Could ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Be Over? Creators Are Treating Season 17 Finale as Series End

Every year it seems like Grey’s Anatomy pushes the boundaries of how far a medical drama can go. Season after season, fans wonder if the show is coming to a close, yet the writers always come up with more harrowing positions to put the doctors of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital in. Last season had to be cut short due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and now season 17 might be the Grey’s Anatomy finale.

Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey smiling in front of a blurred background
Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey | Richard Cartwright/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Season 17 mid-season premiere

Grey’s Anatomy returns tonight after quite a long hiatus with a two-hour crossover event with Station 19. Since the shows are both a part of Shondaland, they often intersect. But fans who don’t want to commit to two hours of television don’t need to watch both to understand what’s going on.

“Each hour of each show needs to be a whole story [by] itself,” Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff told Variety. “And when merged with the other show, when there are crossover elements, it needs to feel like, ‘Oh, that’s a bigger movie.’ So I had to make two-hour movies, [but] if you only watched [either the first or last] hour, you felt totally satisfied.”

Station 19 starts at 8 p.m. EST and Grey’s Anatomy follows at 9 p.m. EST.

Season 17 could be the ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ finale

Though Grey’s Anatomy is a much loved show, there is only so long that any show can run for. Vernoff is preparing for this season to be the last.

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“I’m planning a season and a finale that could function as either a season finale or a series finale,” Vernoff told The Hollywood Reporter. “I’m planning for both contingencies and it’s hard and it’s not ideal. It’s not where I wish we were.”

According to the outlet, there have been discussions for months beteen Disney and Ellen Pompeo, who is the leading woman on the show. Her recent contract covered seasons 15 and 16 and was extended to season 17 as well. Pompeo has been seeking a salary increase so no agreements have been made.

In light of this, Vernoff has asked ABC to at least let her know ahead of time if this season will be the series’ end.

“I’ve told them that I have to know before I’m making the finale what we’re making,” she said. “Because there are a couple of character threads that will change. I’ve got plans for both contingencies. Either there will be closure or I will build something in that allows me to have a bit of a cliffhanger and a thread for next season.”

The end of Grey’s might not be the worst thing for Vernoff as she is working on Station 19 and an upcoming show, Rebel.

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“We are on fumes,” she said.” I don’t really have creative space for imaginings of what might happen next year; I’m trying to get through this season. Once I know if this is the final season or not, I can start to try to imagine other things.

“But trying to simultaneously plan for the end of the series and the end of the season — if it’s not the end of the series — it’s like breaking two shows. That’s what I’ve got bandwidth for. That, Station 19 and Rebel. That’s enough.”