimately, it might also make life — as per usual with the Supernatural universe — complicated for Sam and Dean. At first, it seems like everything is hunky dory. But things quickly fall apart.”

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'Grey's Anatomy' sneak peek: Karev resists the urge to [spoiler]! -- EXCLUSIVE

Old habits die hard with Karev. But as Callie warns him in this exclusive clip from Thursday’s new episode, he needs to cut it out before he ruins more young minds.

“Stop sleeping with your co-workers. It ruins them,” she says. Quickly, he zings back, “I slept with you.”

Burn. Or not. “And now I no longer sleep with men,” she says.

Callie definitely has a point. You’d think Karev would have learned his lesson by now. But no, he still seems set on picking up the newest intern in his sights. Unfortunately for him, it seems the interns are well aware of his reputation.

Check out the clip below.

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'Grey's Anatomy' boss Shonda Rhimes writes Mark Sloan obituary: 'I like to believe that Mark is with Lexie somewhere' -- EXCLUSIVE

Last Thursday was a mournful television evening because it’s when Mark Sloan, a.k.a. McSteamy, was pulled off life support and died during the dramatic season 9 premiere of Grey’s Anatomy. In tonight’s new episode, “Remember the Time,” viewers will learn how Sloan went from alive in last May’s season finale to dead just a week ago.

As a eulogy to the late McSteamy — and an exclusive to EW — Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes penned an obituary for Sloan, who she calls “one of my all-time favorite characters to write.” (Rhimes is pictured here with Eric Dane, who played Mark Sloan on Grey’s.) You can read Rhimes full obituary in the Oct. 12 issue of Entertainment Weekly – on stands now — but take a gander at an excerpt of it here now:

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'Grey's Anatomy' star Jessica Capshaw on Arizona shocker: This is not 'a story of defeat'

By the end of last night’s Grey’s Anatomy, Mark Sloan was dead, Meredith and Co. were no closer to stepping onto a plane ever again, and it was revealed that plucky pediatric surgeon Arizona had lost a leg following the plane crash that derailed their lives. If your jaw was on the floor and your heart was aching, Jessica Capshaw understands what you’re going though.

“[Executive producer Shonda Rhimes] told me she was so excited about this story, and when she told me what it was, I think I felt about it like everyone did last night, which was totally shocked,” she says. “It was something I’d never even pondered, which is why she’s the master storyteller. It took me a while to wrap my head around.”

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Kate Walsh previews 'Private Practice': 'Huge news happens to every single character!'

As we head into Private Practice‘s sixth season this evening, there are so many questions: Who will Addison (Kate Walsh) choose — Jake (Benjamin Bratt) or Sam (Taye Diggs)? What will happen after Walsh leaves in 13 episodes? Will Addison get a happy ending? Will the series live on after her departure?

EW recently nabbed a little time with the series’ star to discuss the upcoming season — how it felt making it to 100 episodes, what will happen for Addison this season, how she’d like to see the character go out, and much, much more. Walsh, for her part, is feeling good about her decision to leave. “I can’t help but look back and be in the moment and look at the future all at once, which is a little crazy making,” she says. “But it’s exactly where I think I’m supposed to be.” And, she says, the season is really all about all the characters: “Huge news happens to every character!” Interesting.

Tune into the season 6 premiere of Private Practice tonight at 10 p.m. on ABC, but first, let Kate Walsh preview what’s coming to Oceanside this season.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did it feel to make it to the 100th episode of Private Practice, which airs later this season?
KATE WALSH: Yeah, it’s huge! It was funny, leading up to it, I was like, “Oh, we’ve got that 100th episode celebration thing at lunch at 12,” and then I got very unexpectedly emotional, like very touched and moved, thinking, Oh my gosh! You can’t help but think back. From the beginning on Grey’s Anatomy, who would have anticipated a spin-off? And then, how rare do spin-offs even work, and then we had the writer’s strike. Lo and behold, here we are in our sixth season.

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'Glee,' 'Grey's Anatomy,' '90210,' 'Bones,' 'NCIS': Find out what's next in the Spoiler Room

We’re only one week into season/series premieres and I want to share some embarrassing figures:

4: Number of times I cried during Parenthood‘s premiere.
3: Number of dinners eaten straight out of a container/box because I was too lazy/tired to cook.
1: Times I teared up during Glee (Lea Michele’s phone call KILLED me.)
4: Times I shouted at the TV during Sons of Anarchy‘s premiere.
~22: Number of times I laughed out loud during the New Normal. (I’m guessing it was once per minute)

My point? The fall TV season is already starting off AMAZING, and it’s only going to go up from here. Can’t wait? Not to worry; I have some nice scoop to hold you over until then. Enjoy!

