Exclusive: Ellen Pompeo Opens Up About Her Uncertain Grey's Future and Likely Successor

Ellen Pompeo tells TVLine she has made no formal decision yet about extending her Grey’s Anatomy run beyond next season — nor has she been asked to. But should her swan song in fact air a year from now, at least one succession plan has the actress’ stamp of approval.

Series creator Shonda Rhimes volunteered to us on Friday that she is approaching Season 8 as quite possibly the “last hurrah” for her remaining original cast members, Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey included. “I really don’t know [who might re-sign] and I don’t presume to know,” Rhimes said. “Everybody has an individual choice to make and I get that.”

But Pompeo, when apprised of Rhimes’ stance, says she has yet to be presented with that choice. “No one has asked us to come back after Season 8, so I couldn’t presume that I’m coming back … if I haven’t been invited,” the actress told TVLine Friday night at the Young Hollywood Awards (airing May 26 on ION Television).

Young Hollywood Awards: Grey’s, Pretty Little Liars, Friday Night Lights Win Big

Pompeo previously said she “would probably not renew” her contract with the ABC series, explaining, “I think I’ve told all the stories I can tell as Meredith Grey.” But she clarified that year-ago soundbite for us, saying, “It’s not as if I’ve been asked and I’ve said ‘I don’t know’ or ‘No.'” Rather, the topic of renewing “hasn’t even been mentioned to me.”

A show rep had no comment on this story.

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Should Pompeo ultimately pass on re-upping, Rhimes’ show would lose its original title character, leaving Mer’s half-sister Lexie to emerge as the new Grey in Grey’s Anatomy.

“I would totally take that on -– if that were to be the case,” Chyler Leigh said during a September Fancast.com Q&A. “I don’t know where Ellen is [with her thinking], but that would seem like the logical next step.”

Would such a succession plan get Pompeo’s blessing? “If that’s what Chyler wants, and that’s what everyone wants, of course!” she told us.

Pompeo did note, however, that there is “another sister” out there — Lexie’s sibling Molly, whom viewers fleetingly met in a handful of 2006-07 episodes (played by Mandy Siegfried). Offers Anatomy‘s current Grey, “I’m happy with whatever happens!” (With reporting by Louis Virtel)

What do you think, Grey’s faithful? Can/should the show move forward after next season with a different Grey at the fore?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Terry says:

    Sorry, without Meredith there isn’t a Grey’s.

    • RP says:

      Agree. I don’t like Lexie at all, she seems like a wishy-washy head case. Meredith’s always had her issues but she’s been a lot more relatable and likable in my opinion.

      • Michael says:

        Ellen is the heart of the show and I too have always found her to be the most relatable, but I think that Chyler is terrific. All of the Greys are head-cases. You can’t really single out Lexie in that respect. Plus, she hasn’t stuck her hands in any bomb-filled body cavities or drown herself. Lexie is a sweet human being.

        I don’t know if I’d watch without Ellen.

        • Lexi says:

          I agree. Ellen/ Meredith is the heart of the show.

          The show should NOT move forward after next season with a different Grey at the fore.

          I’ve always watches Grey’s Anatomy because of Ellen Pompeo/ Meredith Grey, and not because of Lexie.

          • KIM says:


    • jenna says:

      agreed. I’m not a lexie fan, doesn’t help that when we were first introduced to her she bounced from ‘loving’ a new person so often (george, alex, sloan now avery). This show won’t last without its title character

    • Alrisha says:

      They leaving the show is a killer decision. The only new character I like is Every and the writers have no exploited his role at all. No Mer or/and Dereck and that is for me.

      • Donna says:

        I agree with Alrisha ( pretty name by the way )Mer and Derick
        are the heart of the show and if they go, I believe it will die a
        quick death. It would be a shame because it has such a following.

        • Lexi says:

          I agree!
          I don’t know if I’d watch without Ellen Pompeo.

