How the Cast of Grey’s Anatomy Is Bracing for Ellen Pompeo’s Reduced Role in Season 19

In an exclusive interview with E! News, the cast of Grey's Anatomy shares how they’re preparing for Ellen Pompeo to take a step back in season 19, premiering Oct. 6.

By Daniel Trainor Oct 06, 2022 2:32 AMTags
Watch: Grey's Anatomy Cast on Filming Without Ellen Pompeo

There's a changing of the guard underway at Grey Sloan.

As Grey's Anatomy prepares to enter his 19th season, premiering Oct. 6 on ABC, the beloved medical drama is getting a bit of a facelift. Not only are a crop of new cast members joining the show, Ellen Pompeo, who has played Meredith Grey since the show's inception in 2005, announced she would only be appearing in a "limited capacity."

Grey's Anatomy without Meredith Grey?! Somebody sedate us!

However, the rest of the Grey's cast insists that even if Meredith might not be around as much—it's not time to impale yourself with an icicle.

"As far as our story tones are concerned, we still have that Meredith voice there, that Meredith presence," Chandra Wilson, who plays Miranda Bailey, exclusively told E! News. "The thing we've learned over the seasons is that Grey's maintains its feel no matter who is there, no matter which characters are there. "

James Pickens Jr., who plays Richard Webber, agreed in saying, "She will hover over the show as long as the show is in existence."

Phew, we don't need to cue up "Chasing Cars" just yet.

Grey's Anatomy: Epic Romances

Even if Meredith does eventually leave for good, it's hard to imagine she'll ever really leave Grey Sloan behind forever—just ask Camilla Luddington, who plays Jo Wilson.

"I can't imagine a world in which there is no Meredith Grey," Camilla said. "In the same way that Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams) comes back and Addison [Montgomery] (Kate Walsh) comes back, I can't imagine a world in which she's not doing the same."

Indeed, it was announced Sept. 7 that Kate would be returning in a recurring role as Dr. Montgomery for season 19, which will help cure our nostalgia blues during such a time of change on the show.

However, Anthony Hill, who has played Dr. Winston Ndugu since season 16 of Grey's, said fans should be invigorated by the fresh opportunities Ellen's absence will create.

"The vibe is great on set. It feels like a little bit like a passing of the torch," Hill said. "Not just from [Ellen] to this new intern class, because that's what everybody is talking about, but also a little bit of a passing of the torch to the rest to the attendings and the people who have been there for a long time, and the people who are just getting started like myself."


Anthony said the inclusion of the show's new interns—Harry Shum Jr., Adelaide Kane, Midori Francis, Alexis Floyd and Niko Terho—has fostered a giddy atmosphere on set.

"It's a cool energy. It's an energy that I think everybody is excited about," he revealed. "Those interns bring an energy that is so realistic to what interns would actually bring to a hospital—this excitement and this youthful joy. I don't want to say exuberance, but that's really what it is."

Join the party when season 19 of Grey's Anatomy premieres Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. on ABC.

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