Did ABC’s Scandal contribute to Private Practice’s cancellation?

Kerry Washington stars in Scandal

It seems everyone has gone “Scandal” crazy, but did Shonda Rhimes’ new hit cost “Private Practice” its life? In this week’s Clacking in Color, the hip column about ethnic diversity in Hollywood, writer Jaylen Christie wonders if Rhimes bit off more than she could chew.


Whew, the past two weeks have been rather busy for me, but rest assured, I’m back with a new installment of Clacking in Color in addition to some good news! During those two eventful weeks, I discovered a new television show, one to fill the void left by Desperate Housewives — ABC’s hit primetime drama Scandal! Now, I bet I know what you’re thinking: Really, Jaylen? That show is now in its second season! Well, pipe down. I know that. However, I had a little preconceived hostility before hopping on board.

You see, the reason why I never was so gung-ho about giving Scandal a try was because I kind of saw it as the reason why one of my favorite TV shows was canceled. It’s no secret that Shonda Rhimes is a powerhouse screenwriter and producer. As an African-American writer, I respect her drive. She’s a strong sistah’. However, it can be pretty tough work balancing three different TV shows — Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal … at least that’s my opinion. Now, I may be wrong, but the way I saw it was that Scandal had a little something to do with Private Practice ending.

Alright, Scandal lovers, put your weapons down and go with me on this. I always felt as though Private Practice was the bald-headed stepchild of the three programs that Rhimes created, and I believe that the more that she invested into Scandal, the less attention she gave to Private Practice. If anyone remembers correctly, Private Practice, a sunny spin-off of Grey’s Anatomy, used to air right after Grey’s went off. Once Scandal arrived on the scene, the show was booted to Tuesdays to make way for the new program. That ain’t right, folks. It ain’t right at all.

While I’m happy to know that Scandal is gaining a loyal fan following — something that makes me smile knowing that Kerry Washington, a beautiful and talented African-American woman is the lead — it still doesn’t erase the fact that it could have been the reason why one of my favorite shows is no longer with us. Ladies and gentlemen, I loved Private Practice. As a matter of fact, the very first Clacking in Color was about Audra McDonald, one of the show’s actresses. Scandal is the culprit here … and that, my friends, is the reason why I refused to give it a try. However, now I’ve seen the light … and I’m starting to go a little blind.

I’m not going to sit here and say that Scandal is the best thing on television right now, but I am enjoying it … even if the characters talk too damn fast. My question is why in the world it took so long to get on the air. I recently wrote about how the current TV season boasts a few more racially diverse faces, but I do believe that Scandal is the only primetime drama to feature a Black woman as the lead. What gives?

If Facebook and Twitter is any indication, viewers can’t seem to get enough of the program. I can’t tell you how many times I see statuses and updates about the show which means that a lot of people are watching. Perhaps it also means that we’ll soon see more minorities featured as the leads in their own respective shows. One can only hope.

When the series finale of Private Practice aired last month, I was pretty upset. However, all good things come to an end, right? I’ll admit that I was kind of worried about finding a new TV show to follow, but it helps to know that Scandal is on the air. I’ll admit that it hasn’t hooked me like Desperate Housewives did, but I am willing to give it a try. Surprisingly, in an ironic twist of fate, it is kind of filling the void left by Private Practice. Hmph.

Hmph. Now ain’t that scandalous!

Do you enjoy reading Clacking in Color? Jaylen sure as hell hopes so. Keep up with his opinions and ponderings by following him on Twitter @thesuperflynerd!

Photo Credit: ABC

7 Comments on “Did ABC’s Scandal contribute to Private Practice’s cancellation?

  1. I loved Private Practice even better than greys in the beginning but it lost my interest and got boring. I just think it ran its course and ratings was declining even before Scandal came on the scene.

    FYI Deception starring meagan good is also now airing on nbc. but as my name indicates I am a scandal addicted gladiator in a suit.

  2. I needled you a little on Twitter on this one, so I figure I should explain.

    Firstly, you and I will never be on the same page about Private Practice. I watched from the beginning, especially when the backdoor pilot had one of my favorite casts of all time — I wasn’t a fan of recasting Merrin Dungy. I suffered through the show for two seasons, finally walking away when Violet helped cut a baby out of her own womb. I returned from time to time for cross-overs, or to watch KaDee Strickland’s incredible arc. Private Practice to me was melodrama at its worst, and was easily the least of the Shondaland shows (Including the way-underrated Off the Map in that mix).

    And while I have some serious problems with Scandal (https://cliqueclack.com/p/scandal-olivia-fitz-relationship/), I still think it’s a pretty good show. If one had to be sacrificed for the other (and I’m not sure that was the case here), Scandal was the right choice.

    But like I said, I don’t think it was one or the other. I think the writing has been on the wall for Private Practice for a while now.

  3. While I hate to agree with Dorv … I agree with Dorv.

    Private Practice definitely proved the red-headed stepchild of the Shonda-land franchise. While her other shows – Gray’s and Scandal – contained a pretty strong focus out the gate, PP is the only one that changed themes every single season. I’m still surprised PP lasted until 1/13 (and DON’T get me started with the Becketts’ on-again/off-again marriage, especially in the finale).

    While I enjoyed PP, even if Scandal hadn’t come along, I doubt it would’ve made it past 1/13.

  4. Never a fan of Grey’s or PP, but the first promo for Scandal with *SIGH* Kerry Washington was all I needed. One of the best shows on the TV box.
    Now, I could be wrong, last year Kate Walsh expressed an interest of leaving PP.
    Which left Shonda Rhimes with the dilemma of how to move forward without your lead.
    Why an actor who works hard to GET a series would want to LEAVE a series makes no sense in my pumpkin brain. But, actors be actors, I guess and the short season was the best resolution with Kate Walsh leaving. So, 6 season, 111 episodes, just enough for syndication. Be interesting to see where Kate Walsh lands next.
    So, welcome Jaylen, yer in for some fun.

  5. I have watched Scanda from the begining and I think it is a very good show. And you are right all good things come to an end. Private Pactice had a good run. Also nice article!!

  6. Word. We always thought Private Practice got the boot because of Scandal! Was it a coincidence that Private Practice was shoved to Tuesdays so Scandal could have Grey’s lead in?

    Seems like Kate Walsh saw the writing on the wall and quit.

    We didn’t get on the Scandal wagon until season 2, out of sheer resentment, LOL. Loved the PP characters and have no doubt it would’ve continued successfully if it had Shonda’s attentiveness…and hadn’t been robbed of its time slot.

    Do we like Scandal? The show is shockingly addictive! Haven’t been hooked on a series like this since the original DALLAS days. Truly think Scandal could have a “Who Shot J.R.” type of season finale cliffhanger at some point. It’s THAT good. The audience lives and breathes these characters just like they did J.R Ewing, etc.

    So we’re starting a Scandal series on our podcast, to dish about the show in all its delicious glory. ;-)

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