Ellen Pompeo is currently in her 18th season as Grey's Anatomy's lead, and she's been very outspoken in recent years about her desire to move on. She also wants to ensure that the show continues to tell good narratives and do justice to her character.
The actress recently spoke with Insider on whether she believes the show will continue and the elements that influence her decision.
Will Grey’s Anatomy Season 18 be the End?
Last year, it appeared that Grey's Anatomy Season 17 might be the final season; not only was Meredith in danger of being written off, but the return of deceased characters like Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) and Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh) gave the impression that Grey's Anatomy was giving itself a celebratory, nostalgic sendoff. Pompeo's contract with ABC was later renewed, however, and Season 18 of the show was approved.
Despite this, it appears that, if Pompeo has her way, Grey's Anatomy will not make it past Season 18. Pompeo admitted in a new interview while promoting her brand Betr Remedies that she has "been trying to focus on convincing everybody that it should end," which she admits is a difficult assignment given that many people seem to want it to continue. Pompeo went on to say that:
"I feel like I'm the super naive one who keeps saying, 'But what's the story going to be, what story are we going to tell?' And everyone's like, 'Who cares, Ellen? It makes a gazillion dollars.'"
‘I’ve been on Grey’s Anatomy too long’
Pompeo has dedicated her acting career to playing Meredith Grey. Few people remain in a post for as long as she has. Grey's Anatomy debuted as a midseason replacement in 2005, and while Pompeo lost Dempsey, the title of the show was Meredith Grey's, and she has continued to carry it.
She recently quipped on her podcast that she realized she'd been on Grey's Anatomy for too long when she began pitching storylines she'd already done in previous seasons.
Shonda Rhimes, on the other hand, believes the decision to terminate the show is hers, and it's clearly an issue that's been on her mind for a while. Before handing up creative authority to current showrunner Krista Vernoff, Shonda Rhimes stated that she had written the series' ending "a good eight times."
Fans will be holding their collective breath until ABC announces Grey's Anatomy's Season renewal, just as they did last season when the network took a long time to do it. And, if Ellen Pompeo is ready to call it quits, how much longer can the show go on?
Grey's Anatomy is currently on hiatus for the winter but will return on Feb. 24 for a crossover with Station 19.