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'Scandal' Season 3 Episode Order Reduced Amid Kerry Washington's Pregnancy Report

December 7, 2013 (3:37 am) GMT
The third season episode order has been cut from 22 to 18 likely due the lead actress' pregnancy, which won't be incorporated into the storyline.

ABC has trimmed "" season 3 episode order from the full 22-episode order to 18. It's considered unusual since the Shonda Rhimes-created drama is a hit for the network. There's no official explanation for the cutback, but the news comes on the heel of reports that lead star is pregnant.

The Emmy-nominated actress herself hasn't confirmed her pregnancy, but it's highly likely that the decision to reduce "Scandal" episode was made to accomodate this. The 36-year-old, who is married to NFL player Nnamdi Asomugha, is reportedly due to give birth in spring, which would've given no time for the show to complete the filming of the last four episodes.

It has been reported before that Washington's pregnancy will not be incorporated into the storyline. Sources also tell TVLine that the writers won't write Olivia Pope out of the show for an extended period of time.

"Scandal" will air its midseason finale on December 12 before taking a winter hiatus. The show will return with new episodes starting February 27.

Earlier this year, "" had an abbreviated season 6 to accomodate the pregnancy of lead actress .

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