Katherine Heigl will return to Grey's Anatomy for Season 6, according to a statement from ABC. The news comes just hours after T.R. Knight's Grey's Anatomy exit was finally confirmed — by both the actor and series creator Shonda Rhimes.
ABC declined TVGuide.com's request for further comment from Rhimes (who did issue a statement on Friday regarding Knight's departure). Similarly, Heigl's rep said no statement was forthcoming from the actress.
The announcement ends months of speculation over Heigl's future with the show. In June 2008, she made statements about her Emmy worthiness that appeared to cast aspersion on the Grey's Anatomy writing staff. Not long after that controversy, there were reports that Rhimes would exact a sort of "payback" by killing off Izzie Stevens, Heigl's character. Seemingly confirming such speculation, Izzie was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic brain cancer and appeared to flat-line in the season-finale episode.
In other Grey's news, ABC also officially announced that Jessica Capshaw, whose Dr. Arizona Robbins has been a breath of fresh air in the often angsty halls of Seattle Grace, will continue with the show — now as a series regular.