For loyal fans of Grey’s Anatomy, there exists an inevitable truth we choose not to discuss, and it comes in the form of a pressing question: What’s next for Ellen Pompeo after Grey’s Anatomy? Thanks to a new interview with Pompeo, we just might have our answer. One of these days, Dr. Meredith Grey will retire her ferryboat scrub cap for good and walk out of Grey Sloan Memorial hospital forever, so of course we have to know what she told E! News about what’s next in her career.
“I’m definitely starting to branch out and do different things with my time,” Pompeo told E! “I’m itchy to try new things. I’ve tried directing.”
Pompeo is likely referring to the two episodes of Grey’s Anatomy she is currently credited as directing: 2017’s “Be Still, My Soul” and 2018’s “Old Scars, Future Hearts.” It’s also worthwhile to note that Pompeo has served as a producer on the series since 2017, stepping it up to co-executive producer for the current season. So, yeah, it’s not as though Grey’s fans aren’t hyperaware of the fact that Pompeo is incredibly talented and certainly capable of exploring the other possibilities being made available to her. At this point, it’s unclear what those projects and possibilities are. But could she really be ready to say goodbye to Grey’s?
Since 2005, when the series began, she’s brought to life the lead character, Dr. Meredith Grey. In the 15 seasons the show has been on the air, her character has seen numerous changes, including becoming a mother and tragically losing her husband and father of said kids, Derek Shepherd (played by Patrick Dempsey). While the show currently hasn’t been picked up for the 16th season, it seems like a foregone conclusion that it will — at which point, will Pompeo be on board to continue?
“I don’t like to assume anything. Every season is a gift, there’s plenty of great TV on and the network and the studio can do anything they want to do. I never take it for granted,” she diplomatically responded to E!
Having said that, showrunner Shonda Rhimes has already declared that Grey’s will go on as long as Pompeo wants it to. Pompeo reiterated this fact, saying, “Shonda has publicly said that we will decide collectively when it’s time to wrap it up and we will decide together.”
Furthermore, Pompeo doesn’t see Grey’s going on without her in any capacity. “I don’t think [Shonda] has plans to continue the show without me, or any of the originals for that matter, but who knows. It’s Hollywood,” Pompeo shared.
Take a deep breath, fandom; she hasn’t said she’s leaving yet. In fact, in January, she admitted she has another strong incentive for sticking with Grey’s until the proverbial wheels fall off.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about how many people have stable jobs [at Grey’s],” she told TVLine. “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 L.A. [is remarkable].”
Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8/7c on ABC.