          Ellen/ Meredith is the heart of the show!
          The show should NOT move forward after next season with a different Grey at the fore.
          I’ve always watches Grey’s Anatomy because of Ellen Pompeo/ Meredith Grey, and not because of Lexie.

    • silly says:

      so they are building their “dreamhouse” in seattle but leave at the end of season 8? stupid story! they are speaking about this house since season 1… and then they just leave the city? i hate the storylines, they are sooooo boring!

      • Jax says:

        There are many ways to write them off the show without having them leave the city. Maybe Meredith quits her job to be with the baby, Maybe they both go work for another hospital, maybe they quit the hospital and open their own practice, Maybe they both die….there are lots of logical things that can happen.

      • Melissa says:

        Maybe the house never gets built because they divorce.

    • Allie says:

      Meh. I won’t mind. Grey’s hasn’t been quality any longer and I like Lexie heaps more than Meredith. But even Chyler doesn’t deserve to be dragged any longer into the mess this show has become.

    • helen says:

      Actually there is, and Lexie is her name. Who by the way has much more sense into her mind and its pretty much a shame that she doesn’t get much more plotlines other than her falling in love with hot men. It pains me to see that that’s all they do for Lexie, when in actuality she’s given the show classic lines – “you’re his midlife crisis; the lambs want to scream, turkey baster; how gay are you,” … I can go on, and if given whatever material she does it well. Really well actually.

      I’d want to see her as a lead in the show, I get pissed off when she only has 2 minutes of screentime per episode. They mostly only use her for supporting roles to jump for another character and it bothers me. Fact is I only watch for her so it would be nice to focus it on her for a change.

      • Linda Marks Rogers says:

        I thought Lexie was dead. Am I mistaken or didn’t she die in the plane crash and they named the hospital after she and Mark Sloan? I just don’t want Mer to leave. It wouldn’t be Grey’s Anatomy with her or Derek for that matter. It is going to be hard enough as it is to get used to Cristina’s leaving.

    • Faith says:

      Grey’s anatomy will never be Grey’s anatomy without ellen. she’s the main star on that show. Fans wants her to stay on the show. It will be a BIG MISTAKE if Shonda will not do anything to make Ellen stays. Chyler is a good actress but the trade mark of being a Grey is with ELLEN. Definitely the ratings of the show will go down if ellen as well as patrick will be out in the show. WE WANT MERDER! They are one of the foundations of the show. The fans watched every thursday night to see them. Shonda please don’t ruin our happiness. Make an action to make the original cast stay. We want GA more..Don’t end the show soon.

      • katie says:

        I completely agree! Everyone watches to see what happens with mcdreamy & mer. It’s always been like that from show one. Please don’t cut them off Rhonda. The show will lose lots of ratings if mer & Der leave. Lexie Is a good character but she’s no Meredith. Meredith was there long before lexi showed up (no offense to her, I love her) but Ellen is the star

    • Lyndee says:

      So true! Grey’s Anatomy started with Meredith Grey as Grey so they can’t just replace her as easy as that. She is the show! And why isn’t anyone from the show asking her about renewing her contract? Rhimes mentioned about Season 8 as being the original cast’s last hurrah, so does that mean that Alex and Cristina will also be gone after that season? OMG! This is so much to handle. Lexie is ok, but if there will be no Meredith Grey then they might just as well change the whole show! argh!

      • Gretchen says:

        I think it would be unrealistic if the originals were all to stay at Seattle Grace. After all, how many residents end up working at the hospital they interned/did a residency at?

        I guess they could have them stay in the general area at various hospitals, but in the real world, the residents move on to careers, teaching, fellowships elsewhere after several years, so losing many of the originals would be a realistic move. But then, they need to have storylines with the new interns, so the “torch” is passed on to them.

      • katie says:

        Rhonda if you take off mer & Der, I wouldn’t bother making another season whatsoever. I love the show to death, but keep the star cast (christina, mer, alex). You already have gotten rid of izzy & george, please keep all the original cast on there as long as you plan on writing GA.

