Audra McDonald by Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com
Apparently, Addison goes through girlfriends as fast as she does boyfriends: When
debuts this fall, Kate Walsh's character will have a new BFF - Audra McDonald. A spokesperson for ABC Studios confirms that the four-time Tony winner has been tapped to replace Merrin Dungey in the role of Dr. Naomi Bennet, Doc Montgomery's confidante. The decision was made for creative reasons.
Earlier this month, there were rumblings that execs had concerns that the
lineup wasn't perfect, especially after some of the actors didn't "pop" with audiences. "
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.
Personally, as much as I love Dungey - particulary her kick-ass stint on
- I think
creator Shonda Rhimes and ABC made the right call by discharging her. Of all the problems I had with last month's "enhanced two-hour
" episode, my biggest was the Dungey-Walsh dynamic. These two were about as believable as bosom buddies as Rosie O'Donnell and Anne Coulter. Again, love Dungey, just not in this part.
What do you guys think? Should Dungey have been given more time to
opposite Walsh? Or were the suits right to pull a Steven Carrington and give Naomi an extreme makeover?