It hurts when a beloved character is killed, but the pain is always worse when you realize it happened for for reasons that aren't strictly story related.

It was bad enough when Lexie was killed during the Grey's Anatomy Season 8 finale because Chyler Leigh wanted to leave the show, but at least we could be content to wish Chyler well on her next career adventure.

However, a recent report suggests that Eric Dane's (Mark Sloan) departure during Season 9 was prompted less by Eric's wishes or Shonda's storytelling needs than by network pressure to cut down the costly cast.

If the rumors about Shonda being told to cut the budget are true, the choice to get rid of Mark makes some amount of sense. After all, the character many saw as his true love had just died, so it's not clear where his story should go next, anyway. And Eric is a pricey star.

On the other hand, he's also a beloved star, so was this cut really the wisest choice? Would you have prefered to see one of the other big stars leave — or, perhaps, to have had several of the less pricey actors let go to save Eric?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Catch the next new episode of Grey’s Anatomy on Thursday, October 4 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.

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