ABC yesterday gave an early Season 19 renewal to its flagship drama series Grey’s Anatomy, with star Ellen Pompeo closing a new one-year deal to continue as the show’s title character, Meredith Grey, and rise from co-executive producer to executive producer on the show next season. Krista Vernoff remains an executive producer and showrunner on both Grey’s and spinoff Station 19.
In making the renewal announcement, ABC did not designate Season 19 as being a final one for the show or Pompeo, options that had been considered by the actress, Vernoff and Grey’s Anatomy creator/executive producer Shonda Rhimes, according to sources. The trio will make the final decision when to end the hugely popular series, Craig Erwich, President, ABC Entertainment and Hulu Originals, said at TCA on Tuesday.
“Grey’s Anatomy is still at the top of its game creatively, it’s our most watched drama, it’s one of the top shows on television,” he said. “I think the current season they are having is extraordinary, we are delving into stories and characters in as deeper way as we ever had. Ultimately, any decisions around that franchise are going to be made by the stewards of the franchise, Shonda and Krista and Ellen. We will have as much Grey’s as we can have, it’s one of the things we are most proud of at ABC.”
According to sources, a final decision whether Season 19 of Grey’s Anatomy would be last will be made later this year. It’s conceivable to think that ABC would be eyeing a big anniversary 20th season celebrating the seminal drama.
Eighteen seasons in, Grey’s Anatomy remains ABC’s No. 1 show in adults 18-49 and is tied as the No. 1 broadcast drama in the key demo this season. The series averages 12.8 million total viewers this season after 35 days of delayed viewing across platforms. Additionally, the series is a major profit generator for Disney and is lifting spinoff Station 19 through an integrated universe and frequent crossovers, helping it become ABC’s second highest-rated scripted series behind Grey’s.
Season 18 of Grey’s Anatomy returns to ABC on February 24 in a crossover event with Station 19.