After months of speculation, the fate of Grey's Anatomy has finally been revealed. On Monday, ABC officially renewed the fan-favorite medical drama for Season 18. The renewal announcement was made alongside news that the network has also greenlit another season of Grey's spinoff series Station 19, which will bring the show into its fifth season.
"Station 19 and Grey's Anatomy have done an incredible job of honoring real-life heroes by giving audiences an unflinching look at one of the biggest medical stories of our time," Craig Erwich, president, Hulu Originals & ABC Entertainment, said, according to Variety. "Krista and her team of writers have continued to deliver the compelling and compassionate storytelling that is a hallmark of these shows, and created some of the year's most-talked-about moments in television. We're so grateful to our talented casts and crews for their extraordinary work that connects with viewers everywhere, and we look forward to sharing even more defining moments with our fans next season."
As part of the renewal, series lead Ellen Pompeo has extended her contract, confirming that she will continue portraying Dr. Meredith Grey for at least one more season. Chandra Wilson and James Pickens Jr. are also slated to return, Variety confirmed. Season 18, however, will mark the first complete season without several cast members. The currently-airing Season 17 said goodbye to Giacomo Gianniotti's Dr. Andrew DeLuca in March, and the May 6 episode confirmed the upcoming departure of Dr. Jackson Avery. In a statement following the episode, actor Jesse Williams confirmed his exit, saying that he "will forever be grateful for the boundless opportunities provided me" by the series and adding that "as an actor, director and person, I have been obscenely lucky to learn so much from so many and I thank our beautiful fans, who breathe so much energy and appreciation into our shared worlds. The experience and endurance born of creating nearly 300 hours of leading global television is a gift I'll carry always."
Grey's has remained a staple on the network is television's No. 1 entertainment show in the key 18 to 49 demographic. The series averages 8.3 million total viewers and a 2.0 in the demo in delayed viewing. Despite this, there had been some fear prior to the renewal that Season 17 could be the last, as Pompeo had previously confirmed Season 17 was the last year in her contract and many fans believed the storyline of the season was setting up for a conclusion of the show. Grey's first debuted on ABC in 2005 and is 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. New episodes air Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.