    • Claudy says:

      You can tell that this is all PR-ish talking. Frankly if Lexie had been made the “successor”, ABC, you might as well just cancel the show already.
      Man, ain’t Shondaland an awkward place.

    • Melissa says:

      If they even wanted a shot at keeping the show going based on Lexi, they have a lot of work cut out for them with Lexi’s character in season 8. It would not be the same, and would be very difficult to watch without Meredith.

    • c says:

      i just think everyone is being to judgmental on the characters/actors and the writting team ,the show has made it this far cause every character there has some kind of fan base or they wouldnt be there, and the show has lasted this long cause of the writting team and the actors bring their character to life and they are just doing a job that is told of them , so much hatred if one speaks bad of a character you like and vise vera truth is if season 8 is their last and final season then they all did a hell of a job ,bringing life to our tvs every week,if a tv show can go past 5 seasons then pat your self on the back for a job well done!

    • justin says:

      you are right and if Meredith isn’t on it im not going to watch

    • Rhonda says:

      I don’t know if I’d watch either without Ellen….she is who the show was named after in the first place. Replacing her with another Grey would just be too weird. I like lexie and I think she needs to stay the same…but her and Sloan need to get back together. I really hope Ellen doesn’t leave. The show would never be the same.

    • Disagree!!!!!! IMHO, Ellen Pompeo is not the best actor on the planet……she reminds me of someone who’s always “under the weather” – her acting is portrayed as blah. Plus with her partner in crime gone, her part isn’t really needed…..it was always Meredeth/Christina more so than Meredith/Derrick to me anyway. Love Chyler and miss her. I say step down Ellen and let the true actors step in.

  2. Ana M. says:

    Interesting that she hasn’t been asked yet but I’m not that surprised. However, having Ellen and Patrick out is the kiss of death of this show. They have anchored this show for 7, almost 8 seasons. Can’t see Chyler taking up such role and keeping the show afloat.
    This show needs to pull the plug this season.

    • Jeff D. says:

      They won’t be asked until ABC decides if they want to renew a show with increasing costs and decreasing ratings. If I were to bet the show will not last past Season 9 (yes I know this is Season 8). Also Private Practice won’t make it past a Season 6.

      With Desperate Housewives ending after Season 9 (2012-13), Grey and Private Practice ending either next May or 2012-13 Season, ABC better start trying to find new shows and fast or they are going to be where NBC is right now.

    • Julia says:

      Time to say goodbye. When the stories are all told, let’s wrap it up. Meredith and Derek have lost all chemistry, McSteamy steams no more, and the show has gotten dull. Look back at Seasons 1 & 2 and that was chemistry! Now it’s just…. old. Wrap it up and let’s be done. Give us what we’ve been waiting for since season 1 – a real mer/der wedding, or at least a pregnancy/birth, and moving into the new house. The quasi wedding and last minute adoption were a huge disappointment. Then everyone can say goodbye.

      • crystal says:

        i agree.. the old seasons were the best and the latest ones have just made it heaps dull.. a good ending would be nice if the show ends!

  3. Danielle says:

    I think this is all unnecessary drama. Shonda probably should let the originals stay until they no longer want to. The show is still really popular; I’m not sure why any actor wouldn’t want to stay on what probably will be the show of their careers. I hope this gets worked out sooner rather then later so that we can not be in some weird limbo for most of next season.

    • Jeff D. says:

      Grey’s Anatomy isn’t as popular as you think it is. Their rating have continually declined and the last 2 episodes were the first 2 episodes to be watched by less than 10 million people. I give this show 2 years tops with ratings declining so rapidly.

      • Nicolas says:

        Well I’m not surprised the ratings are going down exactly at the same time as the writing becoming sloppy, predictable, overly dramatic and totally without respect to the character’s and the public’s intelligence. Callie’s mother going off like that at the daughter she almost lost a few months back opened the door to a flow of stupid dramatic decisions that no-one would ever take in real life, culminating with Derek’s easy brush-off of Meredith stating she can’t see right from wrong. Is everyone behind the scenes 5 years-old? Did they expect us to react like 5 years-old? That was unbelievably bad writing, and it is what will kill the show. I just hope the last season won’t be as excruciatingly bad as the last year of Brothers and sisters.

