Scott Foley: ABC Dropped Me From ‘Scandal’ — Four Years Ago


Scott Foley will never forget the day that Shonda Rhimes broke the news to him that he no longer would be on Scandal.

Relax: Foley’s Jake Ballard isn’t going anywhere when the ABC drama returns Thursday night after a two-month hiatus. Instead, the actor was recalling the moment four years ago when ABC decided he was the wrong actor to play “gladiator” Stephen Finch (portrayed by Henry Ian Cusick in the first season), even though Rhimes had already promised him the part.

“I had read the Scandal pilot script very early on in the process and really wanted to be a part of it,” says Foley. “I went through the process and ABC didn’t think I was the right choice for it. It was probably one of the hardest phone calls that Shonda’s had to make, to me at least. Saying, ‘Hey, I know I said you had this role…but you don’t have this role any more!’”

Of course, Rhimes and Foley had the last laugh, as the actor ended up on Scandal anyway, in a much juicer, higher-profile role, while Cusick quietly disappeared from the series after Season 1. “Thank God I didn’t get it!” Foley says now. “Shonda, true to her word, got me on the show and found a great role and has really turned this character, with the ‘meet cute’ that Olivia and Jake had in a coffee shop, into a really important, viable part of the story. …Everything always works out!”

ABC’s scandalous Scandal behavior wasn’t the only juicy revelation that Foley shared with TV & Not TV as he prepared for the show’s midseason return on Jan. 29:

His wife hates Scandal spoilers. Lots of people press Foley for Scandal intel, but not his wife, Marika. “This is the first job I’ve ever had where I can’t run lines with her. I can’t tell her anything. She won’t let me! And it’s hard, because I have a lot of lines,” says Foley. “Shonda does a great job, unlike other shows, of giving you things to say and really strong, tough dialogue, and I have, for 12 years now, the night before, always been able to run my lines with my wife. I can’t do that on this. She doesn’t want to know anything. She gets mad when I say, ‘Babe, just this once!’ She won’t do it.”

He’s addicted to HGTV — and Downton Abbey. The passion that Scandal fans have for his show is rivaled only by Foley’s devotion to all things HGTV. “I’m a big HGTV watcher,” he says. “I have my cable box turned to HGTV so when my cable turns on, it’s on HGTV. Property Brothers, Fixer Upper, Income Property, House Hunters, Love It or List It…I’m pretty handy!”

The actor is also savoring the chance to catch up on the new season of Downton Abbey with his wife, Marika. “Downton Abbey’s back, and I’m very excited,” he says. “Given our schedule, we’ll usually sit down and watch two or three episodes at a time. We’ll probably watch it all in a week and a half. We like to hold out, though, because once it’s gone, you’ve got to wait another year. It’s like Orange is the New Black!”

Raising three kids is overwhelming. As the father of a two-month-old newborn, son Konrad, Foley realizes he may be in over his head now that he has three kids, all under 5. “I only have three, but I recently read that someone with four kids said, ‘Imagine drowning, and then someone throwing you a baby,’” he says. “And I thought, that’s right! I kind of feel like I’m drowning right now!”

He doesn’t miss filming love scenes with a pregnant Kerry Washington. Shooting Scandal last season proved to be a challenge for the cast and crew, who had to disguise the fact that star Kerry Washington was pregnant in real life — but not on the show. “It was so strange,” says Foley. “They did such a good job last year of not really having to deal with it. Look, it was obviously a presence in every scene we did, but the only times I really thought about it was the love scenes we would have, which made it a little awkward.”

But not any more: “Having her back in full force this year, and having her around and able, it’s a blessing for the show,” says Foley.

Check back Thursday, when Foley teases Scandal’s big return, and Jake’s frantic search for the now-missing Olivia Pope.

9 thoughts on “Scott Foley: ABC Dropped Me From ‘Scandal’ — Four Years Ago

  1. Martin

    Wow, so ABC knows that Scott is a horrible actor yet Shonda forces him into every story line possible and degrades the lead to prop him. What a shame! Scandal sucks now.

