Merrin Dungey Out of 'Practice'

The tweaking of "Private Practice" that ABC's president promised back in May has begun.

Actually, it's more than just a tweak: The "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff has recast one of its lead roles, replacing Merrin Dungey with multiple Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, the showbiz trade papers report.

Dungey ("Alias," "The King of Queens") starred in the "Grey's" episode that set up "Private Practice," playing a friend of Addison's (Kate Walsh) from medical school who's now a partner in a Los Angeles practice -- and who recently split from her husband (Taye Diggs), also a partner in the business. The show will also star Tim Daly ("The Nine"), Amy Brenneman ("Judging Amy"), Paul Adelstein ("Prison Break") and Chris Lowell ("Veronica Mars").

When he announced ABC's fall schedule in May, ABC Entertainment chief Stephen McPherson noted that there was still "some work to do" on "Private Practice," even though the "Grey's" episode that introduced it drew more than 20 million viewers. "I think it spent a lot of time introducing the characters and not as much time on stories," he said at the time.

Audiences now will be introduced to McDonald as well. The actress' recent TV credits include The WB's "The Bedford Diaries" and a recurring part on NBC's "Kidnapped." She earned an Emmy nomination in 2001 for her role in the HBO movie "Wit."

Her greatest successes have come on stage, however. She has won four Tony Awards in her career, most recently for the 2004 revival of "A Raisin in the Sun." She's set to reprise her role in an ABC movie due later this year.

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World