      • Gusar says:

        The ratings for *all* shows on *all* broadcast networks are continuously going down. Look at House on Fox for example, same thing. Singling out Grey’s is not a good argument. It’s especially not a good argument to try to pin it on a specific character – be it Meredith, Calzona or any other.
        Surely you’ve noticed this in the comments: The MerDer are people blaming the ratings decline on too much Calzona, the Calzona people saying the lowest rated ep was the one focused on Meredith, then you’ll have people blaming it on not bringing together Slexie… In a gist: every group of supporters will blame it on stuff they’re not supporters off. Which of course is totally silly.

        Really, the “ratings are down, something is wrong in the writing” argument does not hold. Because as I said at the beginning, *everything* on broadcast is going down. The real reason is elsewhere – the competition from cable channels, who are producing more original content than ever before.

        • berta says:

          Not all tv shows ratings have gone down. NCIS is strong and so is NCIS Los Angeles and The Mentalist, and Glee

  4. Meg says:

    They all sound so………icy!

  5. V says:

    ER – the hot medical show of the 90s/00s carried on without members of its original cast. Noah Wylie left in season 10, I think, and the show evolved which is what good shows do. It’s hard to say at this stage that the show would be a disaster without patrick and ellen, given that, they’ve lost 3 main characters of the original 9.

    • Lime says:

      The difference with ER is that it wasn’t the Dr Carter show – it was about the emergency room at County General and the people that worked there. All real workplaces have changes in personnel, and ER reflected that. Grey’s Anatomy IS the Meredith Grey show, and I think it will fail without her.

      That being said, I haven’t watched it at all this season. It’s become unbearably boring, yet melodramatic for melodrama’s sake.

  6. Sabrina says:

    Shonda can just stop right here. The fans are NOT OK with her creating unnecessary drama for Ellen.

    • Kelsey says:

      I’m a fan, don’t speak for me. Ellen is the one speaking in the article, not Shonda. Ellen is the one trying to create drama. I do agree, it should stop. If Ellen wants to stay on the show then Ellen should be talking to the show and not the media.

      • madworld30 says:

        How is Ellen trying to create drama? She answering question to which she did not know the answer. She can’t say whether she will stay definitely because the question hasn’t been pose to her. She basically said that when she is ask then she will make a decision that is not making drama.

        That said I don’t think Grey’s will last pass season 8. Have any of you seem the ratings? ABC is determine to refresh it line up, so if the rating continue to fall, I don’t think they are going to be to keen in renewing Grey for S9.

      • madworld30 says:

        Also she was responding to what Shonda said on friday interview about making the story lines for S8 the last hurrah for the original characters.

    • enijra says:

      definitely right..i like seeing ellen around SGH together with sandra..if ellen wasn’t there sandra wont survive and vise versa because for me they are the heart of the show. Patrick with ellen and kevin with sandra.

  7. I think she show wouldn’t be the same with Lexie being “the Grey”. The show started out being about Meredith and her friends, and I think that’s how it should end, although I know that somewhere along the way, we lost sight of the main characters due to addition of too many new ones. But trying to move on past Meredith with Lexie wouldn’t feel right anymore. Either ask Ellen to stay, or just end the show on a high note.

  8. me says:

    It’s completely understandable the decisions that Ellen makes as it is her life, with that said however, when she leaves the show, that will also be my series finale. As many have stated before, this show revolves around Meredith too much for it to go on without her…I love Lexie but it would be a completely different show if Lexie was the main character…

  9. TV Gord says:

    Meredith has grated on every last raw nerve I have in my body, so I would, um, be okay with a post-Merky GA! ;-)

    • rob says:

      i thought i was the only one. personally i like Cristina/Owen drama more than MerDer and I know we are not alone

      • enijra says:

        i’m fan of cristina/owen too. i like them more than mer/derek however cristina and mer are twisted sisters so we cant separate them simply because they looks like the WBC and RBC that runs in our body so we cant survive without them.A body without blood was dead and greys anatomy without the twisted sisters were dead too.

