We have an update on Grey’s Anatomy Season 19.
And it’s a doozy.
According to an exclusive Deadline story on Wednesday morning, Ellen Pompeo will, indeed, appear on upcoming new episodes of the smash hit medical drama.
But only a handful of them.
To close out Season 18, Pompeo’s Meredith Grey’s chose NOT to relocate to Minnesota.
She decided to stick around Grey Sloan Memorial as an interim Chief of Surgery, which is the role viewers will find her in on the October 7 premiere.
HOWEVER, Pompeo will only appear in eight episodes of the upcoming season… although the characte will continue to narrate every episode and the star will continue to serve as an executive producer on the series.
Pompeo signed a new contract back in January, aware at the time that her role on Season 19 would be significantly scaled back.
This news comes in the wake of Pompeo signing on for her first role other than Meredith Grey in almost two decades:
She’s set to star in Hulu’s Orphan limited series … which is inspired by the true story of Ukranian-born Natalia Grace and her American adoptive parents who claimed that she was an adult “sociopath” pretending to be a child.
Previously, Pompeo had said she was dying for Grey’s Anatomy to end; and that she doesn’t see herself acting very much once the show does eventually wrap up.
Pompeo has been candid for years after how ready she is to leave Grey’s Anatomy.
Responding to a question from Entertainment Tonight in May about whether the series could live on without her, she replied:
“Trying to reinvent the show and continually trying to reinvent the show is the challenge at this point, and listen, the show speaks to a lot of people, and the young people love the show.
“It’s inspired so many generations of healthcare workers, so, I think for for the young people, it’s a really good piece of content and we’re going to try to keep it going for the young people, not necessarily with me, but keep it going beyond me.”
The show, meanwhile, has hired a slew of new series regulars ahead of Season 19.
Adelaide Kane, Harry Shum Jr., Niko Terho, Midori Francis and Alexis Floyd have all signed on as first-year surgical residents.
Deadline, meanwhile, emphasizes that no decision has been made about the show’s future after Season 19.
But it seems VERY hard to imagine Pompeo will be around for any episodes beyond May 2023.
In January, ABC announced the network had ordered a 19th season of Grey’s Anatomy, which has become the longest-running primetime medical drama series in history.
“Grey’s Anatomy has a global impact that can’t be overstated,” executive producer and showrunner Krista Vernoff said at the time. “
“Grey’s touches, and sometimes changes, hearts and minds worldwide through the depth of connection people feel with these characters.
“I’m excited to work with our extraordinary writers to dream up where we go from here, and I’m always grateful to our partners at Disney and ABC for letting us tell bold stories with real impact.”