Shonda Rhimes Explains Scandal, Private Practice Casting Moves; Blasts Bunheads

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Shonda Rhimes has spoken out for the first time regarding two cast shake-ups on two of her hit shows.

In a chat with William Keck of TV Guide Magazine, the super producer first addresses the departure of Henry Ian Cusick from Scandal; and then Tim Daly from Private Practice.

Shonda Rhimes Image

"Henry Ian Cusick is such a great guy," Rhimes said. "In the making of the show, there was less for him to do than is deserving of him. I felt, why hold him back from doing other things?"

As for Daly... "There's a lot of budgetary issues on that show," Rhimes said of Private Practice, which was a last-minute renewal by ABC. "We need to make sure the show is viable and that we can produce it. I feel as though Tim's character had a wonderful journey."

Meanwhile, Rhimes took to Twitter last night and created a stir of a very different kind. Following the premiere of ABC Family's Bunheads, she wrote:

Hey @abcfbunheads: really? You couldn't cast even ONE young dancer of color so I could feel good about my kid watching this show? NOT ONE?

Considering the clout Rhimes yields, and the sheer number of followers she possesses, it's safe to assume this isn't the last we've heard of that subject.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Get a life lady. They don't have to cast someone based on their color. They call that racism.

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I looked at a bunch of cast photos and did see a young lady of color. Perhaps Miss Rhimes missed her. I have reached a point in life where I am fairly unmoved by a show loaded with people of color or a show loaded with we colorless people. I guess lots of others are still keeping score.

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I think it is hard for non-people of color to understand that it is very difficult to have our children watch shows that depict a purely white cast. Somehow it always seems as if these shows have no clue about the diverse America that exists. There are plenty of shows that have mainly white casts...but this show is geared toward children and comes from a "Family channel." Is ABC family channel trying to tell us they only want to depict white families.

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I have no problem with Cusick (Scandal) or Daly (Private Practice). They both played characters were nothing special. Shonda was right to call out the lack of diversity on Bunheads. ABC Family and Amy Sherman-Palladino just like HBO with Girls should be ashamed that they have shows with absolutely no people of color in the cast. The demographics of this country is changing rapidly and businesses that want to make profit should know better.

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@Spindae The term that is accepted is the one that Shonda used. She said, "person of color" not "colored." This is not the 1950s. Either use the right term or say nothing about this topic because you are embarrassing yourself.

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Just to be clear: I have no objection to shows where the main cast is all-white, if it fits the subject matter. Downton Abbey, Mad Men and most family sitcoms come to mind. Even "Girls" on HBO makes sense, as it's based on the writer's personal experience. But more often than not, shows exclude minorities from lead roles or good supporting roles when it isn't even essential to the plot. If Jake Gyllenhaal can play a Persian Prince and Angelina Jolie can play an African American woman, I don't see why a fictional show about a random small suburban town, needs to be devoid of Black people for "authenticity", particularly when that isn't quite the norm in real life. The Fresh Prince of Bel-air example makes no sense because it's a sitcom about a family; plus it exists in a sea of TV shows dominated by white characters, which makes it the exception rather than the norm. Similarly, it is hypocritical to attack a station like BET, when it exists because the average white American viewer has little interest in watching shows featuring black characters. As long as major networks keep refusing to air these shows, then BET will continue to exist.

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It can't be uplifting for girls of color to repeatedly tune into shows that only highlight or promote white actresses, particularly if that show features an activity like ballet, which tends to be very popular among little girls of all ethnicities. So I understand Shonda's concern as a mother. We live in a country that's 50% non-white, with no shortage of talented minorities in the performing arts. Catchy phrases like "forced diversity" are based on myth, because if casting were truly colorblind, then most shows would be racially diverse with minorities landing better roles. Instead, we have a bunch of poorly scripted "token" roles reserved for minorities in order to create the illusion of fairness and diversity. Shonda Rhimes is not asking for handouts or tokenism. She's challenging the propensity of producers to unnecessarily whitewash their cast at the expense of others, particularly when the plot doesn't call for it. (To be continued above).

Tvjunkie

Actually, I don't think that Tim's character or Pete had finished his journey at all. I mean, there's obviously still a story there especially with the fact that he has a son. If we're talking about journeys that could've ended due to budgetary issues I'd say Amelia would be a good one to send off cause she's gone through a lot. And Sheldon basically has no story so you could cut him off too. As well as either Sam or Jake depending on who Addison chooses. I just don't think Pete's story is done yet. As for the Bunheads comment, I love Shonda and all but I think the show and cast is great the way it is.

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Not sure if Taye Diggs should be Insulted (he's obviously only on PP because she needed a "colored" person, not because of his acting ability) or he should be Happy (Job Security!)

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Shondas comment about colour is a joke. Some have said it is subtle racism to have shows with only white people. Well racism works both ways, some people seem to forget that. Based on her logic i cant feel happy about watching reruns of the fresh prince of bel air etc. because the cast is all or predominantly black. This is just a stupid comment to make.

Private Practice Quotes

Charlotte: My mom always says God doesn't give with both hands. You're young, beautiful, brilliant. There has to be something you can't have.
Amelia: Some days I'd give that all up.
Charlotte: That's just the craving talking. The longer you go without a drink...
Amelia: I drank at your wedding. I thought it was ginger ale. I spit it out.
Charlotte: OK, since then?
Amelia: Nothing, but I can't stop thinking about it.
Charlotte: It was an accident. Don't let a slip turn into a fall. Get your butt to a meeting.

This kid has a gift. Who are we to take it away from him?

Amelia

Private Practice Music

  Song Artist
Song Lost The Mary Onettes
Down in the valley Down In The Valley The Broken West iTunes
Song Message From Yuz The Switches
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