Kerry Washington

Scandal will have a slightly shorter third season than expected: The season's episode order has been cut down from 22 to 18, TVGuide.com has confirmed.

ABC didn't provide a reason behind the decision, but it's likely to accommodate Kerry Washington's real-life pregnancy. The actress is due in the spring and the series has chosen not to write the pregnancy into Olivia's story line.

TV Couples: Hot or not?

Scandal will air its 10th episode of the season next Thursday and then return for the final eight episodes starting Feb. 27.

Scandal airs Thursdays at 10/9c on ABC.