Season 17 Could Be the End of Grey's Anatomy and We Are Not OK

Grey's Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff revealed in a new interview that she is planning a possible series finale as the future of the show is unclear.

By Lauren Piester Mar 10, 2021 11:55 PMTags
Watch: Ellen Pompeo Dedicates "Grey's Anatomy" Season to Healthcare Workers

The end might be near for Grey's Anatomy, and we're already upset about it. 

In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, executive producer and showrunner Krista Vernoff revealed that no decision has been made yet about whether the show will return for an 18th season, and she is currently plotting out two finales: one for the season, and one for the series. 

"I'm planning a season and a finale that could function as either a season finale or a series finale," she said. "I'm planning for both contingencies and it's hard and it's not ideal. It's not where I wish we were." 

Series creator Shonda Rhimes has long said that the show would end when star Ellen Pompeo no longer wants to do it, so Pompeo is a major part of the negotiations for a renewal.

In 2017, she fought for a salary that made her the highest-paid actress on a primetime drama series, but that deal only saw her through season 16. ABC extended the deal in 2019 when Grey's was picked up through season 17.

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Now, no deal has been met yet for season 18 or beyond, meaning Vernoff can't plan too far ahead. THR reports that she asked ABC to know about season 18 before the show goes into production on the finale so she knows what direction to go with it. 

"I've told them that I have to know before I'm making the finale what we're making," she said. "Because there are a couple of character threads that will change. I've got plans for both contingencies. Either there will be closure or I will build something in that allows me to have a bit of a cliffhanger and a thread for next season."


This is a lot to take in for a fandom that's currently watching Meredith (Pompeo) struggle with COVID-19, complete with fever dreams of her dead husband Derek (Patrick Dempsey) and best friend George O'Malley (T.R. Knight). The show fully committed to having the pandemic portrayed on screen, resulting in what has been a very dark season so far. 

Grey's and its spinoff Station 19 return this week after a long winter hiatus, and hopefully, there's light at the end of the tunnel, whether this is the final season or not. 

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

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