What Will Happen to ‘Shameless’ When Emmy Rossum Leaves?

Fiona Gallagher sitting on a bed in Shameless

Emmy Rossum as Fiona Gallagher in Shameless | Showtime

Star Emmy Rossum announced on August 30th that she’s officially leaving Shameless, the show that catapulted her to fame and onto our TV sets as scrappy, independent Fiona Gallagher. Fiona won over viewers as the head of the distraught Gallagher household set on Chicago’s South Side.

Rossum’s (and Fiona’s) exit will come at the end of season 9, which premieres September 9 on Showtime. While fans were shocked at Rossum’s Instagram announcement, one question was left when the dust settled.

What will happen to Shameless without its lead heroine?

While we’ve watched all of the Gallaghers grow and evolve on-screen, it’s Fiona’s rags-to-riches tale that leads and drives the series each season. Combined with the fact viewers have never been faced with a Gallagher exit before, many wonder what Rossum’s exit could mean for the fate of the show.

Shameless was picked up for a tenth season months before Rossum announced she’d be leaving. Rossum was more than just a star of the show: she directed a number of episodes as well. There are no other reported plans for major characters to exit so we know Shameless will have a season 10 at the very least. Rossum’s extensive Facebook announcement hinted the Gallaghers aren’t going anywhere.

“I know you will continue on without me, for now. 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,” she wrote.

It doesn’t sound like Fiona will be killed off

One immediate fear of Shameless fans everywhere was that Fiona would be killed off in a shocking season nine finale. Shameless‘ showrunner, John Wells, all but confirmed that won’t be the case.

“We are hard at work now creating a season nine finale for Shameless which we hope will provide a Gallagher-worthy sendoff for Fiona that honors the great work Emmy has done” the statement read. “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. 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.”

It would be out of character for the Shameless writers to give Fiona her demise. The show isn’t above the gory or morally questionable, however, the most shocking death was Monica, the Gallagher kids’ mother, and most fans weren’t too emotionally invested in her, to begin with.

Emma Rossum on Shameless

Emma Rossum on Shameless | Showtime

Rossum explained what she thinks will happen with the show

Rossum had nothing but praise for her fellow cast members, Shameless crew, and the show’s message. “We feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to investigate these characters … and everyone will continue to do so until whenever the audience decides they’ve had enough.” The shows’ ratings indicate that won’t be anytime soon — Shameless has a 95% Google audience approval rating and a whopping 93% Rotten Tomatoes score. It’s Showtime’s most popular series.

“I think the show could quite honestly go on forever because the family is dynamic and the kids grow up and they have their own storylines … I think there is so much to be mined here. There are so few shows on television that are showing what it’s like to live in America and struggle right now,” Rossum said. “So to have a show that’s doing what other shows aren’t and to have the audience stick with it is such a privilege.”

Showtime is super-sizing the long-running comedy series to a 14-episode ninth season, two more than the show’s usual 12. It plans to debut the season in two parts: one half airs Sept. 9 and the next Jan. 20.


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