By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 7, 2014 at 8:06PM
I've never heard of Eric West. Harrison is not being recast EVER. How about reporters CHECK THEIR SOURCES before running with a story?
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) May 7, 2014
It was about 10 days ago when I first received an email press release (purportedly from ABC) stating that an actor named Eric West had been cast as exiting Columbus Short's replacement on ABC's Scandal. I ignored it, because it didn't look legitimate to me, and a Google search returned nothing of this "news." After that, I received a few more emails on the supposed casting - one even had a screen capture of what was said to be email correspondence between series creator Shonda Rhimes and the stars of the show, announcing that West had been cast as Short's replacement. Needless to say, I didn't buy that either. Although the "news" was picked up by a number of other sites as fact.
Also during the same period, in addition to West, I received email notifications that Larenz Tate had been cast as Columbus Short's replacement on the series. I ignored that as well.
And thankfully so, because, as you can see from Rhimes' tweet above, neither is true. The role has not been recast, and it's not even certain that it will be at this point. Rhimes is quite clear that it won't.
The Eric West casting news was apparently a hoax, likely engineered by the actor himself, and his reps. But it worked - somewhat - since several media sites reported the hoax as factual information (I was surprised that even Deadline fell for it, although they've retracted, after Rhimes blasted them on Twitter earlier today), leading to public interest and conversation around West that there likely wasn't before. After all, I'm writing about him right now, and wouldn't have been doing so otherwise. His IMDB page probably got more hits than it's ever received.
He does have credits, including, most recently, a weekly half-hour sketch comedy series that aired on MTV through last fall, titled Hey Girl, appearing in 8 of 12 episodes. Prior to that, he had an uncredited part in World War Z last summer, and has appeared in single episodes of a few TV series, including Hawaii Five-0. This is all according to his IMDB page.
Of course, we all know who Larenz Tate is, so I'm sure I don't have to provide any background on him.
But, sorry Gladiators, Columbus Short's role has NOT been recast, and it's not certain that it will be.
So you can stop sending me emails about Eric West and Larenz Tate now...