Audra McDonald to Replace Merrin Dungey in Cast

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Apparently, Addison Montgomery goes through girlfriends as fast as she does boyfriends. When Private Practice debuts this fall, Kate Walsh's character will have a new BFF - Audra McDonald.

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.

Audra McDonald Photo
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.

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

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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 place is better than a telenovela!

Bailey

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