LOS ANGELES - Gladiators were shocked to learn last week that "Scandal" is ending after its seventh season, which will wrap up in 2018.
ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey confirmed on Tuesday that Kerry Washington's hit ABC drama will in fact come to a close after its seventh season, following last week's reports of the series' ending.
On press call with reporters, including Variety, on Tuesday morning, Dungey said the specific number of episodes for the final season are still being worked out. She noted that "Scandal" creator Shonda Rhimes made the decision to end the series after Season 7.
"I've had conversation with Shonda for a while, she had a sense of how she wanted the story to end," Dungey said. "I always prefer to end a show where you're feeling creatively on top." The executive added that "Scandal's" loyal fans "are going to want the story to end in the way that Shonda wanted it to."
Following the press call, ABC released a statement from Rhimes, who commented: "Deciding how to end a show is easy. Deciding when to finish is quite simple when the end date is years away. But actually going through with it? Actually standing up to say: 'This is it?' Not so much. So, next year we are going all out. Leaving nothing on the table. Creating this world in celebration. We are going to handle the end the way we like to handle the important things in our 'Scandal' family: all together, white hats on, gladiators running full speed over a cliff."
ABC Studios president Patrick Moran, added, "ABC Studios is so proud of 'Scandal,' and the Shondaland TGIT franchise, which have been so important to our studio's success. It's hard to imagine Thursday nights without Olivia Pope and company and the roller-coaster ride of the last six seasons."
"Scandal" debuted in 2012 and hit the 100 episode milestone mark during its current sixth season, which airs its finale this Thursday.
Starring Washington as Olivia Pope, a Washington D.C. fixer, "Scandal" became a pop culture phenomenon and shot Washington to super-stardom, along with her buzzy ensemble cast who are all fan-favorites with large social media followings. The show was one of the first to utilize social media to boost viewership and buzz, and still in Season 6, cast-members live-tweet the episodes each week.
Part of ABC's Thursday night "TGIT" programming block, "Scandal" is part of Shondaland's trifecta, next to "Grey's Anatomy" and Viola Davis' "How To Get Away With Murder," both of which have also been renewed for the upcoming television season for their 14th and fourth seasons, respectively. With "Scandal" signing off for good in mid-2018, assuming "Grey's" and "Murder" return, ABC should still have plenty of Rhimes' content to fill the "TGIT" block with two new Shondaland shows on deck: summer series "Still Star-Crossed" and legal drama "For The People," which hails from "Scandal" writer Paul Davies. "The Catch" was recently canceled, after airing for two seasons.
"Scandal" was created by Rhimes, who executive produces with Betsy Beers, Mark Fish and Tom Verica. Washington stars alongside the ensemble cast Guillermo Diaz, Darby Stanchfield, Katie Lowes, Tony Goldwyn, Jeff Perry, Joshua Malina, Bellamy Young, Scott Foley, Joe Morton, Cornelius Smith Jr. and George Newbern, who has been promoted to a series regular for the seventh and final season.