SCANDAL - "Survival of the Fittest" - The election results for the presidential race between Mellie Grant and Francisco Vargas are announced, and the shocking results lead to an explosive outcome, on the highly anticipated season premiere of "Scandal," airing on THURSDAY, JANUARY 26 (9:00-10:00 p.m. EST), on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Tony Rivetti)

Scandal – “Survival of the Fittest”: Darby Stanchfield, Kerry Washington

*The wait is over. Season 6 of “Scandal” begins this Thursday at 9 with a presidential election pitting the GOP’s Mellie Grant and Jake Ballard (a ticket orchestrated by Olivia Pope to save Jake from Papa Pope) against Democratic nominee Frankie Vargas and his VP shocker Cyrus Beene.

Creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes says the upcoming season will be presented in a way that fans may not be used to seeing.

“We really do have this beautifully different way of telling the season this year where we’re really stepping back in time and coming forward in time and sort of seeing things from different character’s perspectives,” she explained during the recent Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour.

(L-R) Actors Joshua Malina, Darby Stanchfield, and Joe Morton, Executive Producer Betsy Beers, actors Cornelius Smith Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Kerry Washington, Bellamy Young, and Scott Foley, and Creator/Executive Producer Shonda Rhimes of the television show 'Scandal' speak onstage during the Disney-ABC portion of the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour at Langham Hotel on January 10, 2017 in Pasadena, California.

(L-R) Actors Joshua Malina, Darby Stanchfield, and Joe Morton, Executive Producer Betsy Beers, actors Cornelius Smith Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Kerry Washington, Bellamy Young, and Scott Foley, and Creator/Executive Producer Shonda Rhimes of the television show ‘Scandal’ speak onstage during the Disney-ABC portion of the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour at Langham Hotel on January 10, 2017 in Pasadena, California.

Rhimes says it’s less about what happens to the characters this season, and more about “where they’ve come to after all this time,” particularly Olivia, who appears to be turning into her ruthless father.

“You’ve watched them sort of descend from any moral high ground that they could’ve possibly had to kind of the lowest depths,” she said. “And now they’re sort of having a chance to either climb out or not, and that’s what we’re watching.”

Below, a clip from Thursday’s season premiere:

AUDIO EXTRA:

Below, Rhimes was asked about ABC delaying her TGIT return one week to accommodate Trump’s inauguration special: