May 31, 2012 3:54pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Private Practice' Star Kate Walsh Might Depart After 13 Episodes
ABC's Private Practice could be without its star should its recently renewed sixth season stretch beyond 13 episodes.
Kate Walsh, who has played Dr. Addison Montgomery on the Shonda Rhimes medical drama since its premiere after originating the character on Grey's Anatomy, is poised to depart the California-set series following 13 episodes, a source confirms to The Hollywood Reporter. ABC declined comment.
The Disney-owned network renewed the series at the eleventh hour earlier this month for what some have speculated would be an abbreviated run. But ABC has remained steadfast that the series could continue on beyond 13 episodes should it perform in the ratings.
Private Practice has had a mixed run since relocating to the post-Dancing With the Stars time slot on Tuesday nights to make way for Rhimes' freshman drama Scandal. The drama lost 19 percent of its viewership in its first week in the new slot but rebounded afterward -- with Rhimes using spoilers in an active Twitter campaign to raise awareness for the show's new night in its fifth season.
With its sixth-season renewal, Private Practice will keep Rhimes busy with three series on ABC's schedule for the second year in a row. Her period drama pilot Gilded Lilys, meanwhile, was passed over at the network.
News of Walsh's potential departure comes mere days after original cast member Tim Daly announced he would not be returning for Season 6.
"Wonderful fans of PP. Shonda informed my agent today that Pete wont be returning for season 6. It was a great 5 yrs. R.I.P. Pete Wilder," Daly wrote on Twitter late Tuesday.
Season 5 ended with Walsh's Addison finally getting what she's always wanted: a baby, though it came in a rather circuitous fashion. After unsuccessfully attempting in vitro fertilization, her patient Judy ends up electing the doc who delivered her baby to be his adoptive parent. While Addison has achieved her ultimate goal of becoming a mother, Rhimes told THR ahead of the finale that the character still had to make the ultimate decision: choosing between two stand-up guys in Jake (Benjamin Bratt) and Sam (Taye Diggs).
The series earlier this month lost writer/exec producer Craig Turk, who departed Private for an overall deal with CBS Television Studios, where he'll join The Good Wife as a consulting producer.
Hit the comments with your thoughts on what Private Practice would be like without Walsh.