  2. LeeSP

    Scott Foley really thinks he is an important part of Scandal. Typical White Male Privilege
    Kerry Washington is the only Lead actor on the show. It is her show and he should pay her more respect instead of whining about her being pregnant last reason. Douche

    Scandal was a big hit before he come on board and ruined the show with his bad acting. The reason it was a hit was due to the the brilliance of Kerry’s performance on the show and getting the cast/crew to live tweet to spread the word.

    BTW, he would have made a terrible Stephen – not believable as a powerful charming womanizing lawyer. He can’t even sell the whiny useless Jake and he has no chemistry with Kerry. As the NY Post said he is “terminally bland”.

    Scott always come off as so full of himself. I hope Shonda gives him a show so he can leave Scandal.

  3. Joy

    WOW, this goes to show just how much Shonda loves this guy. And he definitely knows how to kiss her ass. OR does SHE kiss his ass?? Look, the man has three kids, I get it- he NEEDS a job. It would be hard to tell anyone that they were out of a job, HOWEVER, keeping a bland actor on show ultimately hurts your (Shonda’s) credibility, creativity and objectivity. Yes I watch Scandal but I don’t respect Shonda anymore. If she really cares about Foley, let her find something off camera for him. But wait- he even failed at WRITING his own little movie. I watched the little trailer and I knew right then that it would be a failure. I think ‘Variety’ ripped that movie in half with their commentary.

    ABC should have stuck to their guns and not let this guy on this show. His presence serves the show nothing. They even tried to ‘see if they could write him as Vice President to Fitz’ WHAAAAT??? They basically don’t know what to do with him, so they improvise simply because Shonda says so! It pains me to the core really, such a beautiful little show gone all dark and boring on us! I miss the case of the week with the gladiators..
    B613 AND JAKE spoiled Scandal for me. …. and I absolutely LOATHE that character. Perhaps if we had a better actor it would work? I don’t know….

  4. Marilyn Prescott

    You are so candid with your life. BTW, Your wife is beautiful. I think Jake is an interesting character. Although I do not want Olivia to be with him, he brings so much spice to Olivia’s life. Fitz is not available, so Jake gives Liv what she needs as a healthy, sexual woman. I too love HGTV and nearly all the same shows. Don’t you hate it that Jillian never gets to do all she’s planned for the renovation on Love it or List it, bc there is always a major problem. Too scripted, but love to see the lovely transformations she does. I love Scott Foley who is so funny.

  5. Cena Gomez

    Well Shonda Rhimes is the only person who loves this guy. The fans hate Jake and Scott is not a good actor. Jake has to be one of the worse and most forced character in TV history. Shonda almost made a killer assassin VP on this show. Its insane. I wish ABC will step in again and get rid of this dude. Scandal best years were Pre Jake. Olivia Pope character has been diminished because of Rhimes obsession with this bland boring character.

  6. Helen

    This show was inspired by Judy Smith and supposed to focus on Olivia Pope, highly successful political fixer/lawyer, empowered, black female professional. How it turned to focus so much of its plot on the ridiculous B6-13 storyline and terminally mediocre acting talent of Scott Foley is unbelievable. That storyline is complete bust and makes no sense in the context of a show about fixing or politics. They transformed the show to revolve around this idiotic d-plot, spy show. It will never be an Alias or Nikita/La Femme Nikita calibre spy thriller. Shonda did a ridiculous bait and switch of the premise and actually ended up crafting the last 2 seasons to accommodate one white, privileged, male actor who is a sub-par talent from the get-go. Congrats Scott Foley, I guess you know where the bodies are buried. You apparently have a lifetime job in Shondaland.

    1. Treasure

      This show was SO annoying to me at first. But I relaly like Kerry Washington (even though I relaly don’t think I’ve seen her in anything LOL, I guess I just like the way she handles herself?) but OMG by the end I got addicted.The biggest problem for me at first were those looong overdrawn monologues that’s so Grey’s Anatomy. I guess you just get used to it now.


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