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Grey’s Anatomy Showrunner Says Season 17 Finale ‘Could’ Be a Series Finale

Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey. Photo: ABC

After a plane crash, a shooting, several car accidents, many a natural disaster, the occasional freak accident, and, most recently, a pandemic, Grey’s Anatomy has been through it all. But with the season-17 finale approaching and renewal talks still underway, the writers’ room is forced to prepare for the worst: the series finale. Ahead of its midseason premiere this Thursday, showrunner Krista Vernoff told The Hollywood Reporter she’s working on a storyline that could ultimately be the show’s last. “I’m planning a season and a finale that could function as either a season finale or a series finale,” Vernoff, who was passed the torch from Shonda Rhimes in season 14, said on Tuesday. “I’m planning for both contingencies and it’s hard and it’s not ideal. It’s not where I wish we were.”

On March 11, the ABC medical drama starring Ellen Pompeo will be picking up in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis with a future as uncertain as ours. Sources told THR that renewal talks between ABC parent company Disney and Pompeo have been underway for months. In 2018, she signed a monumental deal covering seasons 15 and 16 that made her TV’s highest-paid prime-time actress. ABC extended the deal in 2019 to cover season 17, which faced delays amid coronavirus shutdowns last year. Pompeo considered the possibility of the end in her own interview on CBS Sunday Morning last month. “To end a show this iconic … how do we do it?” the actress wondered. “I just wanna make sure we do this character and this show and the fans … I wanna make sure we do it right.” After a season of reappearances, you might want to prepare yourself for the one Grey’s Anatomy good-bye that will actually be final.

Grey’s Anatomy Season 17 Finale ‘Could’ Be a Series Finale