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Rhimes: Heigl asked for light schedule

TCA -- On ABC’s showrunner panel, critics repeatedly pressed "Grey’s Anatomy" creator Shonda Rhimes for her reaction to Katherine Heigl's statement that her role was not Emmy-worthy last season.

"When I was told about it, my reaction was surprised," she says. "I have a really wonderful working relationship with Katherine. Everybody knows Izzie is one off my favorite characters."

"I would put her in a coma," says "Ugly Betty" showrunner Silvio Horta, drawing laughs.

Asked again, Rhimes said: "It’s not insulting the writers per se. The first half of the season she had a very strong storyline with George that played out a lot more comedic than a lot of her storylines … The back half of the season, Katherine asked me to write her light so that she could do her movie. I don’t feel insulted."

As for the lesbian storyline next season, Rhimes says, "We have a really interesting, funny way of laying out a story for Erica (Brooke Smith) and Callie (Sara Ramirez). It’s not your typical way of dealing with the storyline; we sat down with them and talked about women who figure out they’re lesbians later in life and we found out some interesting things to play out."