Shameless creator and showrunner John Wells broke his silence following star Emmy Rossum's surprising announcement of her leaving the show with some scoop on what's ahead for the Showtime series.
Rossum shocked fans Thursday after she announced in a lengthy Facebook message that she would be leaving Shameless after its ninth season, and Wells recently weighed in on the news.
"Emmy Rossum will forever be part of the Shameless family," Wells said in a statement to Entertainment Tonight. "She has been integral to the show's success, from her wonderful portrayal of Fiona to her leadership role on set, as well as directing multiple episodes of the series."
He added with a look to the future, "We are hard at work now creating a Season 9 finale... which we hope will provide a Gallagher-worthy sendoff for Fiona that honors the great work Emmy has done."
"It is always bittersweet when an ensemble member decides to move out of the proverbial house, but our door will always remain open for Fiona to return home for a visit, or to move back in."
As for what a 10th season of Shameless without Fiona Gallagher (Rossum) might look like? Wells added: "I look forward to continuing the stories of this wildly unpredictable family and all of us on Shameless will miss Emmy and her wonderful Fiona."
Following Rossum's post, Showtime Networks President of Programming Gary Levine put out his own statement confirming the news.
"We were saddened when Emmy Rossum let us know that the upcoming ninth season of Shameless would be her last. But we are filled with an overwhelming sense of joy and gratitude for Emmy's inspired work on our series, of course in front of the camera but also behind it," he said. "Fiona Gallagher will always be one of Showtime's iconic characters, and we applaud Emmy for bringing this character to life in such a natural, touching and fearless performance. On behalf of everyone at Showtime and her millions of fans, we thank you Emmy!"
Rossum's exit is a great loss for Showtime's highest-rated series, as Fiona has acted as the leading lady for the series since episode one. Fans were quick to express their sadness over the news on social media.
"Whaaaat?! How does [Shameless] even go on without her? Fiona is the heart of the entire show & connecting puzzle piece to each character. Noooooooooo," one fan wrote.
"Sad to hear, she has always been magnificent on the show, in Season 4 in particular, she was utterly outstanding, and it is still a travesty she never got any recognition, such as an Emmy Award, that Season. But best of luck to her in her future endeavors," another fan wrote.
Shameless will return for its ninth season Sunday, Sept. 9 at 9 p.m. ET on Showtime.