How Katherine Heigl Ruined GREY’S ANATOMY


There’s a fine line between good and grey.

As promised by the ABC promo department, Thursday’s GREY’S ANATOMY delivered an “episode that defined great television.” Or at least would have, had Katherine Heigl had the ability to simply keep her mouth shut.

Instead, what had the potential to be an unforgettable journey for one of television’s most likable characters turned into another example of when off-screen antics go bad. Or more to the point, when backstage drama ends up dictating on-screen story.

Thursday’s GREY’S ANTOMY was this close to a return to form.

Christina and Owen dealt with the all-too-timely issue of post traumatic stress disorder, the perennially underrated Justin Chambers delivered his one man “For Your Consideration” Emmy reel, Meredith and Derrick took their long awaited first step towards happily-ever-after and, oh yeah… Izzie Stevens might die from cancer.

But before you call this TV Addict out for having the emotional sensitivity of say a Dr. Gregory House, allow me to explain.

While Heigl has every right to pull a “Caruso” — aka what happens when a television star attempts to parlay their small screen success into big screen stardom by ditching the show that put them on the map — I’m not about to shed a tear for poor Izzie Stevens when we all know that the only reason she has cancer is because Heigl has asked to be let out of her GREY’S ANATOMY contract, and stat!

Reality seeping into our favorite fictionalized drama, it ain’t pretty.

Just ask J.J. Abrams (not to mention us ALIAS addicts) how frustrating it was to have to have Jack Bristow converse with Irina Derevko via instant message when contract negotiations didn’t go well with the irreplaceable Lena Olin. Or how Paul Scheuring enjoyed putting Sara’s head in a box on PRISON BREAK, only to miraculously bring her back one season later after FOX broke open the bank for Sarah Wayne Callies.

Heck, even Tommy’s recent exit on BROTHERS & SISTERS lacked the emotional impact it could have had, since the real reason for Balthazar Getty’s exit was no secret.

Showrunner Shonda Rhimes is simply playing the hand she was dealt. Just don’t ask us to cry for Izzie Stevens.

  • Ace

    I think Katherine Heigl is just one of those people that will never be happy where with her current situation. Roswell was popular (for a short time) and she refuses to ever mention it, despite the fact that it is where she got her start. Then she attacks the writers of Grey’s for giving other people on the show better story lines (how dare they!). When Knocked Up came out, she knocked it too (hah puns are fun). My bet is whether she stays with Grey’s or goes elsewhere, we’ll have to listen to her complain about that too. I don’t think I care at this point whether Izzie stays or not, but if she does go, I hope she takes Alex with her.

  • allthewine

    I was ready for this to be Izzie’s big sendoff, because she now irritates me as a character (probably based on her off-screen whining). But now they are trying to say that she’s going to survive? And I’ll have to put up with the insufferable Isobel Stevens for the rest of the season? I don’t think I can handle it.

  • luke

    I have to respectfully disagree. Although I stopped watching Grey’s after that dreadful season 5 premiere, I have always loved the character of Izzie. The media takes everything Katherine Heigl says and blows it out of proportion. Can you really blame her for what she said about the writers in season 4? In one season the writers ruined her character. To say that Katherine Heigl is ruining Grey’s is totally unfair. Do you all remember the end of season 2? Her character carried that whole show.

  • Naf

    Izzie is a completely insane character, but I’m going to have to blame the writers. Heigl does what she can with the character, but the writers are so up and down with it that most of the time I don’t know what is going on with her. But, I am enjoying her cancer storyline no that she’s stopped seeing Denny, and I actually don’t think she’ll be going anywhere. Heigl said that she’ll stay if the writers let her, and I don’t think the show can afford another scandle. There’s no reason to let her go from her contract if it’s just going to be bad for the show.

  • I have to agree with Luke. The writing on Grey’s has been all over the place. They failed the character of Izzie when they had her break up George’s marriage only to bail on that relationship ’cause the sex was a mess. THEN she’s back in love with Alex? Yeah, didn’t make sense.

    And it wasn’t K.H. opening her mouth. Her co-star (actor who plays the Chief) blabbed that she was leaving before anyone.

    The best parts of Grey’s Anatomy has always been the supporting characters (does anybody really care what happens with Derrick and Meredith?), I mean, it’s sad when Lil Grey and McSteamy are more interesting than the main characters. Now, Grey’s is about to lose one of the best supporting characters w/ T.R. Knight hot on her heels.

    Blame the bad writing.

