'Shameless' Star William H. Macy Reveals When He May Exit Show

After Emmy Rossum announced that would be leaving Shameless after its ninth season, the question has naturally been raised as to when the series' other stars might decide to exit the Showtime hit.

William H. Macy, who plays Gallagher family patriarch Frank Gallagher, offered a slight hint in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Though his answer does leave things up to interpretation.

"I know there's another 10 years of stories, and I'd love to see them. But when I think about acting them [out], my back starts to hurt a little bit," he said. "I know I want to do another season or two, and after that we shall see."

Showrunner John Wells echoed Macy's words, noting that a show centered around family could go on for an infinite number of seasons.

"There's no end of stories about maturing in your own family and the pull that families have on us," he said. "Placing that within the structure of people who are struggling economically and who have to depend upon each other to survive provides endless story material. It's always a question of how long a cast is prepared to keep playing the characters. I could write this for another 10 years. The satirical underpinnings of this notion that there really is class in America is something that we could write about forever. Every day you pick up the paper and there are 10 other stories you could tell."

The two also spoke about Rossum's exit, with Macy sharing that "we'll be empty-nesting a bit" without her.

"I hoped that she would stay, but you get close to year 10 and start thinking about life post-Shameless," he said. "It's horrifying and exciting."

Wells shared that Rossum had been thinking of leaving for some time and that her mind was made up.

"I tried to encourage her to come back, because we want her here, but she has other things that she is excited about doing and a few things that she's directing," he said. "She came to the definitive decision a few weeks ago. We'll miss her. At the same time, there are a lot more Gallagher stories to tell."

Rossum announced her departure in a Facebook post.

"Until Shameless came into my life 8 years ago, I led that kind of transient wonderful life of an actor. And I never realized how much I actually craved the kind of continuity that this show has given me," she wrote. "See, in real life, unlike Fiona, I'm an only child. I never had a big family. Being ensconced in that messy Gallagher family love is something I'd always dreamed of."

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"I know you will continue on without me, for now," Rossum continued. "There is much more Gallagher story to be told. I will always be rooting for my family. Try not to think of me as gone, just think of me as moving down the block."

Photo Credit: Showtime