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The time when we have to say one last goodbye to the residents at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital may comer sooner than we would like.
In an in-depth interview with Variety, actress Ellen Pompeo, who plays Dr Meredith Grey in the series, opened up about the possibility of ending Grey's Anatomy after its upcoming 17th - yes, you read that right! - season.
"We don't know when the show is really ending yet. But the truth is, this year could be it," she said. "I'm constantly fighting for the show as a whole to be as good as it can be. As a producer, I feel like I have permission to be able to do that. I mean, this is the last year of my contract right now. I don't know that this is the last year, but it could very well could be."
Ellen has led the popular drama, which became the longest running American primetime medical series in 2019, since it debuted in 2005. She and creator Shonda Rhimes, who also created Scandal and produced How To Get Away With Murder, have often discussed when the show will end.
Shonda has previously said the show will come to an end whenever Ellen wants to hang up her scrubs.
"I don't take the decision lightly," Ellen revealed. "We employ a lot of people, and we have a huge platform. And I'm very grateful for it. You know, I'm just weighing out creatively what can we do.
"I'm really, really, really excited about this season. It's probably going to be one of our best seasons ever. And I know that sounds nuts to say, but it's really true."
Production on the season 16 was suspended earlier this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. When the show returns, it will tackle stories relating to the disease, which has since killed 1.1 million worldwide.
Showrunner Krista Vernoff admitted she considered not addressing the pandemic at all in season 17 because the show should be an "escape" from the real world.
"[The writers] really convinced me that it would be irresponsible to not [cover it]," she told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. "To be kind of the biggest medical show and ignore the biggest medical story of the century felt irresponsible to them to the medical community. These doctors are traumatised. They are not trained or wired to hold the hands of dying people all day who are alone without their families."
Season 17 of Grey's Anatomy premieres on ABC Thursday, November 12, at 8 p.m. ET. We can't wait!
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