Two reports were sitting in my morning e-mail that "Grey's Anatomy" is not only dropping the Callie-Hahn storyline, it's dropping Hahn entirely. Michael Ausiello of EW.com has an interview with Smith, which I have posted after the jump. And E! Online's Kristin says a new "Grey's" character, originally written as bisexual, is being rewritten as straight; details also after the jump.
Very disturbing news. Regular readers here know I had problems with the Callie-Hahn stories, but not because they were a couple. (Both were pretty adorable.) Rather, I didn't think they were being portrayed well, and that at times Callie's attitudes about sex with a woman seemed naive and silly, especially for a doctor. But that could have been corrected, and last week's episode indicated that the show was settling them into a comfortable, caring relationship. And now, apparently, it's all going pffffft. Bad call. And one where the timing seems quite cynical, since this is sweeps and the shakeup will undoubtedly build buzz about "Grey's," at least this week.
More after the jump.
Here's the Ausiello stuff from the press release. You may also want to check EW.com:
Entertainment Weekly has learned exclusively that Grey's Anatomy has parted ways with a female doc who is blonde, beautiful, outspoken – and not Katherine Heigl. It's Brooke Smith. As in Dr. Erica Hahn. As in one half of Callica, Grey's first-ever significant gay couple. And that's only half the story. http://ausiellofiles.ew.com/2008/11/brooke-smith-le.html
Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello was told this was not Shonda Rhimes' decision but rather an order that came down from the network. (ABC declined to comment.) According to one Grey's source, the suits "had issues" with both the explicit direction Callica was taking (think: undiscovered country, south of the border, etc.) and, more importantly, with the Hahn character in general. Basically, they didn't like her and wanted her gone ASAP. But how soon? And what does this mean for Callica? Keep yourselves braced, because the shocks don't stop in the following Q&A with the sublime Ms. Smith. She deserves better treatment than this, and next go-'round, here's hoping she gets it.
EW: What the hell happened?!
BROOKE SMITH: I was very excited when they told me that Erica and Callie were going to have this relationship. And I really hoped we were going to show what happens when two women fall in love and that they were going to treat it like any heterosexual couple on TV. And so I was surprised and disappointed when they just suddenly told me that they couldn't write for my character any more.
That's all they said?
Yes. Frankly, it was you that warned me this might happen on the red carpet back in July. You said [sometimes networks get cold feet] with gay relationships. And I was so naive. I'm like, "It's 2008." But I'm starting to realize that not everyone feels the way I do. To watch this exchange, go here & scroll down: http://ausiellofiles.ew.com/2008/11/brooke-smith-le.html
Did you get the feeling that the story was making people nervous?
No. At work I had no sense of it. And more fans seemed to like it than not. I don't think I'm ever going to know [why this really happened].
When did you find out?
I found out in mid-September soon after shooting the monologue that aired last week where Erica has the revelation that she's gay. They even came down and told me it was a great scene…one of the best they ever shot on the show. So I was really, really shocked. I was floored when they told me [I was being let go]. It was the last thing I expected. In fact, when they told me I asked, "When is this happening?" And they said, "The [next episode] is your last," which is the one that airs this Thursday. So it was very sudden.
Wait a second – your last episode is this Thursday?
How are you written out?
I'm not written out. My final scene is just me heading to my car. I honestly don't know what happens in the next episode. I heard not much. [Quick sidenote: This sheds new light on Mary McDonnell's arrival next week as a top cardiac doc.]
Who broke the news to you?
I'm hearing that this wasn't her decision, but rather ABC's.
You know, I have to tell you, I got that feeling. I don't know for sure, but it definitely seemed like [Shonda's] hands were tied. That was just my gut.
Did she seem upset?
She did seem upset. I wasn't having a very good week that week. I was like, "Oh, god, what is it with this business?!" And she said, "No, no, no. You are such a great actress. We love you." It seemed like some decision came down from above. It didn't feel like it was her.
What was Sara Ramirez's (Callie) reaction?
She was shocked. I'm the one who told her. It took her a few days to get back to me because she was surprised. It was surprising to everybody.
Were you happy with the direction the storyline was taking?
You know, I was starting to get there, yeah. I was personally a little impatient with the gay panic, but it was more Callie's thing anyway. I think Dr. Hahn was sort of figuring it out.
What did you think about Callie going to Mark to get pointers on exploring the "undiscovered country."
It was a little icky. If you're a woman, don't you know how to please yourself? But they seemed to be okay with that one.
How are you doing with all this?
It's actually never happened to me before. I never had a moment where I thought I did something wrong. I was just really surprised. I just moved my entire family to L.A., so it was kind of like, "What?" But for some reason I feel like I'm fine. I feel like I'm going to be okay.
And here's Kristin's report from Eonline.com:
On the heels of today's news that Brooke Smith's lesbian character has been cut from "Grey's Anatomy," E! Online's Kristin Dos Santos has learned exclusively that Melissa George's upcoming bisexual character has been changed.
Sources confirm to Dos Santos that Smith, who plays Erica Hahn (a doctor who recently realized she is gay), has been axed from the drama and that the gay-themed storylines are being downplayed and even erased from the series. That includes the series' latest newcomer, Melissa George of "Alias," who joins the show this month.
Melissa came on as a bisexual character, but a reliable insider reveals, "They changed the script and now she isn't. She starts off flirting with Callie, but it never goes anywhere."
According to sources, the bisexual/lesbian storyline this season in the relationship between Hahn (Smith) and Callie (Sara Ramirez) will end in this Thursday's episode, which will be Smith's last appearance on the series.
"They don't really give her a goodbye," an ABC source tells Dos Santos. "It ends rather abruptly."