Shonda Rhimes Reveals If 'Grey's Anatomy' Would Continue Without Ellen Pompeo

Could Grey’s Anatomy still be Grey’s Anatomy without lead character Meredith Grey? According to show creator and executive producer Shonda Rhimes, no.

“Ellen and I have a pact that I'm going to do the show as long as she's going to do the show," Rhimes told E! News’ Silbey Scoles at the show’s 300th episode celebration event in Los Angeles.

“So the show will exist as long as both of us want to do it. If she wants to stop, we're stopping. So I don't know if we'll see 600, but I want to keep it feeling fresh. As long as there are fresh stories to tell and as long as we're both excited about the stories being told, we're in. So, we'll see where that takes us," Rhimes added.

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While Pompeo may be the heart of the show, there have been possible replacements for her character in the past should Pompeo ever leave. Meredith Grey’s half-sister Lexie Grey, portrayed by Supergirls’ Chyler Leigh, was a top Grey’s namesake replacement until Lexie died after a plane crash in season 8. And season 10’s Maggie Pierce, daughter of Ellis Grey and Dr. Webber, proved to be a possible but not quite right replacement.

But ultimately, only Ellen Pompeo can put the “Grey” in Grey’s Anatomy.

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As the show approaches its milestone 300th episode this Thursday, it doesn’t look as though the cast has any thoughts of slowing down. The episode, named after the Hamilton song “Who Lives, Who Dies. Who Tells Your Story,” will focus on a roller coaster accident at a county fair that leaves several people critically injured.


As patients begin to be brought in to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, characters of the past begin to haunt the halls where they once walked.

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 pm ET on ABC.