This September, the Shonda Rhimes medical drama Grey's Anatomy will premiere its 15th season, which is kind of incredible. Season 15 marks Grey's as ABC's longest-running primetime drama and ties it with ER for longest-running medical drama in the U.S. according to E! News, which means the cast is celebrating this historic TV moment.
"Starting this thing, I would have never guessed it that we're here 15 seasons later," James Pickens Jr. (who plays Dr. Richard Webber on the series) told E! News at the 2018 Television Critics Association presentation. "It's just a testament to the loyalty our fans have showed us all these seasons, the incredible creative power that is Shonda Rhimes… it just doesn't take one person to make this come to fruition…"
Costar Kevin McKidd (who plays Dr. Owen Hunt) told E! that he still recalls discussing how the show might run for two more seasons after season five — a full decade ago. "It's unbelievable," he said. "I've never had a gig run this long in my life as an actor."
McKidd added, "It's going to be weird when it's all over, we're all like a family now. I can't imagine life without this show and this character. I'm not quite ready to even start thinking about that… It's changed my life in many, many brilliant, amazing ways, and I feel really grateful."
Meanwhile, Kim Raver, who steps back into a series-regular position as Dr. Teddy Altman in season 15, said, "To be able to arrive at 15 years of television, top, top-notch television, it talks to what an amazing collaboration this show is. And I think, also, for me to go back and see how many women [are involved]… it really is an amazing place to work. To be in season 15 is really a gift."
In addition to Raver, there are other casting changes to look forward to this fall. Grey's said goodbye to several cast members in season 14, including Martin Henderson (Dr. Nathan Riggs), Jason George (Dr. Ben Warren), Jessica Capshaw (Dr. Arizona Robbins) and Sarah Drew (Dr. April Kepner) according to Bustle. Meanwhile, members of the original core cast, including Ellen Pompeo (Dr. Meredith Grey), Justin Chambers (Dr. Alex Karev), Chandra Wilson (Dr. Miranda Bailey) and Pickens are sticking around, as well as familiar faces like McKidd, Jesse Williams (Dr. Jackson Avery), Camilla Luddington (Dr. Jo Wilson), Caterina Scorsone (Dr. Amelia Shepherd), Kelly McCreary (Dr. Maggie Pierce) and Giacomo Gianniotti (Dr. Andrew DeLuca).
Bustle also reports that there are just 10 returning regulars for season 15, making this the smallest Grey's cast since season two. TVLine reports that the overall theme for the upcoming season is "The Season of Love" and that it picks up right where season 14 left off.
Grey's has not officially been renewed beyond the upcoming 15th season, but Pompeo signed a contract with ABC in January, per Deadline, for at least two more years (so, seasons 15 and 16). In addition to making more than $550,000 per episode, making Pompeo the highest-paid female actor on TV today, the contract also adds producing duties to her plate.
Does all of this mean Pompeo's character, Meredith, will finally find true love in season 15? We don't know, but every tidbit of info that comes out has us wondering where Grey's Anatomy will go next. Season 16 doesn't seem like a difficult stretch for the powerhouse series — not even a little bit.