Audra McDonald to Replace Merrin Dungey in Cast
TV Guide reports that McDonald, a four-time Tony winner, has been tapped to replace Merrin Dungey in the role of Dr. Naomi Bennett, Dr. Montgomery's old friend from medical school and trusted confidant.
The network's surprise decision was reportedly made for creative reasons.
Earlier this month, there were rumblings that execs had concerns that the Private Practice lineup wasn't perfect, especially as of the actors, who were cast hastily, reportedly didn't "pop" with audiences.
"Grey's Anatomy was cast off whoever seemed to fit the parts best and have good chemistry," says a well-placed source. "The spin-off was cast with actors the network and studio already had under contract."
Nevertheless, there are not expected to be any further cast changes coming before the show goes into production next month.
While we'll miss Merrin Dungey, we have to think creator Shonda Rhimes and ABC made the right call by discharging her. Of all the problems viewers expressed regarding the "enhanced two-hour Grey's" episode that doubled as the Private Practice pilot, a big one was the Dungey-Walsh dynamic.
We're looking forward to the debut of the new series and the role of Audra McDonald, an acclaimed actress and singer, within it.