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‘Scandal’ Season 6 Moved to Midseason Due to Kerry Washington’s Pregnancy

Scandal” will air Season 6 midseason on the 2016-17 schedule, ABC announced Tuesday ahead of the network’s Upfront presentation.

Moving “Scandal” off the fall schedule means that Shondaland’s buzzy “TGIT” Thursday night programming block is no more — at least for the fall.

“Grey’s Anatomy” keeps its Thursday 8 p.m. timeslot for Season 13, and Viola Davis’ “How To Get Away with Murder” keeps its 10 p.m. slot for Season 3. New drama “Notorious” replaces “Scandal” at 9 p.m. ABC renewed “The Catch” for Season 2 and picked up a new Shondaland show, “Still Star-Crossed,” so there’s more than enough material to bring back a Shondaland-centric “TGIT” in the winter or spring.

New ABC president Channing Dungey joked about Rhimes’ prolific production banner on a press call Tuesday morning, noting that since Shondaland now has five shows, “We’ll have to expand beyond Thursdays.”

“Scandal’s” schedule shift comes after news broke that the show’s star Kerry Washington is pregnant. While Washington hasn’t officially commented on her pregnancy, the infamously private actress did pose on the Met Gala red carpet earlier this month with her hand on her belly after tabloid reports surfaced.

A midseason bow in 2017 means that “Scandal” will not run at the same time as the upcoming presidential election, which strikes many similarities to the show’s current storylines. The political drama incorporated an election build-up in its fifth season with last week’s finale revealing the vice presidential running mates for the new season’s election plot. Earlier this season, a Donald Trump-like character was introduced, but has since been booted out of the show’s own presidential running.

While ABC has not commented on the episode order for “Scandal” Season 6, the show cut the episode order from 22 to 18 when Washington was pregnant with her first child during Season 3. Her pregnancy was not written into Olivia Pope’s storyline.

See ABC’s full fall 2016 schedule here.

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