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Who's Taking Over Private Practice This Season?

Tim Daly, Paul Adelstein, Chris Lowell, Kate Walsh, KaDee Strickland, Taye Diggs, Private Practice, Chris Weeks/Getty Images

The cast of Private Practice came out last night for the American Cancer Society event to Blow Out Cancer, and while Kate Walsh and company gathered to raise money for that good cause, they also spilled secrets about season three. (FYI: Shonda Rhimes' shows do a lot of medical charity work. Grey's Anatomy castmembers have appeared at Red Cross events before, and it looks like the Practice peeps may have just have found their perfect charity match as well!)

We hit up the intimate dinner at Spago Beverly Hills to find out what's happening at Oceanside Wellness this year, and from the sound of it, there might be a new sheriff in town.

So who's going to run the practice now that Naomi (Audra McDonald) and Addison's power struggle has left it in shambles?

Which beloved castmember is going half-time?

And which character is getting a major twist that might (just might) involve some gender-bending? Read on for the scoop!

Addison fans, you can look for more of two things this year on Private Practice: Action (Kate Walsh says she's doing some superhero doctoring this season) and backstory. What kind of backstory? Well, genetic backstory. Kate Walsh told us, "There will be more Addison family members coming to the show this year. I'm not sure who's going to come over from the East Coast, but I'm sure they're going to be good and WASP-y and awesome. When Grant Show came on last year as my brother, it was fun for me to see Addison in that lower-status position, as someone's daughter or little sister. It's really fun to play because she's such a fierce and agro personality at work, and then to see her smacked down at home is fun." Anyone else dying to finally meet Addy's mom, Bizzy? Got any dream casting in mind?

And in addition to the action, look for more extreme medical stuff, like the psycho C-sections, embryos implanted in the wrong women and the babies-switched-at-birth stories that made their mark so effectively the first two years. (We're hearing something about a little person episode in season three.)

According to Walsh, "There's more extreme stuff, and there are some returning cases—characters that were on last season that come back. It's fantastic. That's what I loved when Shonda first conceived this show, the idea that you would see recurring characters, where these patients come back in."

That's what's staying the same, but what's changing? Chris Lowell confirmed that Dell won't be appearing in all 22 episodes this season, but did say that it's OK with him. When we asked about the circumstances of the change, Lowell said: "I think it's a really good thing. I feel like you hear horror stories about contracts on some shows and horror stories about bad blood, and that's not this. It could not have gone smoother. Shonda has always had a really warm level of communication with our cast. We just sat down at the end of last season and talked about how we could make things better for my character, and we thought that was the way to do it."

Don't worry though, Dell will remain the character we love, and he's sticking with his career path: "Dell is 100 percent midwife. That's as much of his deal as his blond hair." (We just love it when Dell says the word midwife aloud!)

And look for still more restructuring at Oceanside Wellness after last year's financial and interpersonal struggles. Kate Walsh said, "We left last season with a major cliffhanger—in addition to Violet's (Amy Brenneman) life-or-death situation—where Naomi announces that she is leaving the practice. It's still very tumultuous with that situation. The questions are 'Does Naomi leave?' and if so, 'Who takes over the practice?' " Tim Daly added, "There are people who think they're going to save the day and then they don't, and you'll be surprised at who does."

Our guess? We think the doctors of Oceanside Wellness turn to Dr. Charlotte King (KaDee Strickland), who got fired from the hospital last season, has administrative experience up the wazoo—and definitely has close personal ties to the docs. We asked KaDee if Charlotte had any surprising changes coming this season, and she confirmed that indeed there would be a big reveal for her character: "She's a tranny." (Nice try, KaDee, we've all seen you in tight leather, and we love you, but you are never going to be able to pull off tranny.)

Speaking of Charlotte's sex life, what's in store for her and Cooper? According to Paul Adelstein, "I think what happens when people suffer these huge upheavals [like the Violet crisis] is sometimes there's some backsliding in behaviors. People grow up, but they have their little compulsions. I think 'Cooper and Charlotte' is the first adult relationship that he's ever had, so when it gets tested, there are certain stress points." Uh-oh. What's the trouble? Said Edelstein, "I think Cooper really liked the situation of being a house husband with a girlfriend, but when that is no longer the situation, it's a little harder for him." Hmmm...

Still, don't worry too much. KaDee assured us, "You'll see a lot of changes in Cooper and Charlotte's relationship that will make the audience happy." Whoo-hoo!

What happens with Violet and the baby? If you really want to know, you'll have to tune in for Private Practice's season three premiere on Oct. 1 at 10 p.m. to find out. Hint: Violet makes it, the baby's fate remains in limbo and both baby-daddies are still very much in play! In the meantime, we can tell you this: The premiere is an excellent hour of can't-miss, tear-jerking TV. Be there!

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See snaps of Violet in the Private Practice season premiere in our Spoiler Stills gallery.

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