It came from a very unlikely source. After months upon months of leaking the rumors and subsequently denying them, James Pickens Jr., of all people, was the one who let the cat out of the bag. The actor who plays the chief of surgery on Grey's Anatomy merely confirmed what was on everyone's mind since I can remember that Katherine Heigl and T.R. Knight will be leaving Seattle Grace soon.
If you've been a fan of the show, it shouldn't really come as a surprise. The last few episodes of the ABC medical dramedy have featured less and less of Dr. George O'Malley, leading up to the most recent one when he was on-screen for a grand total of ten seconds. As for Heigl, there was the infamous barb to the show's writers for not making her character's material Emmy-worthy. Now that the news is out, Us Weekly even quoted a source as saying that Knight would periodically complain to Heigl about the direction their characters were taking.
I momentarily stopped when I first heard of the news. Then I started picturing Seattle Grace without Izzie and George. As much as I hate to admit it, I felt an incompleteness in the whole thing. Sure, the writers may have eased us on George leaving, but Izzie is another thing altogether. As a result, I'm kind of sadder that Izzie is leaving compared to George (a sign than the writers have indeed done a good job in getting him completely out of the viewers' consciousness).
Izzie provided a good antithesis to Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Cristina (Sandra Oh). Izzie is bubbly and perky (and blonde); Meredith and Cristina are gloomy and dark. Izzie is optimistic; Meredith and Cristina almost always expect the worst. Izzie can out-smile the best of them; when Meredith and Cristina try to smile, they end up looking constipated and pinched.
As for George, the guy had always been there since the beginning; too quietly at times perhaps, but he'd always been there. When he failed his internship exam, we wept with him. When he was torn between Callie (Sara Ramirez) and Izzie, we were equally torn. When he started lingering in the background, we certainly noticed (I initially thought he was being a prima donna; turns out he had something to complain about after all). George had a unique niche among the then interns. Meredith was the depressing one, Cristina, intense, Izzie, perky, and as for George? He's the little teddy bear that everyone cared for. Or at least was. Both the characters either didn't grow in the right direction or didn't grow at all, and that's due to no fault of either.
I seriously wonder what will happen to Seattle Grace after the two leaves. Does it mean we're going to see more of the other supposedly minor characters, such as Sloan (Eric Dane) and Callie? Or will we be bombarded with even more MerDer or Yang-Owen? The Grey's universe will certainly feel smaller when the two leave. At the very least, we can only take solace in the fact that their respective exits will leave room for come-backs in the future. Who knows? A spin-off doesn't sound like a bad idea at this point.