UPDATE: ABC has released an official statement on the final season of “Scandal”:
Today ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey announced that season seven will be the final season for the hit Shondaland drama “Scandal.”
“Shonda has decided the series needs to come to a close, and while this is definitely a bittersweet moment for all of us gladiators, I have no doubt what she has in store for the final season will be as powerful as what’s come before, and we will be sure to honor that every step of the way,” said Channing Dungey, president, ABC Entertainment.
“ABC Studios is so proud of ‘Scandal,’ and the Shondaland TGIT franchise, which have been so important to our studio’s success. It’s hard to imagine Thursday nights without Olivia Pope and company and the roller-coaster ride of the last six seasons,” said Patrick Moran, president, ABC Studios.
“Deciding how to end a show is easy,” said Shonda Rhimes, Scandal’s creator and executive producer. “Deciding when to finish is quite simple when the end date is years away. But actually going through with it? Actually standing up to say: ‘This is it?’ Not so much. So, next year we are going all out. Leaving nothing on the table. Creating this world in celebration. We are going to handle the end the way we like to handle the important things in our ‘Scandal’ family: all together, white hats on, gladiators running full speed over a cliff.”
As a staple in the Shonda Rhimes programming block known as “TGIT,” the Washington, D.C., drama about a political fixer named Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and her team of associates who sacrifice their time, and often their morals, to “handle” unimaginable crises affecting the nation’s elite. Throughout the last six seasons, “Scandal” has used OMG storytelling to explore political culture, gender disparities, sexual politics and race in America.
Debuting in April 2012 the show broke barriers with Kerry Washington starring as the first African American female lead in a drama series in over thirty seven years. Scandal quickly emerged as the #1 show in its Thursday time slot across all key Women demographics proving that inclusion in television was long overdue.
My original post published this morning, before the above official press release was distributed, follows below…
Following last week’s unconfirmed report that the 7th season of “Scandal” would be its last, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey confirmed today, Tuesday (as the network unveils its fall TV season lineup), that the drama series will indeed end after the upcoming 2017/2018 season.
Rhimes has said in the past that she knew exactly how and when “Scandal” would end, previously sharing that it would be a 6 or 7-season series, at most. So of course as it currently happens to be the 6th season of the series, a question that came up when the show was renewed for a 7th season, was whether we should assume that “Scandal” is indeed near its end.
It is, officially, as ratings for the series have continued to decline since its first uber successful season. But another season why it’s the right time to put “Scandal” to bed is that the series’ star Kerry Washington launched her own production company a year ago, and has since put a number of film and TV projects into development, including a new production deal she inked with ABC Studios also last year, that will see her develop new projects.
Also series creator Shonda Rhimes has other series to shepherd; joining veterans “Grey’s Anatomy” and “How to Get Away With Murder” are the upcoming “Romeo & Juliet” project from Shondaland, “Still Star-Crossed,” which stars British actress Lashana Lynch, and the new legal ensemble cast drama, “For the People.”
Shondaland also optioned Luvvie Ajayi’s book “I’m Judging You” to adapt as a comedy series, although for cable TV.
In addition, Rhimes is returning to her feature film *roots* (her breakthrough gig, we could say, was co-penning the script for the 1999 telepic “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge;” other early scripting credits include “Crossroads” and “The Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement”). Earlier last year, she was reportedly eyeing what will be a feature-length film, set up at Fox, about the so-called Dare Divas – a group of Detroit women, led by Sheri Hunter, who have dedicated their lives to pursuing adventure and encouraging other women to also take risks.
Previously, she was attached to write the screenplay for a feature film titled “War Correspondents,” which was to center on women war correspondents, for Sony Pictures.
So she and Washington are busy. And dropping one series in “Scandal” (which seems to be losing its luster, for some of its fans anyway, as ratings decline), is actually a reasonable decision, as they both move on and shift focus to other projects.
The number of episodes that the 7th and final season will comprise of, are still in discussion; but I’d assume it’ll likely be a shortened season just like the current one.
By the way, the inspiration for “Scandal,” real-life “fixer” Judy Smith, is making some deals of her own, most recently setting up a new legal drama at Fox, titled “Controversy” which chronicles a sex assault scandal that shakes up a college campus; she also served as co-executive producer on the CBS Washington series ‘BrainDead” and as a consulting producer on “Basketball Wives.”