Double the Departures on 'Grey's'

Katherine Heigl and Ellen Pompeo temporarily leave Grey's Anatomy

"Grey's Anatomy" fans were thrilled when it was revealed Katherine Heigl's character Izzie Stevens would return for season six of the hit series, but now Heigl and co-star Ellen Pompeo are scheduled to temporarily check-out of Seattle Grace.

Heigl will take a leave of absence to film the romantic comedy "Life as We Know It." An ABC rep tells People magazine, "Katherine is taking time off to film a movie. The producers at 'Grey's' have accommodated things like that before. It's a cast of 13 and it is a true ensemble so the show is mindful [of other commitments]."

Heigl's hiatus begins this month and extends to November. Castmate Ellen Pompeo is expected to give birth to her first child this October and will be on maternity leave.

The show's producers have announced three new characters will join the cast in recurring roles to be played by Nora Zehetner, Robert Baker and Jesse Williams.