For nearly 17 full seasons Grey's Anatomy has been Ellen Pompeo's place to shine. Meredith has been through way more than most people, and is still going through it to the max in the new season, but she's also had some great love and a lot of fun and friendship along the way. Many fans have wondered how long Pompeo would continue to stick around as the beloved titular character, and while she does have a new show in the works, it's not quite what you think, as she's coming into this one as a producer.

While things were looking pretty dire for good ol' Mer the last time we saw her on Grey's Anatomy, fans don't need to worry (just yet) about her current circumstances meaning a departure for Ellen Pompeo. According to Digital Spy, the fan favorite has signed on to produce a television series adaptation of author Elin Hilderbrand's Paradise novels for ABC. Pompeo will produce alongside Maria and Andre Jacquemetton, who both wrote for Mad Men and are also set to write the script for the potential new show. Hilderbrand is on board to executive produce.

The drama would, of course, take its main story from Hilderbrand's trilogy, which consists of the novels Winter in Paradise (2018), What Happens in Paradise (2020) and Troubles in Paradise (2020). The story focuses on Irene Steele, a recently widowed mother who soon discovers that her husband had been living a double life before his death, and had an entire other family waiting for him in the Caribbean, on the island of St. John.

When Irene and her son travel there, they quickly become wrapped up in the spirited culture involved in life on St. John, but have to come to terms with the truth about their family and their future as they delve deeper in her husband's other life and expose more of his secrets.

Elin Hilderbrand's novels in the Paradise series have been praised for their drama and the unfolding mysteries within, as well as for being hard to put down, and while this is about as far from Grey's Anatomy as Ellen Pompeo could get without producing a show about a robot uprising, it also sounds like it will be right up her alley. A huge part of Grey's has always been the interpersonal drama between the main characters, with a lot of that often centering around the, sometimes difficult, relationships they often have with their families, so Paradise seems like a perfect vehicle for Pompeo to lend her storytelling talents.

While there has been some thought that Grey's might be expanding its own universe sometime soon with another series about public service to add to their hospital / firefighter dramas, I can see why Ellen Pompeo would want to branch out. It is possible that the medical drama that made her famous could last forever, but it's not uncommon for actors in very long-term roles like hers to want to shake the dust off by taking on other projects that allow them to stretch a bit.

Right now, it sounds like Pompeo is in for an even longer haul with Grey's, as long as people still enjoy and watch the show, but we all know that it's always good to have a backup plan.

Because Paradise is still in the very early stages of development, there's no word on casting, when the potential show might air or many other details, but you can bet we'll have the info whenever it becomes available. For now, you can catch up with Ellen Pompeo on Grey's Anatomy Season 17 when it returns on March 11, but in the meantime check out our guide to early 2021 TV to see what else you can watch in the coming weeks!

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