Grey’s Anatomy remains one of the most popular shows on television as it heads into its 17th season. Ellen Pompeo, 50, has been the leader of the show since day one as the legendary Meredith Grey. The status of season 18 has not been announced yet, but Ellen weighed in on possibly ending the show after season 17, which premieres Nov. 12. “We don’t know when the show is really ending yet. But the truth is, this year could be it,” she told our sister site Variety in an interview for their Power of Women issue.
Ellen explained that she’s “grateful” for the success of the series, but she wants to make sure the show maintains its creativity if it continues. “I don’t take the decision lightly,” Ellen said about whether or not to end the show. “We employ a lot of people, and we have a huge platform. And I’m very grateful for it. You know, I’m just weighing out creatively what can we do. I’m really, really, really excited about this season. It’s probably going to be one of our best seasons ever. And I know that sounds nuts to say, but it’s really true.”
The show was renewed in 2019 for season 16 and season 17, with Ellen’s contract extending to 2021. She’s not just the star of the show, she’s also a producer. Ellen wouldn’t reveal whether or not she’s in current negotiations for more Grey’s Anatomy.
“I’m constantly fighting for the show as a whole to be as good as it can be,” she continued. “As a producer, I feel like I have permission to be able to do that. I mean, this is the last year of my contract right now. I don’t know that this is the last year? But it could very well could be.”
The show first premiered in 2005 and became an instant hit. Grey’s Anatomy is now the longest-running medical drama in TV history. The cast has undergone major changes with the departures of Patrick Dempsey, 54, Katherine Heigl, 41, Sandra Oh, 49, T.R. Knight, 47, and most recently Justin Chambers, 50, but the heart of Grey’s Anatomy has remained. “The show, at its core, brings people together. And the fact that people can come together and watch the show, and think about things they may not have ordinarily thought about, or see things normalized and humanized in a way that a lot of people really need to see — it helps you become a better human being,” Ellen said.
Other than Meredith Grey, one character who will be there to the end no matter what is Miranda Bailey. “In my mind, Bailey is there until the doors close, until the hospital burns down, until the last thing happens on Grey’s Anatomy. That is her entire arc,” Chandra Wilson, 51, told Variety. Grey’s Anatomy returns Nov. 12 on ABC.