ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson faced a series of questions about Grey’s Anatomy’s revolving door of characters after the ABC panel at the TCA Winter Press Tour today (Melissa George just announced she was leaving the show, Janina Gavankar quietly departed, and of course, Brooke Smith was famously fired in October).
Here’s a transcript of the exchange, which took place in a hallway after the panel (thanks to AfterElton.com‘s Michael Jensen for reporting back!):
Hmmm, where to start. First, McPherson calls the reporter’s question about why there are so many actors leaving “absurd,” then he throws Melissa George under the bus, then he throws Brooke Smith under the bus, and then he laughs away the idea that anyone could accuse Grey’s of having a problem with lesbian relationships.
Unfortunately, Steve didn’t do his homework. Aside from not knowing how many episodes George was in (five), he incorrectly attributed the information about Melissa George being signed for more than a few episodes to departing comments from the actress trying to make herself look good.
In fact, the only thing George said in her announcement last week about leaving the show was, “It was my choice. I love the show so much. I’ve made some beautiful friends. I love T.R. Knight. I love Patrick Dempsey, Justin Chambers … I adore Ellen Pompeo. I think she’s a strong, incredible woman. And Katherine Heigl is the most beautiful creature on Earth.”
How self-serving of her!
Then there’s McPherson’s implication that the only speculation about ABC execs having a problem with Callie and Erica’s relationship came from Brooke Smith, when in fact many other Grey‘s insiders reported it as one of the factors contributing to the decision to fire her.
Both EW and E! Online reported being told when Smith was fired that the execs didn’t like Brooke’s character in general, or her relationship with Callie, and E! Online’s Kristin reported even more widespread de-gaying on the show:
And as we’ve seen, Sadie’s flirtation with Callie did, in fact, go nowhere.
Nowhere in McPherson’s comments is any acknowledgment that the writing or storytelling decisions on the show may even partially responsible for viewers’ mixed reception to Dr. Hahn’s character or the relationship between Erica and Callie. And the idea that there’s a revolving door of characters is just, well, absurd, according to Steve, even though it’s painfully noticeable to viewers and the press.
Buried among all this defensiveness and denial is the news that Callie will soon be entering into a “dedicated lesbian relationship,” presumably with Dr. Arizona Robbins, played by guest star Jessica Capshaw, who was unofficially reported to be a potential love interest for Callie (although she’s only signed for three episodes so far).
Call me crazy, but I’m having a hard time getting excited about this news given ABC’s history with the queer storylines and characters on this show, and its apparent refusal to acknowledge or learn from its mistakes (don’t even get me started on the Denny-Izzie storyline!)
But what do you think — are you excited about this development?
(For more Grey’s news, see what McPherson said about rumors of T.R Knight leaving the show.)