Ellen Pompeo Says This 'Could Very Well Be' Final Season of Grey's Anatomy

Grey's Anatomy has been a staple for ABC's fall TV lineup for more than a decade. Originally premiering in March of 2005, the Shonda Rhimes-created medical drama is headed into Season 17 this November, though series star Ellen Pompeo, who has portrayed Dr. Meredith Grey since the series' inception, recently suggested that this season "could very well" be the last.

Speaking with Variety as part of the outlet's in-depth retrospective on the medical drama, the actress admitted that she doesn't "know when the show is really ending yet," adding that, "but the truth is, this year could be it." Pompeo noted that "this is the last year of my contract right now," with the actress having signed a contract in January of 2018 that extended through Season 17. She added, "I don't know that this is the last year? But it could very well could be."

At this time, ABC has given no indication that Season 17 could be the final one for Grey's. The series has been a ratings powerhouse for the network and has consistently been among the most popular series on TV. According to the outlet, the series still ranks as the No. 1 drama among 18- to 34- year-olds and No. 2 among adults 18 to 49 and has since become the longest-running primetime medical drama in TV history. Due to its success, Grey's has even spawned a number of spinoffs, including Private Practice, which ran from 2007 to 2013, and Station 19, which is set to air Season 4 this fall.

Given that success, it seems unlikely that ABC would cut short the life of a show still thriving, and Pompeo herself has indicated that she has no plans to leave the series just yet. Speaking with Dax Shepard on his Armchair Expert podcast back in August, the actress, discussing when she would leave the show, said, "to dip out sooner rather than later, at this point, having done what we've done, to leave when the show is still on top, is definitely a goal. I'm not trying to stay on the show forever. No way. The truth is, if I get too aggravated and I'm no longer grateful there, I should not be there." Pompeo noted that she had not reached that point yet, though, and that she treats work like "a marathon, not a sprint."

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Adding more hope to Grey's receiving a longer lifeline is the fact that ahead of Season 17, Kim Raver, Camilla Luddington and Kevin McKidd signed new multi-year contracts. According to Deadline, these contracts are for three years, indicating that ABC intends to carry on the series for several more seasons. Just a month prior to those signings, ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke told the outlet that ABC would like for Grey's "to be part of our schedule for as long as they are interested in making more episodes."

Grey's Anatomy Season 17 premieres on Thursday, Nov. 12. The episode will be a crossover event with Station 19, with the series’ premiere episodes scheduled to air back-to-back. Stay tuned to PopCulture.com for the latest updates.