Here is the post I did on this back in May, but yes, that is the format that ABC announced they wanted to follow for their big dramas (Greys, Scandal, OUAT, Revenge) during the upfronts. As of now, Scandal currently has an order for 22 episodes this season, so they will most likely have some variation on that (10 eps and then 12 eps perhaps) unless they get the additional 2 episodes added later.
ABC has yet to release the exact dates around the winter hiatus, but with October 3rd as the confirmed start date, that would mean they should finish in early December (depending on if they skip airing an original episode on Thanksgiving night which they usually do.)
The length of the break has yet to be disclosed, but I would suspect it could be in the 8 week range (at least) because it appears ABC wants to try to do some short run original programming during the hiatus period. I wouldn’t expect to see Scandal back until sometime around February Sweeps (tent. scheduled for 1/30/14 - 2/26/14)
This is all speculation on my part as far as timing, but that’s my take. As we know, things can change! Thanks for the question! :)
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Based on previous tweets from Tony, he said he expected the new series to shoot during hiatuses from Scandal, so it sounds like he doesn’t expect to have to miss any episodes, but you never know. He’s executive producer, but it also depends on whether and how many episodes of the new series he actually directs himself.
I would guess that most of the speculation is based on the casting sides. In order to cast the guest characters (e.g. a doctor who may give a diagnosis in a particular scene, or a delivery person, or a waiter with a speaking role of some sort), certain pages of the script are released so actors can audition and be cast for those smaller roles.
However, while the casting sides may provide information about parts of an episode, they don’t include scenes where only regular or recurring cast are present (because there are no guest characters that would need to be cast).
So if there were any scenes with only Olivia and Fitz, or only other regular cast members, those scenes would not be available in the casting sides. And since regular (or recurring) cast only scenes would not be released, there is no way to know for sure until the episode airs unless some crafty person gets information from another source.
Episode 201 had no Olitz except for that wonderful phone call, but that phone call was epic, so we’ll have to wait and see!
EDITED TO ADD: Thanks for the response messages folks! The inbox flurry was fast and furious! Just to clarify though, I’m not saying I think there will or won’t be an Olitz scene, I’m saying we won’t know most likely until the episode airs. After the finale, with even not all the cast knowing how the episode ended, I don’t think we can make any assumptions one way or the other with Shonda! And we know she was doing re-writes up until close to the table read, so who knows what’s going on!
Black Girl Rule: Don’t go foraging in my hair unless you’re prepared for what you find in there.
Black women’s hair is a complex and delicate creature. Only a chosen few are allowed to be digging up in it, and even then, only during sanctioned “activities.” And even then we reserve the right to revoke them. :)