It's official: It's time to say goodbye to Olivia Pope.
will air its seventh and final season this coming fall, ABC announced Tuesday, confirming earlier reports
that the Kerry Washington-
led political fixer drama was nearing its end. George Newbern
, who plays Charlie, has been promoted to series regular for the final season.
The decision to end Scandal,
which has anchored ABC's popular (and successful) TGIT lineup on Thursdays, came from creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes,
who felt it was time to bid farewell to these beloved characters and that they are "going all out" in the final season.
RELATED: 'Scandal' Will Reportedly End After Season 7
“Deciding how to end a show is easy,” Rhimes said in a statement. “Deciding when to finish is quite simple when the end date is years away. But actually going through with it? Actually standing up to say: ‘This is it?’ Not so much."
"So, next year we are going all out," she continued. "Leaving nothing on the table. Creating this world in celebration. We are going to handle the end the way we like to handle the important things in our Scandal family: all together, white hats on, gladiators running full speed over a cliff.”
Channing Dungey, President of ABC Entertainment, admitted Scandal's impending goodbye is "bittersweet" but promised that the final year will be just as "powerful" as previous seasons.
“Shonda has decided the series needs to come to a close, and while this is definitely a bittersweet moment for all of us gladiators, I have no doubt what she has in store for the final season will be as powerful as what’s come before, and we will be sure to honor that every step of the way,” Dungey said in a statement.
RELATED: Kerry Washington Recalls Major Personal Milestones While on 'Scandal'
"To go back and see like, 'Oh, that was at the beginning, or I got married right after that episode,' it is fun to go back and watch our lives unfold," Washington said. "And to do that with everybody, like, 'That was right when Katie [Lowes] bought her house.'"
"I think every single day that we work together has been amazing, truly," Rhimes praised. "I don't know, 100 episodes I've spent with a group of people. It's always amazing, you know, I have these great casts and I feel really lucky."
Scandal airs its two-hour season six finale Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
For more, watch the video below.