  10. Denise says:

    Seems that Ms. Pompeo is intentionally attempting to negotiate her contract out in public. Just for that the show should not renew with her. There’s plenty of talent in the ensemble and many actresses more talented than Pompeo out there.

  11. Demetrius says:

    Grey’s Anatomy is more of an ensemble as opposed to a show centered around one star. I think that the show can survive if Ellen decided to leave and the focus switches to Chyler.

  12. Larc says:

    Meredith and Derek are fast becoming two of the least interesting characters on Grey’s, IMO. A few of the other long timers are getting a bit stale as well. Maybe it’s time for some new storylines centering around newer blood.

    • Jamie says:

      Speak for yourself. I ASSURE you, not every shares your opinion on this one. Not by a long shot.

      • heather says:

        Lol actually… yes. A lot. Have you been on the internet?

        I’m pretty sure most hearts beat for the ‘newer’ characters. I’m not including April and Teddy on this statement though, those characters gots lot of hate.

    • Leena says:

      It’s mostly the Derek and Meredith relationship that has become extremly boring, I think. Or at least that’s the way I feel about it. I would be fine with Ellen/Meredith staying without for another year without Patrick Dempsey/Derek – since Dempsey is more vocal about his plans to leave once is contract has run out. I would really enjoy getting to see Meredith as an independent character and doctor again instead of her being just one half of the stalling Merder saga and Derek’s neuro scrub nurse. Merder hat their time during their early days of the show, but they lost their touch quite some time ago. JMO.

    • Veronica says:

      Meredith and Derek have always been the least-interesting characters on the show. Burke and Christina were possibly the best, most realistic couple in TV history; too bad Isaiah Washington blew that cushy gig. But Mer/Der? Goodbye and good riddance!

  13. xav says:

    The show should just end. I’m not in favour of most shows going past Season 4 because the storylines just get ridiculous and Grey’s Anatomy is a perfect example of that. It’s also ridiculous to expect your actors are going to stay on for so long unless they’re in it for the money and not to be fulfilled.

  14. Amanda says:

    Seems someone is looking for public pity! She herself has been saying for over a year that she was leaving. She even talked about leaving acting all together to go build houses in Italy. Italy can have her. The show is an ensemble and could go on just fine and if needed add an actress who wasn’t running around talking about leaving for 2 years before they go.

    • Kayla says:

      I’m a fan of Ellen Pompeo. Have the original interview from EW when she talked about the possibility of leaving when he contract ends. Ellen has never looked for “pity” and as Shonda Rhimes has said has always been amazing about doing whatever the writers want Meredith to do gratefully and willingly. She has always expressed gratitude to fans, Shonda Rhimes and all involved at Grey’s. She merely responded to a persons question about comments made by Shonda Rhimes. Left it up in the air. It was pity, but it always seems the most negative comments about Ellen seem to be from “those” who try to read anything into her interviews and try to make them into something they are not meant in intent. The show would go on if Ellen, Patrick, Sandra, Justin or anyone else chose to leave. But public pity? LoL You’re making WAY to much out of a question she was asked, and the fact that as the show’s lead, this question has followed her around since season two. I feel sorry for her that this is always asked since this is one actress from the show who has no problems promoting it when asked, nor speaking highly about it and it’s fanbase.

  15. Kate says:

    ellen pompeo deserves more than a show that underuses its leading character. she should leave and do movies because shonda rhimes is a crazy beast. Ellen Pompeo is phenomenally talented and totally wasted on greys which has turned into a mockery and a soap opera. The only way i could see her staying is if she got a HUGE raise AND got storyline input and censure. a producing credit. which shonda rhimes would never give because she’s a powertripping wildabeast.

