'Scandal' Promotes Portia de Rossi to Series Regular for Season 5

Her character faces a major change in Thursday's season four finale.
ABC/Eric McCandless

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the season four finale of Scandal.]

"Lizzie Bear" will be sticking around ABC's Scandal.

Portia de Rossi has been promoted to series regular on the ABC political soap, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

De Rossi boarded the series at the start of season four for what was then described as an "arc." Her character, Elizabeth North (aka Cyrus' "Lizzie Bear"), has been the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee and most recently served as the campaign manager for first lady Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) and her now-successful senatorial campaign. In Thursday's season finale, Elizabeth was appointed President Fitzgerald Grant's (Tony Goldwyn) chief of staff after Cyrus (Jeff Perry) was fired.

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Worth noting: The actress, whose credits include ABC's Better Off Ted and Netflix's Arrested Development revival, was a Scandal super-fan with wife Ellen DeGeneres before joining the series.

"I think Elizabeth's end game is that she wants what is best for her country," de Rossi told The Hollywood Reporter during a set visit earlier this season. "She is a patriot. She is careful. She really cares about her party, keeping her party together and she believes that she's doing the right thing. That's what makes her such a complex character — she genuinely believes that even if she has to play a little dirty, it's worth it for the end goal, for the overall betterment of the country."

For Scandal, adding de Rossi as a regular comes after a season in which the series formally said farewell to Columbus Short — whose character was killed off in the season three finale after Short was charged with domestic abuse following what he called a struggle with drugs. In four seasons, Scandal has promoted original recurring players Josh Malina (David) and Young, as well as Scott Foley (Jake), who was upped ahead of season three. Meanwhile, original star Henry Ian Cusick made a surprise cameo this season after parting ways with the series following its freshman run.

De Rossi is repped by WME.

Stay tuned to The Live Feed for more Scandal finale coverage.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit