CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Despite Sunday's return of "Breaking Bad" vastly improving things, we're still very much in the doldrums of summer on TV. Many scripted shows are having their summer or season finales (check out the latest below) and few are premiering (three series and three season so far this month).
With this lull, let's take a look at some of the developments in TV land this week:
• Perhaps the biggest news is Sandra Oh's announcement Tuesday that she'll be hanging up Cristina Yang's stethoscope when her "Grey's Anatomy" contract is up at the end of this season. Oh, who has been part of the core cast since the series began, told The Hollywood Reporter she feels ready to let go both as an actor and as Cristina. She made the decision now, she said, so the writers can prepare her exit story.
The news for the show, entering its 10th season, could potentially get more momentous. Ellen Pompeo (Meredith), Patrick Dempsey (Derek), Justin Chambers (Alex), James Pickens Jr. (Richard) and Chandra Wilson's (Miranda) contracts are also up at the end of this season.
This comes on the heels of another big character exit announced last month: Cote de Pablo (Ziva) on CBS' "NCIS." On Tuesday, the website TVLine reported that the search for her successor -- a twentysomething female named Bishop -- is underway and estimated she'll make her appearance in the winter. Until then, a series of guest characters will fill Ziva's void after she departs in the season's second episode.
• Also Tuesday, Lifetime announced it will renew its Sunday soap "Devious Maids" for a second season. The show, from "Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry and executive producer Eva Longoria, will get at least 13 more episodes.
It's the latest renewal to be announced this summer, following TNT's "Falling Skies," MTV's "Awkward" and Syfy's "Continuum." Cancellation announcements this summer included ABC Family's "Bunheads" and "The Lying Game," NBC's "Betty White's Off Their Rockers" and MTV's "Zach Stone is Gonna Be Famous."
• In another Tuesday happening, "Face Off" launched its fifth season -- a rookies vs. vets challenge -- on Syfy. I'd previously noted that Charleston's RJ Haddy, a season two finalist and fan favorite, was returning, but unbeknownst to me until show day was another contestant with a West Virginia connection: Elkins native Steve Tolin.
Tolin now lives in Pittsburgh, where he runs his own studio. Unfortunately, to see him on the show, you'll have to catch a rerun of the premiere, as he was the first one eliminated. I didn't see the episode, but I hear there was backtalk to the judges involved, which may have played a role in his dismissal.