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‘Castle’ Shakeup: Star Stana Katic to Leave in Season 9

UPDATED: Should ABC go ahead with a ninth season of long-running procedural “Castle,” star Stana Katic will not return, Variety has confirmed. Co-star Tamala Jones will also be exiting. This was a decision made by ABC and ABC Studios.

“Kate Beckett has been a beloved character on our hit series ‘Castle’ for the past 8 years. We are grateful for Stana Katic’s talent and dedication to the series and we hope to continue our relationship,” ABC said in a statement. “Tamala Jones has also been an integral part of the series and we are grateful she was a part of ‘Castle.'”

Katic has starred in the series as Detective Kate Beckett, opposite lead Nathan Fillion, who is expected to return as Rick Castle. She signed a one-year contract last year after protracted negotiations.

“I’ve had so much fun playing the wonderful and unfiltered ‘Lanie’ over the past eight seasons,” said Jones, who played medical examiner Lanie Parish. “I will greatly miss the cast and crew. It’s been a privilege getting to work with this incredibly hard working group of people. Thank you to ABC for this opportunity and to the fans for their unwavering support. It’s been an incredible journey and I can’t wait for what lies ahead!”

ABC has yet to pick up “Castle” for a ninth season, and no decisions have been made on the number of episodes.

Fillion weighed in on Katic’s exit on Tuesday, thanking her in a tweet for “creating the character of Beckett who will live on for all of us as one of the greatest police officers on television.

“Castle” has slumped in the ratings during its eighth season, but has stabilized in recent weeks and thus looked better by comparison to some other ABC dramas. In Nielsen”s “live plus-3” estimates, the Monday drama is averaging a 1.8 rating in adults 18-49 and 9.1 million total viewers.

The long-on-the-bubble series went through a change in showrunners last season, with series creator Andrew Marlowe stepping down, and Alexi Hawley and Terence Paul Winter taking over.

Marlowe tweeted his reaction to the news, saying “Heartbroken. There are no words.”

The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

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