Gladiators, we have news: the episode order for season three of ABC’s “Scandal” has been reduced from 22 to 18, Variety has confirmed.

While the Alphabet is mum on the reason behind the episode reduction, it’s likely that the season has been shortened to accommodate show star Kerry Washington’s pregnancy, which was announced this fall.

“Scandal,” one of ABC’s most buzzed-about shows, continues to grow on the net’s Thursday night lineup, last night hitting a six-week high even while facing NBC’s powerhouse live telecast “The Sound of Music.”

The fall season finale for the Shonda Rhimes drama will air next Thursday, and then enter a short winter hiatus before returning to ABC in January to wrap up its third season.