There will be less “Scandal” on ABC‘s schedule this season than originally planned. The network has reduced the order for the hot Shonda Rhimes drama from 22 to 18 episodes.  

The cutback is not of course because ABC doesn’t want a full season of “Scandal” — it would gladly take 40 episodes a season from its new flagship drama series if it could.  But “Scandal” star Kerry Washington is pregnant, and it’s getting hard to hide the pregnancy in loose-fitting clothes for the normally super stylish and elegant Olivia Pope — and it’s hard to reduce Washington’s workload as Pope is the show and in most scenes. 

The episode reduction would probably be an unexpected but welcome relief for “Scandal‘s” writers as it is extremely hard to sustain a dense serialized drama like “Scandal” for a 22-episode season. (The show did seven episodes in Season 1 and 22 in Season 2.) 

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