Grey's Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo has admitted that the upcoming Season 17 of the medical drama could be its last.
Speaking to Variety alongside her show co-stars Debbie Allen, Chandra Wilson, and Krista Vernoff, the 50-year-old admitted: "We don’t know when the show is really ending yet. But the truth is, this year could be it.
"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."
Grey’s Anatomy passed ER’s record run to become the longest-running American primetime medical drama series, and Pompeo earns a hefty $20 million a year for playing Dr Meredith Grey and being a producer.
"I don’t take the decision lightly," she adds. "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 we can do.
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"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 true."
Season 17 will see Grey’s Anatomy tackle the global subject of the coronavirus as experienced by the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial, all while filming under strict COVID-19 conditions.
Pompeo explained to Variety for their Power of Women issue: "The show, at its core, brings people together.
"And the fact that people can come together and watch the show, and think about things they may not have ordinarily thought about, or see things normalised and humanised in a way that a lot of people really need to see - it helps you become a better human being.
"If this show has helped anybody become a better human being, then that’s the legacy I’d love to sit with."
Grey's Anatomy returns to RTÉ One in the new year.