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Will ABC Cancel Grey’s Anatomy This Season? Ellen Pompeo Just Got Candid

Meredith Grey sits at a desk on Grey's Anatomy.
(Image credit: ABC)

The conversation about when and how ABC will wrap its longtime medical hit Grey’s Anatomy is an important one for fans, many of whom make Grey’s appointment viewing on Thursdays. While we’re all just thankful anytime we can get our weekly dose of McDrama, the decisions behind the scenes regarding the show’s longevity seem to come down to two people — creator Shonda Rhimes and series star Ellen Pompeo — and the Meredith Grey actress has been clear about where she falls on the issue these days.

Ellen Pompeo is currently in her 18th season as the star of Grey’s Anatomy, and she’s been pretty open in the past few years about being ready to move on. She also wants to make sure the show continues to tell good stories and do her character justice. Pompeo spoke to Insider recently about whether she thinks the show will continue and the factors that are going into that decision.

I've been trying to focus on convincing everybody that it should end. ​I feel like I'm the super naive one who keeps saying, 'But what's the story going to be, what story are we going to tell?' And everyone's like, 'Who cares, Ellen? It makes a gazillion dollars.’

Idealistically, I think fans always want the story to be what drives the network to continue a favorite show, rather than money, but it is hard to ignore the financial impact the ABC drama has had — both on the advertising side of things and with merchandise. It may not be her main motivation, but Ellen Pompeo gets paid a pretty penny for her role on the show — as she should — and she's admitted that money plays a big role in her decision to stay with Grey’s Anatomy for so long.

Ellen Pompeo has devoted her acting career to the role of Meredith Grey. Not many people stay in a role for as long as she has. Grey’s Anatomy premiered as a midseason replacement in 2005, and though Pompeo lost her series co-star when Patrick Dempsey’s Derek Shepherd was killed in a car accident, it was Meredith Grey’s name in the title of the show, and she has continued to carry it. She recently joked on her podcast that she knew she’d been on Grey's Anatomy too long when she started pitching storylines that she’d already done in earlier seasons.

In the end though, Shonda Rhimes says the decision of when to end the show is hers, and it’s certainly an issue that’s been on her mind for a while. Before handing over creative control to current showrunner Krista Vernoff, Rhimes said she’d written the ending to the series “a good eight times.”

Just like last season — when ABC waited a painstakingly long time to announce Grey’s Anatomy’s Season 18 renewal — fans will be holding their collective breath until official word comes. And if Ellen Pompeo is ready to pull the plug, can it really continue for that much longer?

Grey’s Anatomy is on winter hiatus but will return for a crossover with Station 19 on February 24, that will reveal Owen Hunt’s fate, as well as what happens with the other cliffhangers they left us with in the winter finale. Until then, check out what’s in store for the new year with our 2022 TV Schedule.

Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.