Grey’s Anatomy is checking back in for the 2022-23 broadcast season.
ABC has handed out an early season 19 renewal for the Shonda Rhimes-created medical drama after reaching a new deal with leading lady Ellen Pompeo to return. Pompeo joins fellow original stars Chandra Wilson and James Pickens Jr. in coming back for season 19. The latter duo inked multiple-year pacts in May 2021 when TV’s longest-running primetime medical drama was picked up for its 18th season.
“Grey’s Anatomy is a true phenomenon, beloved by audiences around the world. Whether they catch it live on ABC, or stream it on Hulu or globally on Disney+ or Star+, it’s clear that fans can’t get enough of Shonda Rhimes’ brilliant creation,” said Dana Walden, chairman of entertainment at Walt Disney Television. “We have enormous faith in Shonda, Krista Vernoff, Ellen Pompeo and the entire creative team to unlock new, untold stories that will continue to focus on modern medicine, tackle the issues that shape the world around us, and resonate deeply with loyal fans for years to come.”
In its 18th season, Grey’s Anatomy is tied with NBC’s This Is Us as broadcast’s No. 1 series in the all-important adults 18-49 demo. The series is ABC’s highest-rated scripted original and, thanks in part to frequent crossovers, has also helped its firefighter-focused spinoff, Station 19, to become the network’s No. 2 drama overall. Vernoff, who extended her own overall deal with Disney’s ABC Signature last March, serves as showrunner on both Grey’s and Station 19. Vernoff wrote and executive produced Grey’s Anatomy for its first seven seasons and was hand-picked by Rhimes to take over as showrunner on Grey’s after former co-showrunner Stacy McKee departed to focus on Station 19 and as Rhimes moved her overall deal to Netflix. Vernoff, whose deal runs until 2023, added Station 19 to her purview ahead of the Grey’s Anatomy spinoff’s third season. Station 19 is currently awaiting word on its sixth season and is expected to also return.
“I couldn’t be more excited that we get to keep telling the stories of Meredith, Bailey, Richard and all of the other doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial for another season,” Rhimes said. “This is a true testament to Krista Vernoff, the cast, the crew and all the writers who keep the audience on the edge of their seat week after week. And it would not be possible without the generations of incredible fans who have supported Grey’s Anatomy for so many years.”
Pompeo has frequently expressed a desire to wrap up the Seattle-set drama, though those remarks have frequently come in years when her contract is up for renegotiations. Sources note the star behind the iconic role of Dr. Meredith Grey received another salary increase and remains broadcast television’s highest-earning actress in a primetime drama series. ABC traditionally begins contract discussions with Pompeo in December. While talks for season 18 went down to the wire last May, discussions went smoothly for season 19.
Sources say no decisions have been made on if season 19 will be end of the road for Grey’s. Considering the value of the franchise — Grey’s is a global phenomenon and is broadcast all over the world and remains a cash cow with a rich streaming deal at Netflix — any decisions on a final season would likely be determined early on and used to help further promote the beloved drama.
“Grey’s Anatomy has a global impact that can’t be overstated. Grey’s touches, and sometimes changes, hearts and minds worldwide through the depth of connection people feel with these characters,” Vernoff said. “I’m excited to work with our extraordinary writers to dream up where we go from here, and I’m always grateful to our partners at Disney and ABC for letting us tell bold stories with real impact.”
In addition to starring, Pompeo exec produces Grey’s as well as Station 19. The dramas, exec produced by Rhimes’ Shondaland, are the last shows from the prolific producer remaining at ABC, her longtime home before she decamped for a nine-figure overall deal with Netflix in 2017. Rhimes has already delivered at Netflix, with her first show, Bridgerton, becoming the streamer’s most watched original. Inventing Anna, the first show Rhimes has written and created since ABC’s Scandal, launches in February.
Pompeo, Wilson (Bailey) and Pickens (Richard) lead a Grey’s cast that also includes Kevin McKidd (Owen), Camilla Luddington (Jo), Kim Raver (Teddy), Caterina Scorsone (Amelia), Kelly McCreary (Maggie), Jake Borelli (Levi), Chris Carmack (Link), Richard Flood (Cormac), Antony Hill (Winston) and Scott Speedman (Nick).
Grey’s is the first scripted series that ABC has renewed for the 2022-23 broadcast season with the news arriving as the network is wrapping up comedy Black-ish this year.