    • Sarah says:

      Ha! I have never commented on these before but that is hilarious. To me, Ellen is the show and they are losing a dedicated fan if/when she leaves. But that Shonda bit cracked me up, so kudos.

  16. psyisnotcrap says:

    I think the show should end, this show has become ridiculous. I’m having a hard suspending belief this days.

  17. s says:

    Sorry but Chyler (Lexie) can’t carry this show. Lexie is so annoying and I know Lexie/Mark have fans but I don’t think its like MerDer. They already do IA under use Ellen and Patrick both with JC included and I believe that is why millions tuned out ….. They focus too much on useless characters that no one cares about. This show needs to end when Ellen/Patrick leave and if not a year after don’t see it lasting much longer. I just hope they focus on them next year and finally give JC a story.

    • belle says:

      Wow. They focus too much on ‘useless’ charaters that ‘no one cares about’?

      As a Lexie and Mark/Lexie fan, your comment is pretty harsh. There’s lots of us, actually. And I pretty much ship Callie/Arizona and watch for THEM and I side ship Mark and Lexie on the fence and Mer/Der is actually pretty boring as hell and I’ll add in that I don’t give crap about Meredith, considering the fact that she’s the ‘lead’ on the show.

      So yeah, hopefully Meredith and Derek leave already because I never gave a hoot about them. I know I was never alone in thinking that Meredith was one boring as hell character.

  18. Diana says:

    Its no surprise that they didn’t approach actors yet to stay if they have them all under contract for another year. First they need to pick up the actor’s options for season 8, plan out story then go from there. I see that the actress has whining in common with the character she plays. Other than that I don’t see the point of her even bothering to make public comments like these.

  19. jenna says:

    ER was a shell of itself in the last few years, as is CSI. Networks don’t know how to let go with dignity when a popular show’s original cast dramatically changes. Just let it go. Promote a final season, and let the cast and fans move on.

  20. Jenny says:

    She’s been saying for a couple of years that she’s leaving after season 8 so why would the show bother to rush to ask her if she wants to stay? They already know the answer because she’s been talking about it for years.

  21. Mooshki says:

    I doubt Ellen contacted TVline to ask for an interview. Even if she did, talking about the show and getting publicity for it is part of the job. I think she was very diplomatic!

    • psyisnotcrap says:

      I also think she was very diplomatic. What else can she said? Leave me alone I don’t want to answer question.

  22. Sarah says:

    I don’t care if she leaves as long as Patrick Dempsey stays. Meredith can fall in the bay again and go off in the light with Denny for all I care.

    • enijra says:

      LOL..i care about her a little for the sake of cristina because she was her bestfriend and i dont want cristina to be sad again just like what burke’s did and personally it’s really sad to loose your bestfriend.Thanks for owen he made cristina as a person.

  23. An says:

    This show can’t go on without Ellen, or any of the other originals. Grey’s is a show about Meredith’s life, and her relationships and her work life. If they want to ‘continue’ the show, they should give Lexie or Callie and Arizona a spin-off. But trying to go on without the Grey? Impossible

  24. Sara says:

    I don’t think Ellen is trying to create drama or position herself for renegotiating. I don’t think she will stay past s8. I think she feels the character has run its course and I agree. I’m not sure I even want to watch a season 8. I thought this season started with promise, but ended very weakly. There are too many characters and I don’t think the writers are really all that invested anymore. I think the show should end after s8. I guarantee a season 9 will stink and that will be the end of the show. There is no way this show survives with out Ellen, Patrick and Sandra. Do you think Chyler and Sarah Drew can carry this show. Ha. Not a chance.

  25. Lucia says:

    She seems to be much more open now, than she was last year to renewing. But don’t they tend to enter renewal negotiations much later in the year. I mean, the folks from House, just renewed at the end of the season. I think that ABC is probably waiting to see if it will renew the show for Season 9 and then enter into negotiations.

