Isaiah Washington Out of 'Grey's Anatomy'
Actor's contract not picked up for next season
The 43-year-old Washington, who played Dr. Preston Burke on the ABC hit, won't be back next season; ABC Studios, which produces the show, confirms that it didn't pick up his contract option for next season. There aren't many details beyond that, although a number of reports cite his behavior -- including the incident in which he allegedly directed a homophobic slur against co-star T.R. Knight -- as playing a role in the producers' decision.
Washington's only comment on the situation comes via his publicist and quotes Howard Beale in "Network": "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore."
Speculation about Washington's fate on "Grey's" has swirled since the season finale, when Burke split with fiancee Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh) and moved out of the apartment the couple shared. Reports say the final decision came down Thursday -- not long after word came that Knight, whose character was also at loose ends in the finale, would be returning.
Washington first attracted controversy last fall when, in a dustup on the show's set, he reportedly called Knight a "faggot." The matter died down until the Golden Globe awards in January, when, as the cast and crew were backstage celebrating a win for best drama series, Washington leaned into the microphone to assert that he hadn't used the slur.
That set off a huge volley of protest, with other cast members, notably Katherine Heigl, rallying behind Knight and activist groups demanding that Washington apologize. He eventually did, and also entered counseling and taped a public service announcement about the power of words.
How the show explains Washington's departure on screen remains to be seen. The rest of the cast -- except Kate Walsh, who's moved on to the spinoff "Private Practice" -- is expected back next season, although Heigl is still negotiating.