ABC Cuts 'Scandal' Season 6 Episode Order From Twenty-Two to Sixteen
Photo Credit: SCANDAL - "White Hat's Off" - Quinn's identity is finally revealed, and the more the Pope & Associates team learn about her past, the more they realize she could be their biggest scandal yet. Meanwhile, a senator seeks Olivia's help when his personal life is about to become a public disgrace, and President Fitz is stuck between a rock and hard place when Mellie and Cyrus put him in a very compromising position during a live television interview, on the sophomore season premiere of "Scandal," THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/DANNY FELD) KERRY WASHINGTON

ABC Cuts 'Scandal' Season 6 Episode Order From Twenty-Two to Sixteen

Kerry Washington in “Scandal”

But it’s not necessarily for the reasons you might immediately think of, given the show’s sagging ratings this season…

Following recent announcements that “Scandal” star Kerry Washington had inked an overall deal with ABC Studios that will see her develop new projects for the network, and that “Scandal” has been renewed for a 6th season, TV Line is reporting exclusively this afternoon that ABC has cut the number of episodes it’s ordering for the upcoming season, from 22 down to 16.

The reason given is that Washington is expecting her second child, and with that, the network is considering not bringing “Scandal” back in the fall as usual, and instead it’ll return as a mid-season replacement in early 2017,  for an uninterrupted 16-episode run.

It’s worth noting that ABC did a similar thing for Washington’s first pregnancy 2 years ago, cutting the show’s episode order from 22 to 18.

Season 5 has been “Scandal’s” weakest thus far in terms of ratings, with viewership sinking from over 10 million for the first episode last September, to just under 6 million for the April 7’th episode about 3 weeks ago – its lowest viewership in the history of the show.

The first 4 seasons saw the series consistently perform well, with viewership in the 9 to 11 million range.

I should also note that the show’s creator, Shonda Rhimes, has said repeatedly that she knows exactly how and when it will end, adding that it would be a 6 or 7 season series, at most. So with news that the network is cutting next season’s number of episodes by 6, and it also happens to be for the 6th season, can we assume that “Scandal” is indeed near its end (despite Washington’s pregnancy)? This might actually be a good time to put it to bed (slipping ratings to start), while Washington explores other projects under her new production deal with the network which is now being led by a new president in Channing Dungey, who recently replaced exiting Paul Lee (making her the first African American – woman or man – to not only head ABC, but a major TV network).


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