    Come on, it must be difficult to give up a steady job that pays six figures per episode.

  26. lucy says:

    I have never liked Meredith, so I don’t really care if she stays or goes. I don’t think there actually has to be a person named Grey to have the show…”Grey’s Anatomy” is also the title of a medical textbook, so it would still be a good name for a medical drama.

  27. Jill says:

    There is no way Lexie could carry this show. I wish the show would focus on the originals, but there are too many cast members and it seems like Shonda Rhimes wants to add every stray dog that comes her way. I found this season really lacking. I think ratings next year will start around 9-10 million and then be in the 7-8 million tops. They are losing ground, even in the all important demo. I hope Ellen leaves.

  28. Shauna says:

    Lexie is way too weak a character to carry this show. There is virtually nothing that can distinguish her from April. I guess that is one of the reasons they decided to dye April’s hair red this season so they won’t both have brown hair. They both stutter and seem nervous all of the time.

    Even if Patrick (who does have a booming movie career) and Ellen decide this is it for them, I do hope that Sandra stays.

    • enijra says:

      sandra and kevin are great. take away the others but not cristina and owen..a very nice couple that gave us all the rush and suspense. They are really the trauma and cardio god.

  29. Jim says:

    I think that Ellen has run her course at Grey’s, and I’m sure she doesn’t have to work another day in her life. That being said, she might want to look at Katherine Heigl and Patrick Dempsey’s less than success on the big screen and take a few cues from their feature forays.

    Personally I would love to see Sandra Oh get her own series as Cristina Yang. She’s proven herself to be a gifted dramatic and comedic actress and she’s just wonderful to watch. The same can be said about Chandra Wilson as Bailey who was grossly overlooked at Emmy time last year. Her work on last season’s finale was unbelievable. I can watch her reading the phone book. Don’t tell Brian Frons that, though, or he’ll try to give her a spot on ABC daytime.

    The male actors on Grey’s are pretty much interchangeable except for James Pickens.

    • Mark says:

      Both Sandra Oh and Patrick Dempsey have also been asked if they are leaving and Dempsey in particular, has several interviews where he has expressed the same thoughts about leaving as Pompeo has in the past couple of years. Sandra too has weighed in about the possibility of going. I doubt though I love Sandra Oh, I want Cristina Yang’s story to go on forever either. I think Sandra is too fantastic to do some spin off of Yang. She’s got way better to do in her future once GA ends than to continue the same character for even more years and fans should want her to do more. 3 of the majors have talked about leaving. Nothign has been set in stone. Wish people could just wait and see until the time of the actors renewal happens and then make comments because at this point it’s kinda a useless topic really.

  30. David says:

    I think that is the problem with the title of the show! ER was able to go on because the show was about the ER not focused on a particular doctor. I don’t think Lexie is strong enough to carry the main part – even though I do really like her character. I think what has changed so much is how the originals morphed into full blown doctors from interns. That’s what they need to go back to – trying to introduce another group of newbies to tell different stories about. Not saying they should just rehash the old ones but they should start to introduce new characters. I still love the show but after the merger with Mercy West I think that some of those characters that came along with it weren’t really that enjoyable and didn’t have the same chemistry as the originals.

    • Gretchen says:

      I agree with introducing newbies! The original cast will largely be in the last years of their residency and in a teaching role which should be a focus, along with the new interns experiences being taught by them.

  31. teniba says:

    there is no drama, it’s a diplomatic game of negociations that is starting very early… it’s not drama!

  32. Anna says:

    I don’t think it matters if Lexie can or cannot carry the show. Meredith doesn’t in any way other than have the last name that it in the title and the voice over. The voice over could certainly rotate around to whichever character has prominent story in the episode. They could utilize the characters there or add someone new. Meredith is played out anyway. What else could they even do with her past season 8? Let her go and see what happens.

