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The following article contains spoilers from Grey's Anatomy. If you are behind on episodes, it's probably best if you bail now.
By now, there has been a lot that has been written about Dr. Derek Shepherd’s exit from Grey’s Anatomy. Patrick Dempsey has spoken out about leaving, Ellen Pompeo has spoken out about her partner-in-crime’s exit, and now we’ve found out some juicy behind-the-scenes tidbits about Dempsey’s dramatic final bow on the drama. Namely, Grey’s Anatomy will be saving millions of dollars by booting Dr. Derek Shepherd from the show.
While Dempsey doesn’t make the payload that the stars of The Big Bang Theory are raking in, he still was responsible for a huge chunk of Grey’s salary budget. Reports indicate that Dempsey earned $400,000 per episode. The last couple of seasons of the ABC drama have featured 24 episodes, which means the actor was bringing in $9.6 million for the year. With him officially out of the way, it will free up a ton of money for the show to either add someone high profile or simply save it to offset the other costs.
There could be many reasons Dempsey’s character was actually killed off on Grey’s Anatomy. Dempsey had made comments about potentially leaving the series for some time, despite the fact that he had signed a contract for both Season 11 and next fall’s Season 12 (if the show gets renewed). THR even mentions that Dempsey has an overall deal with ABC Studios, and he’s already working on a SundanceTV show about his passion, racing. Beyond that, the rumor mill briefly claimed behind the scenes problems between Rhimes and Dempsey as the reason for his departure.
Dempsey himself seemed surprised about his character’s final story arc on the series, making a statement that the arc was a big surprise to him, noting that he didn’t even know he would be leaving until February or March of this year. So, it’s difficult to tell exactly why things went down the way they did.
Still, while any of those aforementioned things could have contributed to Dempsey’s ultimate exit, the money is at the very least a nice bonus for the network. While Grey’s Anatomy does pretty well in the ratings, the show certainly isn’t making as much money as it once was. The numbers aren't the juggernaut they once were, and over the years, characters like Christina, Mark and many more have left. Some of the exits have allowed the show to introduce some new blood, but in other ways, the departures have made the show really start to show its age.
What’s absolutely certain is that Grey’s Anatomy will be a different show without McDreamy, regardless of the money.