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The Ausiello Files: July 24, 2009

EW’s TV scooper on ”Grey’s Anatomy” and ”Friends”

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Grey’s Anatomy shocker: what almost happened
Get this: T.R. Knight’s parting shot on Grey’s Anatomy almost didn’t feature T.R. Knight. The haunting scene in the final moments of the season finale — the one where George appears poised to escort Izzie to heaven by elevator — was originally filmed with Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s dead Denny waiting for Katherine Heigl’s ailing M.D. But an eleventh-hour epiphany by series creator Shonda Rhimes resulted in Denny getting the shaft.

”Something didn’t feel right,” Rhimes recalls. ”And then it hit me: ‘My God, it’s George! When the elevator opens, it should be George we see.”’

There was just one tiny continuity issue to address. Thinking he was done for the season, Knight went ahead and shaved his head. As Rhimes explains, ”[Director] Rob Corn calls me up and goes, ‘What do we do?”’ Considering George enlisted in the Army right before getting mowed down by that bus, the solution came to Rhimes in an instant. ”I said, ‘Put him in a military uniform!’ It wasn’t a big amazing plan I had.”

The happy accident packed an emotional punch for viewers — Knight included. ”It was brilliant of Shonda to put George in the dress blues,” says the actor, who recently announced that he would not be returning to Grey’s this fall. ”It was such a powerful image.”

SCOOPLET

Friends reunion is (sort of) on!
Nothing’s certain in life except death, taxes, and one or two old Friends joining Courteney Cox on her new ABC comedy, Cougar Town, which premieres Sept. 23. ”You and I both know that we’ll do that eventually,” admits executive producer Bill Lawrence. ”But right now, what ABC is selling is Courteney Cox.”