During press conversations for the Television Critics Association on Tuesday, Scandal's cast and crew revealed some major details about the show's upcoming sixth season, which will premiere on January 26. The season will be shorter than usual, with just 16 episodes — but don't get too sad yet. Creator Shonda Rhimes told reporters that the limited run will let Scandal tell "more powerful stories." Kerry Washington, who plays D.C. "fixer" Olivia Pope on the show, also discussed the difficulties she faced while filming during her pregnancy. "It's been really interesting for me as an actor," Washington told reporters. "I work very physically. How I approach a character often has a lot to do with the physicality of that character, so the challenge is my physicality changing dramatically... and trying to figure out how to hold onto her physical position in the world while mine has been changing every day has been really difficult." Washington welcomed her second child, Caleb Kelechi Asomugha, in October. Her pregnancy is the reason the sixth season is premiering this month, rather than last fall, THR noted. In addition to addressing Washington's pregnancy, the stars also discussed the upcoming season's format, which will feature more time jumps than we've seen in the past. Rhimes told reporters that the show will be moving "back in time and going forward in time and seeing things from different characters’ perspectives."
Don't expect the show to parallel America's current political landscape, though. In season five, we saw Hollis Doyle (Gregg Henry), the show's Trump-like presidential candidate, lose the Republican nomination for president. We'll find out the outcome of Scandal's election in the premiere, but Rhimes said there "aren't any similarities" between the show's new season and the U.S. political climate. The episode was filmed in July, long before Election Day. But even without the direct parallel, we're sure Scandal will find a way to touch on political issues of the moment in its upcoming season. In the past, the show has addressed topical issues like the Black Lives Matter movement without outright naming U.S. political figures. Hollis Doyle may not be president, but that doesn't mean Scandal won't be a sharp political commentary when it returns later this month.