"Yes, she is," he told Us Weekly when asked if Heigl will exit the show. "Wherever Katherine goes, I wish her nothing but the best."
As for Knight, Pickens said, "He's going too."
The network and studio say they cannot confirm anything, and Heigl's and Knight's personal reps have declined to comment.
However, a well-placed ABC source tells us, "There's no way Pickens could know that, because nothing has been decided yet. Nothing has been written and [Heigl and Knight] are still working out what will happen next season with the network."
According to inside sources who work on Grey's, it is likely that Heigl and Knight will make an exit at the end of the current season. Both have asked to leave the show. However, ABC needs to sign off on letting them out of their contracts, which has not been done.
So why did Pickens say they are leaving?
"I don't think James meant to say what he did," one insider who works on the show says of the Us Weekly interview. "I think he was thrown by the line of questioning and didn't realize what he was saying."
James' personal rep has not yet responded to a request for comment.
What do you think of an Izzie- and George-less Grey's? Will you keep watching if Katherine and T.R. go?
—Additional reporting by Marc Malkin