Pompeo, who has played the titular character since the medical drama debuted in 2005, is cutting back on her screen time in order to pursue other opportunities. The actress is set to appear in season 19 in a "limited capacity," E! News has learned.
But what exactly does that mean? Pompeo will only appear in eight of the 20-plus episodes slated for the new season.
While some fans may be on the verge of a code blue, we've been assured that Pompeo will still be an executive producer and narrator for the next installment of episodes.
This Grey's update follows the news that Pompeo is set to star in and executive producer a currently untitled limited series for Hulu. The new series is based on the real-life case involving US adoptive parents who accused their Ukrainian-born daughter of being a grown adult and conning them.
Though Pompeo extended her Grey's Anatomy deal in January, she previously revealed that she was ready for the Shonda Rhimes-created series to come to an end. In a December 2021 interview with Insider, Pompeo confessed that she's "been trying to focus on convincing everybody that [Grey's Anatomy] should end."
She continued, "I feel like I'm the super naïve one who keeps saying, 'But what's the story going to be, what story are we going to tell?' And everyone's like, 'Who cares, Ellen? It makes a gazillion dollars.'"
Pompeo later hinted at a potential exit in May, telling Entertainment Tonight, "I think for the young people, it's a really good piece of content, and we're going to try to keep it going for the young people, not necessarily with me, but keep it going beyond me."
She added, "Continually trying to reinvent the show is the challenge at this point, and listen, the show speaks to a lot of people, and the young people love the show."
Season 19 is already shaking up the cast, as Harry Shum Jr., Adelaide Kane, Alexis Floyd, Niko Terho and Midori Francis have all been added to the roster in recent weeks. Production is set to begin this week, with the premiere date slated for Oct. 6 on ABC.
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