Audra McDonald (Naomi Bennett) often tweeted about the tough commute from New York to LA and it looks like the frequent flyer miles have finally exacted their price on the multi-talented McDonald, as it was announced today she will no longer be a series regular on the hit ABC series.
In an statement to TVLine’s Michael Ausiello, McDonald said, “I have spent four amazing years working with the best cast and crew on television at Private Practice. Though I am stepping away from the series as a regular in order to spend more time in New York with my family, I am not closing the door on Private Practice or the character, Naomi. I am beyond grateful to Shonda Rhimes, ABC and the team behind the show.”
The multiple Tony and Grammy -award winning actress received nothing but praise from her boss, Shonda Rhimes who said, “We are so appreciative of Audra and her talents and look forward to having her return to Private Practice as often as possible. Audra has been a bicoastal commuter throughout our four seasons on the air, and, ultimately, we respect and appreciate her desire to spend more time with family in New York.
This is a big loss to Private Practice as Naomi has often been the moral center of the show. But TV’s loss could definitely be Broadway’s gain. Let’s just hope the Great White Way gives Ms. McDonald time off to re-visit Oceanside Wellness in the future.