Great news this weekend for anyone who’s ever wanted to buy long-running ABC medical drama Grey’s Anatomy a beer without getting hassled by the cops: You’re now just one scant season away, as Variety reports that the series has now been renewed for its gob-smacking 20th season on the air. That’s pretty amazing, considering that we’re talking about a medical drama that went to the “there’s a bomb stuck in the patient while we’re operating on him” well—generally considered a season 10 move, at the earliest—all the way back in its second year on the air. The show has burnt the “exploding surgery patient” candle at both ends, is all we’re saying, for a series that’s lasted this long.
Significantly, the renewal serves as an acknowledgment by ABC that, despite her name on the series (and the hospital), Grey’s Anatomy can survive without the regular support of Ellen Pompeo’s Meredith Grey. (Pompeo stepped back from a full-time role on the show during its 19th season; although she still appears, it’s no longer in a regular role.) To be fair, Grey’s Anatomy has one of the largest rosters of regular players on TV: In addition to Pompeo (whose status for the 20th season is still up in the air), there were 17 cast members listed as regulars for the show’s 19th season. (Although Kelly McCreary has also announced that she’s departing the series.)
In addition to its other shake-ups, Grey’s is also getting a new showrunner: Executive producer Meg Marinis is taking over the role, after current showrunner Krista Vernoff announced she’d be stepping down from that role (and a similar one on spin-off Station 19) back in January.
Grey’s Anatomy remains the longest-running primetime medical drama in the history of network TV, a streak it shows no sign of abandoning at present.