Addison Montgomery got her own TV show after debuting in Grey’s Anatomy, but why didn’t Izzie Stevens get hers? Let’s take a look.
Grey’s Anatomy gave Addison Montgomery her own TV show, but why didn’t a major character like Izzie Stevens get hers? Created by Shonda Rhimes, Grey’s Anatomy debuted on ABC in 2005 as a mid-season replacement, but it was so well-received by critics and viewers, it has lived on for over 10 seasons – and while most of the main characters introduced in season 1 are now gone, the series shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.
Like any other medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy follows the lives of surgical interns, residents, and attendings as they juggle their professional and personal lives, which always end up overlapping, and there’s always a lot of drama. Grey’s Anatomy is led by Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), who started as an intern at Seattle Grace Hospital (now Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital) alongside other characters that are no longer part of the show, but who left a big mark in the hearts of fans. Among those is Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl), whose arc in the series was always full of tragedy.
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Izzie’s life was a roller-coaster even before the events of Grey’s Anatomy, as she worked as a waitress to save for college and her mother spent her savings on drugs. Izzie got pregnant at the age of 15 and gave her baby up for adoption. She worked as a lingerie model to pay for medical school, and that’s how she ended up as an intern at Seattle Grace Hospital. She had a tumultuous relationship with Alex Karev, but one of her most memorable and tragic storylines was that of Denny Duquette (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), a cardiothoracic patient she fell in love with. Denny passed away, but he left an inheritance of $8.7 million to Izzie, which she used to open a free clinic at the hospital, named Denny Duquette Memorial Clinic. Because of this, and when rumors began about a Grey’s Anatomy spinoff, fans were hoping for it to be one about Izzie, but it ended up being all about Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh), a neonatal surgeon and Derek Shepherd’s ex-wife.
The show, titled Private Practice, was received with mixed reactions, but it lived on for six seasons and made way for a new character that later joined Grey’s Anatomy as a series regular: Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone), Derek’s sister. While Addison was an interesting character, she wasn’t as popular as the main characters of Grey’s Anatomy, especially Izzie, whose story after opening the clinic could have easily made way for a spin-off series. Speaking to USA Today in 2007, Katherine Heigl shared she was hoping to get an Izzie spin-off series, but it was instead given to Addison. Although a reason for Izzie not getting her own show hasn’t been revealed, it could have had something to do with Heigl’s bad reputation behind-the-scenes. Heigl is known as a difficult person to work with, and in 2008 she declined to put her name forward for consideration at the Emmy Awards under the excuse of hadn’t been given enough material on the series to warrant a nomination. This was only the beginning of her problems with the team behind Grey’s Anatomy, which ultimately led to her departure from the show.
An Izzie spin-off show could have given her a better ending than the one Grey’s Anatomy came up with, which in a way felt like a waste of time for those who have been following the series for years. Izzie was revealed to be working as a surgical oncologist in Kansas and to be a single mother of twins, who are Alex Karev’s kids. Alex ended up leaving his life in Seattle to be with Izzie and their kids, and that was the end of their arcs. Ultimately, Private Practice didn’t have the desired impact and success, and while an Izzie spin-off might have been better, who knows if it would have lasted long given Heigl’s reputation behind-the-scenes.
Next: Grey’s Anatomy: Why Katherine Heigl’s Izzie Left In Season 6
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