Grey’s Anatomy has been renewed for its 19th season and, after much speculation, star Ellen Pompeo has signed on to continue as the series’ star, Dr. Meredith Grey.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Pompeo will remain the highest-paid actress in a primetime drama series. Original stars Chandra Wilson and James Pickens Jr., who play Dr. Miranda Bailey and Dr. Richard Webber, respectively, will also continue on into the show’s 19th season, having signed multi-year extensions in May 2021.
The renewal news comes as a surprise, since Pompeo herself said last month that she thought the show needed to wrap up. “I’ve been trying to focus on convincing everybody that it should end,” she told Insider, adding that while she was worried about producing a convincing plot on the show, others had more monetary concerns.
“I feel like I’m the super naive one who keeps saying, ‘But what’s the story going to be, what story are we going to tell?’” she said. “And everyone’s like, ‘Who cares, Ellen? It makes a gazillion dollars.’”
As of 2017, Pompeo was making $550,000 per episode, on top of her share of syndication and streaming profits. Last season, Pompeo didn’t renew her contract until the end of the season, in May, but THR reported that negotiations for her contract extension went much more smoothly this time around.
According to THR, there’s been no decision about if season 19 will be the last for Grey’s Anatomy. Though fans have been disappointed with plot decisions made by the show, it has continued to perform in the ratings. The series is tied with NBC’s This Is Us in the 18-49 demo and has also helped boost the ratings of its spin-off, Station 19. Plus, Grey’s is a streaming staple, allowing it to reach an audience of younger viewers who are just tuning into the hijinks at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.