Why Grey’s Anatomy’s Ellen Pompeo Was Able To Push For Her Big Raise

Meredith at the dinner with Penny

There are TV shows with long runs, and then there's Grey's Anatomy. ABC's popular medical drama is currently gearing up for its outstanding 15th season on the network, and is showing no signs of slowing down. Part of the reason for the continued success of Grey's is due to its title character Meredith, played by Ellen Pompeo. While the show's long tenure has resulted in a revolving door of surgeons, Meredith has remained consistent. Pompeo recently inked a massive deal with ABC for two more seasons, making her the highest paid woman in a TV drama. Pompeo's deal has gotten plenty of press for her negotiating, and she recently expressed how she was able to do make it happen: she was privy to the inner workings of the show, and had data to back up her asking price. As she told it,

It's been a very interesting ride, the whole topic of standing up for yourself and what it takes to get yourself emotionally to the place where you're comfortable doing that. Of course, it was a challenging thing to do right, because I'm in a very specific situation. Like I had said in the past, I had very quantifiable numbers that I could derive my number from.Not everybody has the blessing to be able to do that. You don't know how your work impacts your workplace. It's hard to quantify what you do in your workplace and how does that result in numbers. In my instance, I'm very fortunate where I actually do get to see how my presence directly impacts the money that the show makes. So I was in a pretty unique position to be able to speak on it.

Now this is interesting. While Ellen Pompeo has been praised for negotiating her famous deal with ABC, there were plenty of factors that went into it. One of which being her ability to see the full picture of the Grey's Anatomy's production.

Ellen Pompeo's recent comments to EW help paint a fuller picture of TV negotiations, and the one that granted Ellen Pompeo a major pay raise and producer credit on Grey's Anatomy. Most fans aren't privy to the inner working of TV production-- especially in a show that's been running as long as Grey's.

Since making her latest two year deal with Grey's Anatomy, Ellen Pompeo has been open about the struggles of asking for raises on the show in the past. Despite being the title character, Patrick Dempsey was paid more, and the network was unsure if the show could even survive without him. But Grey's is still kicking, with Meredith narrating her personal and professional life every week.

Grey's Anatomy will return for Season 15 on September 27 on ABC, with a two-hour premiere. In the meantime, check out our fall premiere list to plan your next binge watch. Plus our Amazon premiere list and superhero premiere list to ensure you don't miss a single episode of your favorite show.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.