ABC has officially announced that Scandal will end after seven seasons.
While Scandal has already been renewed for a seventh season, executive producer Shonda Rhimes has previously indicated plans to keep the political fixer drama as a contained story, which is exactly why now is the right time for the show to end.
“To be honest, I had conversations with Shonda [Rhimes] where she has had, for a while, a sense of how she wanted the story to end,” ABC chief Channing Dungey told reporters on Tuesday morning. “We sat and we talked and she said, ‘Look, I really feel like season 7 is where I want to wrap up this story because I always prefer to end a show where you’re feeling on top as opposed to letting things fizzle out.’ I do think that audiences, especially fans and Gladiators, who are as loyal to Scandal as they’ve been, are going to want the story to end in the way that Shonda intended to. That was a decision she felt really good about and we support wholeheartedly.”
Dungey explained they’re still deciding on an episode count for the final season. The ABC boss also stayed coy on whether they’ve mulled a Scandal spinoff, or even another Grey’s Anatomy one after Private Practice, noting that Shonda Rhimes always keeps her plans close to the vest.
Rhimes later released a statement: “Deciding how to end a show is easy. Deciding when to finish is quite simple when the end date is years away. But actually going through with it? Actually standing up to say: ‘This is it?’ Not so much. So, next year we are going all out. Leaving nothing on the table. Creating this world in celebration. We are going to handle the end the way we like to handle the important things in our Scandal family: all together, white hats on, gladiators running full speed over a cliff.”
ABC Studios President Patrick Moran added: “ABC Studios is so proud of Scandal and the Shondaland TGIT franchise, which have been so important to our studio’s success. It’s hard to imagine Thursday nights without Olivia Pope and company and the roller-coaster ride of the last six seasons.”
In a follow-up statement, Dungey noted: “Shonda has decided the series needs to come to a close, and while this is definitely a bittersweet moment for all of us gladiators, I have no doubt what she has in store for the final season will be as powerful as what’s come before, and we will be sure to honor that every step of the way.”
The series about D.C. political fixer Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), which has become a staple of ABC’s TGIT lineup, launched in April 2012, with Washington becoming the first African American lead on a drama series in more than 30 years. Scandal went on to become a social media phenomenon.
In its sixth season, Scandal has been averaging 7.9 million total viewers and a 2.3 in the 18-49 demographic, making it the 11th highest rated scripted broadcast series this season.
The news comes in the wake of ABC ordering a new Shondaland legal drama, For the People, while sophomore series The Catch was recently canceled. Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away With Murder were previously renewed, while Romeo & Juliet sequel Still Star-Crossed will finally debut Monday, May 29 at 10 p.m. ET. In short, Scandal may be ending, but Shondaland is very much alive.
In other Scandal news, George Newbern — who plays former B613 hitman Charlie — has been officially promoted to series regular for the final season.
Scandal‘s season 6 finale airs Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.