Just two days before Scandal wraps its sixth season, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey today made it official that Shonda Rhimes’ political drama is coming to an end next year.
“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,” Dungey said as ABC prepares for its Upfronts presentation today.
After the series was renewed for a seventh season in February, news of Scandal’s conclusion started circulating last week as those working on the show were notified. Scandal will continue in its 9 PM Thursday slot next season, right after fellow Shondaland show Grey’s Anatomy and before How To Get Away With Murder, also a Rhimes-EP’d series.
“Deciding how to end a show is easy,” Rhimes added in a statement about the Kerry Washington-led series. “Deciding when to finish is quite simple when the end date is years away,” the TGIT mastermind added. “But actually going through with it? Actually standing up to say: ‘This is it?’ Not so much,” Rhimes admitted Tuesday. “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.”
Inspired by real-life DC crisis manager and former George H.W. Bush deputy Press Secretary Judy Smith, Scandal debuted on April 5, 2012 on ABC. A steady ratings source and social media heavyweight for the Disney-owned net on Shondaland-dominated Thursday, Scandal followed the Emmy-nominated Washington as Olivia Pope and her team of high-profile problem-solving gladiators — played by Katie Quinn Lowes, Guillermo Díaz, Darby Leigh Stanchfield and, up until the end of the third season, Columbus Keith Short. With a cast that also included Tony Goldwyn as President Fitzgerald Grant III and Pope’s on-again, off-again lover, the show tackled the underbelly of power and politics with soapy glee and cultural flare.
Centering on a contested White House race, this current 16-episode season has seen new alliances emerge as ex-First Lady Bellamy Young looks poised to finally claim the Oval Office with Pope’s help – or not.
Produced by ABC Studios, the Emmy-winning Scandal is EP’d by Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Mark Fish and Tom Verica.