Celebrities

Is TV Finally Ready for a Katherine Heigl Renaissance?

Katherine Heigl is officially Suit-ing up. (Sorry.) The actress, best known for her performance on Grey’s Anatomy, as well as feature films including Knocked Up and 27 Dresses, will join the USA legal drama’s eighth season as a series regular, per The Hollywood Reporter, which writes that Heigl will star as “a talented new partner at Pearson Specter Litt who challenges the status quo and will either become the firm’s greatest ally or most powerful enemy.”

Heigl will be stepping in as future princess Meghan Markle makes her exit from the series, along with her longtime co-star Patrick J. Adams. “Joining Suits was the perfect organic way to not only collaborate with an E.P. I admire deeply, but to also become part of a show and cast that I am an immense fan of,” Heigl told T.H.R. “I have watched Suits from the very beginning and feel incredibly lucky to be the newest member of the Pearson Specter Litt family.”

Her casting comes a little less than 10 years after Heigl—the only Grey’s series regular who has ever won an Emmy for acting on the show—found herself at the center of a media firestorm after she gently critiqued the film Knocked Up, in which she had just starred. “It was a little sexist,” Heigl told Vanity Fair in a cover story. “It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys . . . Ninety-eight percent of the time it was an amazing experience, but it was hard for me to love the movie.” Her words catalyzed a controversy that soon subsumed Heigl’s reputation in Hollywood—and was exacerbated a few months later, when Heigl withdrew from the Emmys race because, as she said in a statement, “I did not feel that I was given the material this season to warrant an Emmy nomination and in an effort to maintain the integrity of the academy organization, I withdrew my name from contention. In addition, I did not want to potentially take away an opportunity from an actress who was given such materials.”

Soon, Heigl was being labeled as an actress who was “difficult” to work with—a classification that has faced increasing scrutiny in the past few years, as women have been emboldened to describe in more detail the discrimination they’ve faced while working in the entertainment industry. It’s fascinating, for instance, to wonder what Heigl might think of Ellen Pompeo’sdelightfully candid, brash discussion of her experience securing what she considers a fair wage, published in The Hollywood Reporter just two weeks ago. Heigl was raked over the coals for calling Judd Apatow’s movie sexist; Pompeo was celebrated on social media for calling out her male co-star, Patrick Dempsey, for allegedly refusing to team with her in order to negotiate their salaries.

Heigl stayed on Grey’s Anatomy for two years after her Emmy-submission kerfuffle, though her final moments on the series were often difficult to watch; her character, Izzie, was saddled with a particularly aggressive form of brain cancer and forced to watch her relationship with her husband devolve. (She survived, but has not yet reappeared on the series.) Since Grey’s, Heigl has starred in two network series—CBS’s Doubt and NBC’s State of Affairs, neither of which received a second season. Could an established cable show be Heigl’s ticket back into Hollywood’s good graces?

For what it’s worth, Heigl has already apologized to Shonda Rhimes for her comments about Grey’s. As she told Howard Sterntwo years ago, “I wasn’t feeling good about my work that season . . . As an actor, if you want to get nominated [for an Emmy], you have to submit your work. That year, I said I’m not going to submit [anything] because there is nothing I feel good about . . . I didn’t feel good about my performance . . . and there was a part of me that thought, because I had won the year before, that I needed juicy, dramatic, emotional material.” (At the time, the theory was that Heigl wanted out of her contract.) In the same interview, she called herself an “immature dumbass” for criticizing Knocked Up. Perhaps now, with the ordeal a solid decade behind her, Heigl will finally find a truly fresh start in Suits. Given the show’s popularity, she’d be hard-pressed to find a better opportunity.

Get Vanity Fair’s HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Full ScreenPhotos:22 Movies and TV Shows That Will Save Us in 2018

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<em>Westworld</em> (Season 2)

Westworld (Season 2)

HBO is once again hoping you’ll ignore the big Game of Thrones-shaped hole in its schedule and turn your attention back to the sci-fi mind game that is Westworld. The Emmy-nominated series, starring Evan Rachel Wood and Thandie Newton, is ready to confound you once again in its second season. Until its spring 2018 premiere, take a trip back in time and revisit nine burning questions we still have about the finale.By John P. Johnson/HBO.

<em>Grown-ish</em>

Grown-ish

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Superhero Smorgasbord

Superhero Smorgasbord

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The Winter Olympics

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<em>Roseanne</em>

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<em>Ocean’s 8</em>

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<em>The Assassination of Gianni Versace</em>

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<em>The Chi</em>

The Chi

After breaking out on Master of None and winning a historic Emmy for one of this year’s best TV episodes, Lena Waithe is ready to claim her spot in the prestige-TV realm. Enter The Chi, her Showtime series about young people coming of age in Chicago, set to premiere on Jan. 7.By Matt Dinerstein/SHOWTIME.

<em>A Wrinkle in Time</em>

A Wrinkle in Time

The classic Madeleine L’Engle tale is finally coming to the big screen on March 9, 2018, thanks to Disney and director Ava DuVernay. The sci-fi story about a girl tesseracting her way through time to find her missing father will star newcomer Storm Reid alongside stars like Oprah Winfrey,Mindy Kaling,Reese Witherspoon, and Chris Pine.By Atsushi Nishijima/Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios.

<em>Solo: A Star Wars Story</em>

Solo: A Star Wars Story

After some catastrophic ups and downs, Han Solo’s origin story will finally be revealed to us on May 25, 2018. The Star Wars spin-off stars Alden Ehrenreich as the galactic smuggler and also features Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian and Emilia Clarke playing a mysterious character named Kira.From Lucasfilm Ltd./Everett Collection.

Laura BradleyLaura Bradley is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com. She was formerly an editorial assistant at Slate and lives in Brooklyn.

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