ABC has cut its season 3 order of its hit Shonda Rhimes series Scandal from 22 episodes down to 18.

No official reason was given by the network, but the folks at TVLine suggest that it may be due to star Kerry Washington’s pregnancy, which will likely interfere with the show’s shooting schedule (she’s due in the spring). Although, again, no official confirmation of that from ABC.

Obviously, if TVLine is correct, writing Olivia Pope out of those 4 cut episodes certainly would not have been an option.

ABC’s other choice would’ve been to work Washington’s pregnancy into Olivia Pope’s storyline somehow – again, assuming that the reason for the order trim is due to her pregnancy.

So after next week’s mid-season finale, there will be 8 episodes left, instead of 12, when the show returns on February 27.

How will Scandal Gladiators cope?