(And don’t forget to keep in touch! E -mail questions to spoilerroom@ew.com or on Twitter @EWSandraG. Also, if you’re so inclined, share some numbers of your own below. Purely for my entertainment, of course.)

‘GLEE': FIVE MINI-SCOOPS

From what I can tell, Glee fans seem a little split on the new season. (Also, the Grand Canyon is a kinda big and cookies are sorta delicious.) So, in an effort to please as many people as possible, I’ve included a little scoop for everyone below. For more, check out this Glee post from earlier this week. Enjoy (and play nice, please)!

+ WHERE’S MS. PILLSBURY!? Around. And we’ll see her quite soon, Matthew Morrison promises. In fact, he says, we’ll be seeing a lot more of Will and Emma’s home life than you might think based on the first episode. “We have never seen them actually living together, and now they’re living together this season, cohabitating under one roof,” he says. “It should be interesting. It’s not as easy as I think he thought it was going to be!”

+ SKIN ALERT: Chord Overstreet claims he has a shirtless scene in episode 3. You’re welcome.

+ MORE BIEBER ON THE WAY? It’s no secret that I fell deeply in love with Overstreet’s version of “Baby.” And he says there’s a good chance there’s more Bieber in the works! “I’m a big fan of ‘As Long As You Love Me’ right now. [I] may be doing a couple of mash-ups of some different stuff — and maybe some acoustic stuff,” he says.

+ WHEN THE TWO PUCKERMANS MEET…expect fireworks. “It’s definitely kind of shocking for them both initially,” says Jacob Artist, who says we’ll soon see Puck come face-to-face with his half-brother. “Puck has never met [my character], and I’ve never met Puck. Obviously, the confrontation — there’s a lot of tension going on…it’s definitely a touchy moment for the both of them. [The outcome] definitely affects them.”

+ LOVE TRIANGLE NO. 100000000 Glee loves love triangles. I love a good one, too. And it sounds like Puck Jr. could be involved in one of the many we’ll see this season. “Jake is definitely going to have some romantic drama going on. He’s interested in the new ladies,” Artist says. “I think [he's looking] for somebody that can balance him out. He can be a little crass — so I think [he wants] somebody that can balance him [out].” Any guesses, gang?

‘90210’: 100th EPISODE SCOOP!
90210 will hit a big milestone this year — 100 episodes! That’s no small feat in TV land, and what better way to mark the occasion than with Homecoming Weekend! Showrunners Patti Carr and Lara Olsen recently gushed to me about this super-packed episode when we hopped on the phone ahead of the show’s upcoming premiere on Oct. 8.

“We get to go back and re-live a few memories.” Carr said. “And we also have things getting bigger and more out of hand. We got to the Playboy mansion, we have musical performers, and some very revealing moments for our cast.” Also expect some “fan favorites” to pop up.

But, adds Carr: “It’s not just the clip show where they all remember and come out of it unaffected. They’re all profoundly affected by what happens.”

Another treat? Denise Richards, who, as EW previously reported, will appear as an alum-turned-socialite. “There’s so much happening in the 100th episode, I don’t know how we’re going to fit it all in one episode,” says Olsen. Carr jokes: “Maybe it will be a two-part 100th episode — 99.5/100.”

‘GREY’S ANATOMY': QUICK HITS FROM KEVIN MCKIDD
True story: I adore Kevin McKidd. Not only is he a hard-working guy — currently, he’s editing the fourth episode of the season, which he directed — but he’s a massively good teaser. And while I’m going to wait to share our full convo with you, here are some really tasty bits from our chat. (And, yes, this is a totally mean way for me to do this. But, you have to admit, it’s also a little fun — for me):

SG: Is the cheating issue from last season still hanging over Owen and Cristina this season?
KM: I think we’ve kind of blown past that in a way because the cataclysmic events of what happened, especially everything with Cristina. It’s going to come back and affect Owen as well — even though he wasn’t on the plane. In retrospect, it’s going to come back and really affect him in a big way too and in a way that we don’t expect.

SG: We know that not all of the doctors are going to be working at Seattle Grace in the first episode (which is a flashforward). Obviously you can’t say who, but is it safe to assume that Owen and Christina are still in the same place working on these issues together?
KM: That is not safe to assume…[truncated]

SG: Let’s talk about the flashbacks.
KM: I can’t really say too much because that would be giving stuff away. Flashbacks are featured heavily in episode two and may appear in other ones.

SG: Did any of the characters reactions to the crash surprise you? 
KM:…the writers have kind of turned everything on its head and under duress and under stress people do act in a way out of character…

Look for my full chat with McKidd, where he talks about directing and the new season, on Sept. 27, the day of the big season premiere!

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