LOS ANGELES — “Once Upon a Time” star Jennifer Morrison will exit the series at the conclusion of the current season, Variety has confirmed.
Morrison has been with the show since its launch, playing the role of Emma Swan in 134 episodes in total. Her exit comes as the ABC series is said to be a lock for another season. As Variety previously reported, offers have already been made to the writing staff, which will be tasked with taking the show in a new direction with the loss of some original characters in Season 7.
“The past six years of collaborating with Jennifer as Emma Swan have been truly magical,” said series co-creators and showrunners Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis. “Watching her breathe life into Emma, she accomplished more than we could have dreamed possible — she gave life to a brand-new Disney Princess, filled with strength and intelligence and an incredible closet full of red leather jackets. We’ll miss seeing her every day, but her imprint upon ‘Once Upon a Time’ is indelible. She will always be a part of the show and its heart and soul. That said, just because Jennifer won’t be back every week doesn’t mean we won’t see our savior again.”
Prior to joining the series, Morrison starred in the hit Fox medical drama “House” opposite Hugh Laurie, and has also appeared on “How I Met Your Mother” and the 2009 “Star Trek” reboot. She shared a message to fans on Instagram regarding her decision to exit the ABC series.
“As I reached the end of my 6 year contract on ONCE UPON A TIME, I was faced with a significant decision. ABC, Eddy Kitsis, and Adam Horowitz very generously invited me to continue as a series regular. After very careful consideration, I have decided that creatively and personally, it is time for me to move on,” she wrote.
“As I move on to other creative endeavors, I will continue to attend the fan conventions whenever my professional schedule allows,” she continued. “I always look forward meeting the fans. If ABC Network does in fact order a season 7, I have agreed to appear in one episode, and I will most certainly continue to watch ONCE UPON A TIME. The creativity of the show runners has always inspired me, and I cannot wait to see the ways that they continue to develop and reinvent the show.”
The series has seen a dramatic drop in live ratings over the course of its run, currently averaging a 1.0 rating in adults 18-49 and 3.2 million total viewers, down approximately thirty percent in both measures from Season 5.