Ellen Pompeo might be trying to convince everyone at ABC that Grey's Anatomy should come to an end, but she doesn't appear to be succeeding. A few days after talking to Insider about her other interests, Deadline reported Wednesday that ABC is already in talks to renew the longest-running medical drama in primetime TV history. Pompeo, Chandra Wilson, and James Pickens Jr. are the only stars to appear on all 18 seasons of Grey's Anatomy.
Renewal talks are only in the "early stages," sources told Deadline. Pompeo, who also serves as an executive producer on the series, was "approached" about playing Meredith Grey again for another season. She only signed a one-year deal when the show was renewed for Season 18, while Wilson and Pickens have multi-year deals.
The talks began around the same time ABC usually starts talking to ABC Signature and Shondaland about renewing the show. When it was picked up for Season 18, ABC didn't market it as the final season. The network needs to decide very soon to give creator Shonda Rhimes and showrunner Krista Vernoff enough time to write a finale that will please fans. The last thing anyone wants is a hasty ending to a show that's run almost two decades.
ABC has no reason to force Grey's Anatomy to end, so it's up to the producers to finally decide it's time to lock up Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. The show is still the highest-rated scripted series on ABC and one of the most successful on broadcast television. It's also a profit machine for Disney and helps drive interest in the spin-off Station 19.
Pompeo has talked about wanting to move on in the past. In her latest interview, she told Insider she was "trying to focus on convincing everybody that it should end." She continued, "I feel like I'm the super naïve one who keeps saying, 'But what's the story going to be, what story are we going to tell?' And everyone's like, 'Who cares, Ellen? It makes a gazillion dollars.'"
Rhimes, who left the show as showrunner in 2017, told Variety in November she might not have a say in how the series ends. "If you'd ask me this question three years ago, or prior to Krista arriving [in 2017], I would have said, 'Yes, I can tell you exactly how it's going to end,'" Rhimes told Variety. "But once you hand off the ball for real, it's just different. So I don't know yet." However, she said she does have the final say on when the show ends, adding, "I take full responsibility for that when or if everybody gets mad at me."
Grey's Anatomy airs on ABC Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET, after Station 19. Past episodes of Season 18 are available on Hulu, while Netflix is the streaming home to the first 17 seasons.