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After "Dark Season," Shonda Rhimes Vows to Take Grey's Anatomy Forward

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Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes said she is confident fans will put last year's unsettling season in perspective and remain loyal to the ABC drama.

"It's a thing that happens in any show," she said. "People love you, then there has to be a moment ... in which people disagree with where you're going creatively. But if you're telling your stories well they'll stick with you, hopefully, and watch us grow and change."

The series will get back to having fun next season, Rhimes promised in an interview with the Associated Press Thursday.

Shonda Rhimes acknowledged that story lines including death and infidelity represented a "darker journey," one that provoked some critics and fans.

The series was also hit by the real-life drama involving Isaiah Washington, who was ultimately not re-signed to the show after Season 3.

Shonda Rhimes Picture

Shonda Rhimes said the show rose above that crisis.

"It was a difficult season for [Grey's Anatomy] behind the scenes. But, creatively, we moved in the direction we planned to move," Rhimes told a meeting of the Television Critics Association.

Isaiah Washington moved on quickly, hired by NBC to appear in five episodes of NBC's new fall drama, Bionic Woman. Last week, NBC exec Ben Silverman said he had spoke to Isaiah about coming to the network even before the actor was released by ABC in June.

Rhimes, who had called Washington with the network's decision, was asked if she was aware he had talked to NBC and what her reaction was to his hiring.

"No, I wasn't aware of any conversation that may have happened before I had a conversation with him," she said. "I guess I don't have a reaction. He's a very talented actor. I hope he does really well with Bionic Woman. I hope that show does well."

"Not as well as Private Practice," she added, a reference to the Grey's Anatomy spin-off debuting this fall. The series stars Kate Walsh as her Grey's Anatomy character, Dr. Addison Montgomery Shepherd, and co-stars include Amy Brenneman, Tim Daly and Taye Diggs.

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Esther, It's not Shonda's fault that Isaiah got released from the network... it's kind of tough to keep Burketina together without Burke...

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Nope won't be coming back. I like Shonda Rhimes, she has balls thats good because she's in Hollywood. According to write ups about her, she is an intensely private and introverted person. Unfortunately, when you have a product which requires you to cater to your consumers, its a tough place to be, although she has strived for balance, often times, she has missed her mark. I hope this is a learning curve she is undergoing but I don't have the patience to stay with her on this one because she has annihalated my favourite character and relationship pairing. It is of course her show and she is the creator, but I am a paying consumer - I matter too. Good luck to all you Mer/Der fans hopefully she can do justice to that relationship for your viewing pleasure. I invested 3 years in the Burketina relationship and she let me down. She asked me to have faith in her but she is a liar. And now all the press she delivers, I feel like she is speaking from both sides of her mouth, like a two faced character. Of course, this is just my humble opinion. No one need agree with me, just stating how I feel.

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Very true.

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Hey Debs, i also have to watch season 4 on the net, but it doesnt matter, at least its better than nothing.

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Hey Hafsa I second that. I wait to see season 4. Although i´ll have to watch it on the net. Because season 3 has only started on the tv here in Dulin last week. There showing 2 episodes a week so it might be over before season 4 starts.

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AHHHHHH!!! i feel better already. Shonda is listening to her fans after all, lets hope there will be no more disappointments. Cant wait for season 4 to start.