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The Ausiello Files: April 17, 2009

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Bye, George! Is Grey’s killing off Knight’s doc?
Whatever cliff-hanger Grey’s Anatomy has in store in its season finale next month, it’ll probably pale in comparison to the one T.R. Knight is experiencing in real life.

Last fall, the actor — frustrated by his lack of airtime — asked to be released from his multiyear Grey’s contract. Now, according to an ABC insider, his wish may be granted by an upcoming story line that finds George marching off to war as an Army medic. Just as the season wraps up, George gets injured in the line of duty, leaving his fate up in the air for viewers — and even Knight himself. ”T.R. doesn’t know whether George lives or dies,” explains a source close to the show. ”And, as a result, he doesn’t know whether or not he has to come back next season.”

Legally speaking, Grey’s creator Shonda Rhimes has until mid-June to decide whether to drop Knight — and all indications are she will use every last second of that time. Some are suggesting she may be forcing Knight to sweat it out as payback for wanting to jump ship. (The two have had a strained relationship since the Isaiah Washington blowup in 2006.) While Knight’s rep and Rhimes both declined to comment, a Grey’s insider scoffs at such a notion. ”At the end of the day, Shonda is going to do what’s best for the show,” maintains the source. ”Everything else is just idle gossip.”

SCOOPLETS

Obama brings change to House
Still smarting from the shocking suicide of Dr. Kutner on House? Blame President Obama. The plot twist resulted from Kal Penn’s decision to put the brakes on his acting career and go to work for the nation’s 44th president. ”[I’ll] be the associate director in the White House Office of Public Liaison,” explains Penn, who logged many an hour as an Obama campaign volunteer. ”The ultimate irony is that I loved being on House.” What does Penn think of the grisly way House execs disposed of his character? ”It was a really interesting choice,” he says. ”We don’t know why he did it; there’s no note, there’s no explanation. That’s a huge risk, ’cause it’s going to piss off some [viewers].” Not to mention Hugh Laurie’s titular M.D. ”House, the man of answers, doesn’t have an answer about this guy who he has worked with for two years,” notes exec producer David Shore. ”It makes him question the most important aspect of himself.” Yeah, his ego.

SVU may end up with new stars
At press time, talks between NBC and Law & Order: SVU stars Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni about returning next season have stalled, and the network is allegedly threatening to replace them. Easier said than done, sniffs an SVU insider: ”Given where the network is right now, this is a horrible time to try and retool the show.”

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