ABC has trimmed Scandal‘s Season 3 episode order from 22 to 18, TVLine has learned.
The network gave no official explanation for the cutback, but it’s safe to say the decision was made in response to the real-life pregnancy of leading lady Kerry Washington. The actress’ spring due date would’ve made shooting those final four episodes next to impossible (and, according to sources, writing Olivia out of the show for an extended period of time was not an option.)
As it is, shooting around Washington’s growing baby bump will prove challenging enough for the series — which, as TVLine previously reported, has chosen not to incorporate the pregnancy into Olivia’s storyline.
Scandal will have aired 10 episodes as of next week’s fall finale, which means eight episodes will remain when the show returns on Feb. 27.