Grey's Anatomy has been an ABC staple for more than 15 years, but as the fan-favorite medical drama prepares to air the final episodes of Season 17 beginning later in March, discussions may be taking place about bringing the series to an end. During an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Ellen Pompeo revealed if there is a chance of Grey's Anatomy ending with Season 17, the actress admitting that she and her fellow producers are "still trying to figure it out."
Asked if Season 17 could be the last, Pompeo, who has starred as the show's title character, Dr. Meredith Grey, since the series' 2005 inception, said that she "can't say.” According to Pompeo, who previously suggested a chance Season 17 could serve as the final season, those working on the show "honestly have not decided" when it will end. Pompeo said deciding when to end the iconic series is something they are "really trying to figure it out right now."
First debuting on ABC in 2005, Grey's Anatomy has remained a standout show for the network. According to an October report from Variety, Grey’s has consistently been among the most popular TV series. More than a decade into its lifespan, 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. The series' success has even led to many spinoffs, including Private Practice, which ran from 2007 to 2013, and Station 19. According to Pompeo, the decision to end the series will not be made on dwindling interest in the show, which seems unlikely to happen, but rather what the story is left to tell.
"It's, 'What story do we tell?'" she said. "To end a show this iconic… how do we do it? I just wanna make sure we do this character and this show and the fans… I wanna make sure we do it right."
This is not the first time Pompeo has discussed the possibility of Grey's coming to an end. Speaking with Dax Shepard on his Armchair Expert podcast in August, the actress opened up about when she would leave the series, revealing that she wants "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… 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."
Pompeo is one of just three actors who remain on the show since Season 1, with Chandra Wilson, who portrays Dr. Miranda Bailey, and James Pickens Jr., who stars as Dr. Richard Webber, also original characters. At this time, the series has only been renewed through the current Season 17. Grey's Anatomy returns with new Season 17 episodes on Thursday, March 11 at 8 p.m. ET.