Why Grey's Anatomy Creator Shonda Rhimes Is Okay With Having Less Creative Input For Season 15

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(Image credit: Image courtesy of ABC)

Grey's Anatomy is still going strong after a full 14 seasons on ABC, and the fifteenth season is poised to take the show in some bold new directions thanks to a developing love triangle, new additions to the cast, and much more. Series creator Shonda Rhimes has less creative input on the new directions of the show nowadays thanks to the increased role of showrunner Krista Vernoff. While some creators might not be happy about guiding the show anymore, Rhimes is okay with it, and she recently explained why:

It's a big deal for me, and it was really great to have Krista come in, 'cause you know, Krista was there for the first seven seasons. It's been a real experience for me to actually let go, or as I say, send a kid of to college. I don't think that I could be a person who sat and signed off on every script. If I allow myself to have input, then I'm going to have notes, and if I have notes, then everybody has to take my notes. I can't give a few notes. I have a lot of thoughts. Krista is the only person that I've ever known who has my sensibility and understands the voice of what I've always been saying about the show, and it's been really exciting to let her run with it.

Shonda Rhimes is clearly thrilled to have Krista Vernoff back on board. She returned to Grey's Anatomy after an absence of seven years to run the show along with Rhimes, and Rhimes' comments to EW prove that she trusts Vernoff with the direction of the show moving forward. If somebody she knew less and related to less had taken the reins of the series, Rhimes might not be so comfortable with taking a more hands-off approach to the series she created and guided for so many years.

It wasn't necessarily easy for Shonda Rhimes to give up control of the project that really launched her into the mainstream, but she's okay with it and with Vernoff's role. Season 15 will be the second season after Rhimes welcomed Krista Vernoff back to Grey's Anatomy, and she has revealed that giving up some control wasn't as much of a relief as she expected at that point. Rhimes explained why she wasn't able to just move on right away, saying this:

I've been doing day-to-day almost for 13 seasons so there was a level of exhaustion of like, this has been a marathon. However, it was surprisingly hard in the beginning. I thought I would feel a little relieved to have a break, but in the beginning, it was really hard. Then it felt really good because the show was still really good. I think it would've been difficult if I had pulled back and I didn't like what was coming out.

As it turns out, the continued quality of Grey's Anatomy helped Shonda Rhimes adjust to the new reality of having less creative input on the show. Krista Vernoff as showrunner seems to have significantly eased Rhimes' process of settling into life without day-to-day work on Grey's Anatomy. Her words may be encouraging to fans of Grey's Anatomy who have been waiting to see where Season 15 will go with the characters who are left. Could this be the season that brings Callie back, based on Sara Ramirez's recent comments? How will the love triangle be resolved? Is the new ortho god going to be even half as dreamy as McDreamy?

We'll have to wait and see. New episodes of Grey's Anatomy air in the fall TV lineup on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).