Abby (Connie Britton) won't be answering any more emergency calls after all... which is too bad, because there will be a lot of them coming in in season 2 of 9-1-1.
According to Fox co-chairman Gary Newman at the Television Critics Assoc. summer press tour, Britton has no plans to return to 9-1-1. Though executive producer Ryan Murphy teased to TVLine back in March that the show was "renegotiating her deal so she can come in and do a couple of episodes to keep her character alive," a guest appearance is apparently no longer on the table. (Poor Buck!)
"We love Connie Britton, [but] it was always envisioned to be a one-year role,” Newman told reporters on Thursday. "So it wasn’t a surprise [that she left]. If Connie expressed interest and had time in the future, I know [exec producer] Ryan [Murphy] would be thrilled to bring her back to the show."
While Britton won't reprise her role, someone has to take those calls. Jennifer Love Hewitt will join the series as the next 9-1-1 operator, a season regular. She'll play the sister of Britton's onscreen love interest Buck, juuuuust in case anyone was worried about her coming between that romance.
Now, a new trailer for the second season of the Fox procedural shows that Hewitt's character will have plenty on her plate when she takes over for Britton's Abby. The new video teases that an earthquake will hit Los Angeles, prompting a pile-up of 9-1-1 calls. But what happens when the people who are on call for emergency rescues need their own saving?
9-1-1 marks the third time that Britton has worked within the Ryan Murphy universe. During the very first season of American Horror Story, subtitled Murder House, Britton portrayed Vivian Harmon, the matriarch of the titular manor. She then joined the cast of The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story as the controversial one-time Beverly Hills "housewife" Faye Resnick.
Britton will return to the small screen for the Bravo anthology Dirty John, based on the popular Los Angeles Times podcast. But could her absence from 9-1-1 have more to do with another anthology series? While Abby won't return to the Murphyverse... AHS's Vivian Harmon of just might.
Earlier this summer, Murphy announced that American Horror Story's eighth season would be the highly-anticipated Murder House and Coven crossover, which will officially be subtitled Apocalypse. While it's possible that we may never return to the actual Murder House (where Vivian and her dead family permanently reside), Vivian's "son," Michael Langdon, is definitely involved. Will Michael ever wonder about his mysterious birth mom? Will he attempt to seek her out inside the most haunted house in Los Angeles? One can only hope — especially if it means we get to see Britton's face in more places.
As for season 2 of 9-1-1: Hewitt, we're putting all our faith in you.