At This Point, Ellen Pompeo Might Just Play Meredith Grey Forever
"The fans will dictate when the show ends," the Pompeo said.
Nobody knows where we might end up, and nobody knows when Grey's Anatomy will end... not even Meredith Grey herself.
A few months back, Ellen Pompeo panicked the Grey's fandom when she revealed she's ready to retire her scrubs. She said she's "looking for a change" and thinks the show has already exhausted the stories it can tell. This time around, though, it seems the star is backtracking on her previous comments.
"I keep saying, ‘I’m ready to move on and I want to stop the show before the ratings go down,’ but the ratings never go down!" she told TVLine. "They go down a little bit, but the fact that we are able to hold our [title as ABC’s No. 1 series] is kind of [incredible]. It’s very cool to have these kind of ratings and be on a hit network show in this [Peak TV] landscape."
In January of last year, Pompeo closed a massive deal with ABC to extend her contract for two more seasons. Her contract — which she's now about halfway through — made her the highest-paid woman on television. With a $575,000 paycheck per episode (coupled with a seven-figure signing bonus and two full backend equity points), she rakes in a total of $20 million per year.
Not too shabby, Grey!
Sweetly, Pomeo's children are the reason she doesn't plan on exploring fresh projects in the near future. She said she'd like to stay in close proximity to them — something she might not be able to do if she's busy juggling other work responsibilities. Plus, ABC keeps showering her with hard-to-pass-up offers.
"It’s pretty nice place to work," she revealed. "I like my situation here. As much as the idea of something new appeals to me… the truth is I have three kids. I don’t really want to travel and leave [them]. I don’t want to be a circus traveller and live in hotels. And the network and studio continue to incentivize me and just make me offers that I can’t refuse."
She's also taking the livelihood of the cast and crew of Grey's into account. Considering that she's the focal point of the long-running show (her character's name is in the title, after all), deciding to leave would likely put an end to the series.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about how many people have stable jobs [at Grey's]," Pompeo shared. "In this town you don't get a lot of 24-episodes-a-season shows. So the fact that this crew gets to film 24 episodes – that's 10 months of work – and they get to stay in LA [is remarkable]."
Ultimately, Pompeo is placing the show's fate on the fans. As long as there are legions of people tuning in to witness the life of the great Meredith Grey, she's willing to power through and give us more seasons — no matter how many more that may be.
"Obviously I never anticipated the show still being the No. 1 show on the network,” the 49-year-old actress told People. "How do you walk away from a hit? The fans will dictate when the show ends. As much as we think we’re in control, we’re not. It’s the fans’ show at this point. They control how long the show goes. We’ll see. I kind of just take it year by year and see."
For Grey's Anatomy's 15th season, the show hit another milestone. On top of getting closer and closer to taking ER's crown (it's the longest-running medical drama in television history), it's also nabbed a massive season order — its largest tally since Season 3, per the Hollywood Reporter.
Season 15 will now include 25 episodes, a three-episode bump from the original order. This isn't surprising given the show's impressive ratings. It averages a whopping 3.1 rating in the 18-49 demographic.
So, what will happen to our dear Meredith next? Will there be a McDreamy 2.0? Will she ever find love again? According to showrunner Krista Vernoff, a future great love is in the cards for Mer.
“No one holds a candle to Derek. But right now, I’m guessing she’s finding it now with Dr. Deluca. She’s certainly having her fun," she said of Meredith's latest fling. As for her next love interest, she shares "he remains to be discovered. Will she find love? I think so."
We certainly hope so!