While doctors across America are putting in overtime during the coronavirus pandemic, Grey Sloan Memorial is closing up shop for the rest of the season. The Grey’s Anatomy team has officially decided they will not be returning to set to film the rest of season 16 and will end this chapter with episode 21 airing Apr. 9, ABC has announced.
The A.V. Club can confirm that episode 21, ironically titled “Put on a Happy Face,” will air as originally intended and will not be altered in post-production to seem more like a season finale. In the episode, “Link tries to convince Amelia to take it easy during the final stage of her pregnancy. Hayes asks Meredith a surprising question, and Owen makes a shocking discovery,” according to ABC.
ABC announced Grey’s production was shutting down at least temporarily due to concerns about COVID-19 on Mar. 16. (One of just dozens of productions to make that decision.) But today’s season-ending decision does not affect our nation’s longest-running medical drama’s future: The series has already been renewed for a 17th season and will return this fall—if the world is able to get back to normal in time. THR has spoken to sources who claim that if productions are not able to get back up and running by mid-May, the traditional fall TV premiere season may have to be pushed back, possibly as far as January 2021.
This is not the first major shakeup for Grey’s this season. In January, Justin Chambers—one of the shows four remaining original series regulars—announced he was abruptly ending his tenure on the show. He was written off the series earlier this month in an episode where his character, Karev, was only seen in flashback footage.
ABC says this programming shift does not affect the Station 19 and How to Get Away with Murder May 14 finale airdate because, presumably, those shows had already completed production for their seasons.