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Grey's Anatomy official Season 16 poster with Ellen Pompeo 2020

We’re approaching the end of the TV season, but a lot of shows will be hopping of the schedule sooner than usual thanks to production shutdown due to coronavirus. For show like Last Man Standing and others this means finales may be a little abrupt. However, we’ve just learned the disruption on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy will be much larger. Covid-19 is responsible for the show cutting its season short and Ellen Pompeo answered some fan questions about the Season 16 changes.

Network shows in general have long had longer seasons than cable or streaming shows. This means fans get new episodes frequently (but not every week), typically between the months of October and May. In general, Grey’s Anatomy has been very popular on ABC and often produces more episodes than most other network shows even.

As part of Season 16, ABC had ordered a whopping 25 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy for a narrative that also encompassed the exit of longtime series lead Justin Chambers, who left the series to “diversify” his acting choices in the acting biz. Now, fans will only get to see 21 of those episode during the 2019-2020 TV season.

While some programs, including Modern Family and Hawaii Five-0 had already wrapped on their respective seasons (and series finales in both of those cases), Grey’s Anatomy was not finished filming when the series had to shutdown as part of Hollywood's response to the current Covid-19 crisis in the United States.

ABC announced over the weekend (via THR) that Grey’s Anatomy does not plan to resume production on Season 16. The good news is that Grey’s Anatomy has already been renewed for Season 17 as part of a huge renewal order that already previously came down the pipeline.

Meanwhile, Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo has her own take on the episodes not airing.

She also responded on Twitter to explain the finale “won’t be full of people dying” after one fan asked about deaths, which is a common way Grey’s Anatomy has wrapped up a seasons in the past. (Although Grey's did reveal a Station 19 death recently.) In addition, she also responded to a fan by sending her love. Beyond that she confirmed there will be more episodes left to air, so don’t fret too much.

If everything calms down in regards to this quarantine and the economy gets jumpstarted for next season in time, there’s every reason to believe that Grey’s Anatomy will kickstart into Season 17 in July. If the show ultimately opts to make the final four episodes of Season 16 become the first four episodes of Season 17, the show already has a headstart as well, so I suppose that’s a little bit of a silver lining.

The TV cycle has been disrupted before, notably for TV writers strikes and controversies that have caused shows to press pause on episodes. However, a pandemic like the novel coronavirus is extremely unprecedented.

We’ll have to wait and see how everything pans out in the coming months. Meanwhile, doctor shows such as The Resident have donated the actual medical supplies they’ve used as props during this trying time. Ellen Pompeo has also been active about supporting real life doctors and nurses working out in the field during this trying time.

The final episode of Season 16 will air on April 9th.

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