Grey's Anatomy Season 17 will feature a new character at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Mackenzie Marsh was cast in a new recurring role in the long-running ABC medical drama. The series returns on Thursday, Nov. 12 on ABC at 9 p.m. ET, following the season premiere of Station 19. Both shows will touch on the coronavirus pandemic in the crossover premiere.
Marsh will play Val Ashton, an intelligent and fun-loving character who works in publishing and is extremely lonely, reports Deadline. Marsh recently starred on Charmed, Will & Grace, American Housewife, and The Following. She also starred in the movies Just Before I Go and Pee-wee's Big Holiday. According to Marsh's IMDb page, she will star in at least the first two episodes of Grey's Anatomy Season 17, "All Tomorrow's Parties" and "The Center Won't Hold."
The casting news came a few days after star Ellen Pompeo told Variety she might be preparing to end her legendary run as Dr. Meredith Grey on the show. Pompeo said it "could very well be" her last year since Season 17 is the last year of her contract. When it comes to the show itself though, Pompeo said she is not certain how long it could run. The series is already the longest-running American primetime medical drama ever and is still among the top-rated shows in the 18-49 demographic.
"We don’t we don’t know when the show is really ending yet. But the truth is, this year could be it. And so everything is really important to me — that the show is good, and that all the characters’ storylines are good. Even though it’s not my place necessarily to fight for other people’s characters, I care very much about the integrity of the show, and the stories that we tell, and the quality," Pompeo told Variety. She later said she is "constantly" calling executive producers Krista Vernoff, Debbie Allen and Shonda Rhimes about the direction of her character.
Vernoff, who serves as showrunner, previously told Variety last month she was concerned about how Grey's should handle the pandemic. She thought people might not want to see a fictional show about it, but her writers convinced her otherwise. Co-executive producer Lynne E. Litt said the pandemic was the "biggest medical story of our lifetimes" and pitched an idea. Naser Alazari, a doctor who spent the show's hiatus working in a clinic, also told Vernoff it was important for the most popular medical drama in the world to handle the crisis. "'This is the biggest medical story of our lifetime, and it is changing medicine permanently. And we have to tell this story,'" Alazari told her, Vernoff recalled.