The long-running Shondaland hit drama Grey's Anatomy may be coming to an end by 2020, according to star Ellen Pompeo. The actress, who's led the show throughout its entire 14-season run, portrays the eponymous Meredith Grey, and the show has seen her grow from scared intern to award-winning Chief of General Surgery. But how much longer will fans be able to follow her story at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital?
Pompeo has been asked this question several times over the years. Grey's Anatomy has a strong fanbase, and despite dips in the ratings over the years (generally surrounding the exits of popular characters), it's maintained its popularity as the flagship show for creator Shonda Rhimes on ABC. Now that the powerhouse executive has moved on to start to her Netflix empire, it might make sense for things to wrap up for Meredith and company.
In an EW piece celebrating the coming start of Grey's Anatomy season 15, Pompeo hinted that the end is nigh, saying, "I'm clearly not prepared right now to make any formal announcement about what my future is on the show, but I am really feeling like we have told the majority of the stories that we can tell." She added, "It’s about time that I mix it up. I’m definitely looking for a change." Pompeo's contract is up in 2020, which would mean that should she choose not to sign another, the show would end with season 16.
The decision to continue or not continue the series may actually come down to Pompeo. In the past, both Rhimes and Pompeo have said that they will continue as long as the other one does. Though the show has continued after the departure of stars like Patrick Dempsey and Sandra Oh, no one can imagine a Grey's Anatomy without the 'Grey.' But now that Rhimes has effectively handed the reigns over to her staff, it may be that Pompeo is hoping for a natural conclusion to her character's arc.
In the opinion of many, the end of Grey's Anatomy has been a long time coming. Even those who still enjoy it can admit that there have been a lot of repeated storylines - and the number of times the characters have faced a natural disaster is beyond improbable at this point. Even Rhimes herself, who will write the final episode despite no longer acting as showrunner, has said, "I have written the end of the show at least six times. But we just don’t end. Every time I thought, ‘This is how the show should end,’ we’ve gone past those moments, so I’ve stopped trying. I have no idea now.” Fans will have to wait and see what she comes up with when the end finally arrives.