Production on Grey's Anatomy Season 16 has been put on hold indefinitely due to fears of the coronavirus. The show will stop filming for at least the next two weeks, and it is still not clear if this delay will impact the show's broadcast schedule. Fans quickly took to Twitter to publicly wonder what the show's future is, with only 21 of the season's 25 episodes completed.
"To Our Incredible Cast and Crew: Out of an abundance of caution, production is postponed on Grey's Anatomy effective immediately," showrunner Krista Vernoff said in a memo to the crew, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. "We are going home now for at least two weeks and waiting to see how the coronavirus situation evolves."
"This decision was made to ensure the health and safety of the whole cast and crew and the safety of our loved ones outside of work, and it was made in accordance with Mayor Garcetti's suggestion that we not gather in groups of more than 50. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay hydrated, stay home as much as possible, and wash your hands frequently," the statement continued. "Please take care of yourselves and each other. As updates come in, we will keep you informed. Thank you for all that you do! Krista, Debbie [Allen], & James [D. Parriott]."
The news broke while many Grey's Anatomy fans were glued to their television sets watching the latest episode of the long-running show. The show debuted back in 2005 and has been a major anchor for ABC ever since. The show has been renewed through Season 17.
Grey's Anatomy airs at 9 p.m. ET Thursdays on ABC. Scroll on to see how fans reacted to the production shutdown.
Photo credit: ABC/Bonnie Osborne
Many fans found the production shut down ironic. After all, the series is about medical doctors and is set in a hospital.
Ironic— Trevenclaw (@Trevenclaw) March 13, 2020
Other fans suggested the show should have been halted earlier, particularly after how Justin Chambers' departure was handled. Chambers starred as Dr. Alex Karev, who left the hospital to live with Katherine Heigl's Izzie Stevens, a character who has not been on the show in a decade.
They honestly should have done this before the Alex storyline.— Jose A. Del Real (@jdelreal) March 13, 2020
An outbreak of bad writing this season anyway.— Knancy (@FlippyO) March 13, 2020
Some fans understood this was coming, but it still hurt. The delay could mean ABC is forced to air repeats in slots where new episodes were once supposed to air.
I knew this was coming damn you Coronavirus— Grey's and More (@anatomyhealth2) March 13, 2020
😳😱😳😱 #GreysAnatomy16— CLO (@CLO93_30) March 13, 2020
The coronavirus could be the basis for an episode, one person suggested. Of course, as a show with 16 years of history, Grey's Anatomy has done viral infections in the past.
Sounds like an episode idea.— Mario Latilleon (@latilleon) March 13, 2020
Real life.....— ❌Pam K. Kravanalle K❌ (@Pam_Krav) March 13, 2020
Writer Robin Thede was left to wonder how there could be hope for anyone if not even Grey Sloan Memorial can handle the coronavirus. Notably, the show is set in Seattle, a city that became the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S. All libraries and schools were closed, as were all community centers, on Thursday.
Grey’s Anatomy just shut down production due to Coronavirus. If Grey Sloan Memorial can’t handle this pandemic, where is the hope for the rest of us— Robin Thede (@robinthede) March 13, 2020
Some suggested the show should have ended back when Patrick Dempsey left. Dempsey starred as Dr. Derek Shepherd, also known as "McDreamy," during the show's first 11 seasons. He made his final appearance in the 2015 episode "You're My Home."
Should have shut down ever since Patrick Dempsey left— Pierre Pepe Arsenal 🏴 (@Syncopy_) March 13, 2020
In defense of Grey Sloan, they lost McDreamy, McSteamy and Karev. Bailey and Webber can’t save the world alone.— ame (@accordingtoame) March 13, 2020
Another fan suggested that Alex, a fictional character, could have stopped the coronavirus from infecting Grey's Anatomy, a fictional show. Another suggested that getting the Alex-Izzie storyline solved might have had something to do with the coronavirus halting production.