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“I’m sad to say that Private Practice’s run will end after episode 613 this season,” she wrote underneath a photo of the cast and crew celebrating the series’ 100th episode earlier this year. “There was a lot of discussion and debate but, in the end, the guys at the network and the studio and I all decided that private Practice was reaching its finish line. Creatively, we are all extremely proud of the show and especially proud of this season — which you will all soon discover is a creative renaissance. I can’t wait for you to see it.”
“It’s heartbreaking to end,” she continued. “Truly. I feel so lucky to write for these characters and tell these stories and I truly feel this show has taught me so much as a writer. And there’s a family here, of crew and cast, people who have bonded over these past five and a half seasons. It’s rare for a show to go for more than 100 episodes and we are incredibly proud to have been such a show. And we’re greatful to all of you for spending time with us for an hour every week for the last 6 years. It’s meant the world.”
The Kate Walsh starrer was renewed for a sixth season at the eleventh hour in May after experiencing a mixed run when it was relocated from its post Grey’s Anatomy home on Thursdays to Tuesdays following Dancing With the Stars to make room for Rhimes’ D.C.-set Kerry Washington drama Scandal. ABC picked up Scandal — after its seven-episode freshman run — for an extended second season in May, giving the showrunner three dramas at the network.Returning to Tuesdays this year, Private is averaging a 1.6 rating in the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic, down considerably from its fifth-season average of 2.3. Total viewership for the drama, meanwhile, has slid from its first-season average of 11.5 million to an average of 6.1 million so far this season.
Star Walsh, meanwhile, announced in June that she would be leaving the Grey’s Anatomy spinoff after 13 episodes, putting the future of the drama co-starring KaDee Strickland, Taye Diggs and Benjamin Bratt in doubt. Walsh has played Dr. Addison Montgomery since the character first appeared on Grey’s Anatomy.
Rhimes, meanwhile, told THR in July that she was debating the future of the series beyond the 13 episodes the network had picked up for the season.
“I’ve been told I’m not allowed to approach this as the final season, that the network does not believe that approaching it as the final season is the way they want to go,” Rhimes told The Hollywood Reporter.
“If I get some amazing idea that really excites me, then I will go to the network and say we should continue and here’s how I’d like to continue,” she said at the time. “If I don’t get some amazing idea that excites me, I don’t want to go on just for the sake of going on. I’m percolating something and trying to figure out if it’ll work and how I feel about it and what it means.”
The series recently notched its 100th episode this season, which served as a memorial of sorts for Tim Daly’s character, Pete. Daly, an original cast member, was let go from the series in the off-season as the medical drama faced budget cuts.
Rhimes has approached season six as with an “anything goes” vibe and doing “anything we’ve ever wanted to do — ever — on this show.”
“I made the show because I love Addison and I wanted to see what else could happen for Addison so I don’t want to keep going on unless I have an idea that I’m as excited about that makes me feel like we have 100 more episodes to tell,” Rhimes told THR.
For her part, Walsh is developing a semi-autobiograpical comedy at NBC based on her relationship with her writer boyfriend, Chris Case. Rhimes and, too, has been active this development season with her Shondaland partner Betsy Beers already setting up projects at ABC and NBC.
Private Practice joins NBC’s 30 Rock, The Office, CW’s Gossip Girl and Fox’s Fringe as broadcast series bidding their farewells this season.
Private Practice airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.
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