Grey's Anatomy creators have revealed that season 17 will explore the global coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking on Quaranstreaming: Comfort TV That Keeps Us Going panel, hosted by the The Television Academy, the medical drama's executive producer Krista Vernoff revealed the upcoming season will tackle the pandemic which has taken the lives of over 600,000 people worldwide.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Vernoff, who was joined by Kevin McKidd and Chandra Wilson who play Dr. Owen Hunt and Dr. Miranda Bailey, respectively, told fans: "We're going to address this pandemic for sure."
Adding: "There's no way to be a long-running medical show and not do the medical story of our lifetimes."
During the panel talk - which will be available to watch on Emmys.com later today - the producer also spoke about their plans to speak to real life doctors and nurses who have worked on the front line during the pandemic.
Talking about how the show usually researches its narratives using interviews by real medical professionals, Vernoff said: "Every year, we have doctors come and tell us their stories, and usually they're telling their funniest or craziest stories. This year, it has felt more like therapy.
"The doctors come in and we're the first people they're talking to about these types of experiences they're having. They are literally shaking and trying not to cry, they're pale, and they're talking about it as war - a war that they were not trained for."
Dr. Owen Hunt (McKidd) has been one of the main cast members since series five, and fans have learnt how he served as a U.S. Army trauma surgeon who served in war-torn Iraq before coming to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
"That's been one of our big conversations about Owen, is that he's actually trained for this in a way that most of the other doctors aren't," Vernoff told audiences.
She concluded by saying: "I feel like our show has an opportunity and a responsibility to tell some of those stories."
In March it was announced production of season 16 was halted due to the pandemic. Twenty one out of the usual 25 episodes were completed, with show producers announcing the 21st would be the season finale.
The show's incredible 17 season-run usually sees new series air in September, which would mean we'd get the next season just a few short months.
However, while there's no official word on a release date, and despite writers setting up a virtual writers room, its predicted the show may be delayed until 2021.
Either way, we think Grey's Anatomy season 17 is going to be an unmissable watch.
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