  • K8ie

    I agree with Luke as well – I’d have far more sympathy for the columnist’s POV if I hadn’t endured three seasons of Shoda Rhimes’ inconsistent, erratic and often poor writing on this series. If I were Heigl, I’d want out, too. Her character was the one person on the show that the audience to identify with as opposed to the various narcissistic obsessions of Meredith, Derek, Christina and Alex (Grey’s has never known what to do with George if he wasn’t being the group’s loser) and instead of run with that, Rhimes has marginalized, infantilized and just plain screwed with the characterization she originally created. If Grey’s Anatomy is less enjoyable because backstage shenanigans are publicized, the blame for that rests with Rhimes as well, who has already proven herself incapable of managing the business side of running a TV show with any leadership or tact – QED Isiah Washington. Blaming Heigl for being the cast member who pointed out that the scripts aren’t wearing any clothes these days misses the point by a country mile.

  • Barbara

    Just wanted to agree with some of the other posters. Yes Izzie’s illness was written in solely because of her wanting to get out, but the writing started to suck way before that. Grey has lost it’s charm a long time ago and while Heigl’s decision to depart had nothing to do with that (and everything to do with her conviction that she is meant for something better – a conviction few would agree with) you still can’t blame her for the bad place the show is in. Take T.R. Knight for example, apparently he wants to get out because of bad writing. His departure will most likely be as obvious and badly written has Heigl’s, but that was the exact reason he wanted to get out. Shonda went way off base before any of these decisions were made, so Shonda (and people not telling her the show sucks) ruined GA.

  • ct

    I can’t believe you blame the shows for the fact that the media reports everything that goes on in the entertainment biz. The shows are making lemonaid out of lemons. When actors leave, that’s what shows do. It’s not the fault of Brothers & Sisters of Grey’s Anatomy that actors are leaving or that the press insists on detailing every spoiler, every “who’s leaving, who’s staying, who is unhappy behind the scenes…”

  • The might even save her after all this that happened… according to Katherine Heigl herself Izzie Stevens might live

  • kf

    Who’s gonna tell Izzy’s daughter that she’s dying of cancer? I love the character and the actress and am sad to see her go.

  • Tuscany

    It’s the writers!!!!

  • Megan Darbyshire

    I have to disagree. The show went off it’s game when the whole George/Izzie affair but I fell in love with it again after the writer’s strike last year.

    The whole Denny mess would have been more effective had it been shorter. However, the rest of the season has been pretty great and the last couple episodes have been phenomenal.

    Frankly, I agreed with what KH said about S4. And if she wants to leave, that’s fine. But from her comments this weekend, I think she’s OK with staying, too. And honestly, her contract stuff has no bearing on my enjoyment of Izzie again (after not liking her for quite a while).

    This story is heartbreaking and a great showcase for nearly the whole cast. And it’s making me love one of my favorite shows even more.

  • paketep


    And what really killed GA was the over-the-top, stupid, Denny storyline. Even if it was cancer in the end. They got a likeable, quiet in death, character, and run it through the mud, and then some.

  • May

    If you can’t enjoy a compelling storyline because you’re unable to seperate reality from fiction, that’s on YOU, and it’s a shame. You’re missing out.

  • Nixon

    Katherine Heigl is awesome. There is no argument as far as I am concerned. Great actress..brings so much to the show. Her main crime is her honesty – and to me that is not a crime. The writing was poor…she called them on it. The writing is now better. If she does leave for a movie career good luck to her she deserves to be on the big screen…and please dont call the Caruso card…he wasn’t making $6 million a movie…EVER…nor had her box office success before even leaving the show. It is not a risk..she is already a movie star.

  • VIC


  • I agree somewhat with the TvA. I think KH does often bite the hand that feeds her (Roswell, Shonda, Judd Apatow) and that has colored how I see her on television BUT like in the case with Tommy’s exit on B&S, these episodes have been great to watch and I’ll be satisfied if she dies or lives. I actually hope she lives because I think it will make great storylines, just like Tommy had a wonderful exit storyline with Holly on B&S.

    But I have to admit, if KH left GA and couldn’t find her footing for a while, it would kind of serve her right.

  • jackie

    Dont Blame Kh…..Blame the writers.
    i love Izize right from the start of the show and KH played her perfectly. The show had been so bad since season 3 and I wnated to stop watching but because of KH performance, I kept going back.
    If Shonda let izize dies and thus leave the show, so will I. Without Izzie , the show is ridiculous!