    • Mary says:

      Shonda Rhimes has said numerous times including an in depth interview with NPR that Meredith was the first character she created and did the show to mirror the fact that if you went back 30 years you would see Ellis living a semi paralleled life as to the doctors there. She has alwso said the story is bout Meredith’s world and the people who surround it. This is much more than the name “Grey’ If so, they’d try to attach more meaning into Lexie than some doey eyed “semi” sister with no real connection to anyone in the hospital (ESPECIALLY Meredith) who’s primary goal is to cry and stalk some guy way to old to watch without feeling skeevy.

  33. lei says:

    I really don’t think that just beacuse the name Grey is on Lexie, she can carry the show, or should. Grey’s anatomy is an ensamble cast show, there’re too many characters, but I believe if Ellen Pompeo were to leave, the show’s next heir in line would be Sandra Oh. Cristina is the second most important character in Grey’s Anatomy.

    That said, I wouldn’t be happy with the change. I know it’s not the same, but for me OTH ended when CMM left the show, I tried to watch a few episodes of the last seasons and even tough who carries the show now was a big part of it back then, it’s not the same.

    I usually hate when TV shows end, and if it were up to me, they’d last forever, but in this case and every other show when the main character leaves, i rather have the show end.

  34. Joann says:

    She just wants ABC to beg her to stay and pay her more. Doubt they will just like FOX didn’t give Lisa E more money.

    • lei says:

      Lisa Eldstein isn’t the star of the show, Hugh Laurie is. There’s a big difference between her and Ellen Pompeo.

    • kimberly says:

      “She just wants ABC to beg her to stay and pay her more.” Glad to know you are a representative for Ellen Pompeo and ABC to tell us all what she and they want. That’s the bad thing about the internet. Folks who have zero knowledge into the situation weighing in on what both people and networks want as if they are experts on it. That comment was without any insight of what is going on behind the scenes and is just silly period.

  35. Jenn says:

    I hope Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey can work out a contract extension with Shonda Rhimes and ABC to continue playing Meredith and Derek because without them, there is no “Grey’s Anatomy” as far as I am concerned. Those two characters together make the show what it is and it will not survive without them, I certainly will never watch it again after season 8 if they leave….if that comes to fruition then season 8 will be my series finale!

    Chyler Leigh is a wonderful actress and I like the character of Lexie in a supporting role but Lexie is not Meredith and the character of Lexie will not sustain the show in the absence of Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey! I think the ratings this season have proven this point as Shonda Rhimes has attempted to create major soap opera-like storylines around other characters on the show this season in an attempt to give them screen time and tell stories about their characters. As fans of the show, we are not interested in it at all and the ratings reflect that!

    We don’t want to see stories about Callie, Mark, and Arizona or Teddy and Henry….or Teddy and Andrew Perkins! We want to see stories built around Meredith and Derek…they are the fan favorites…the sole reason many fans…myself included….watch the show at all! We want to see stories about Cristina…Alex…and to some degree even Richard and Bailey!

    Shonda Rhimes has FAILED MISERABLY in telling the stories of the characters and couples that fans want to see and watch and that is the real issue here! THAT is why ratings have gone through the floor this season. Shonda promised fans back in season 4 that the characters of Meredith and Derek would be together forever and then she goes and creates this contrived and completely unrealistic storyline this season with Meredith switching the placebo for the active agent in the clinical trial just so she can leave fans with a juicy season finale cliffhanger of “are they or are they not” together.

    What part of “the fans do not want to see this again” did she not understand the first time????? This has been done before. The fans AND the actors involved in said storyline are sick of it! Shonda has to gives Ellen and Patrick reasons to want to stay and recycling storylines and providing fans with the same old, tired cliffhangers, is not the way to do it! Between the promos put out by ABC and the spoilers on the internet, most fans called that season 7 finale before it even aired. We did not want to see that happen with the characters, we did not agree with it, so of course we did not watch it. It was a waste of time! She needs to write good quality storylines about a married couple without always trying to break them up or cause friction in their relationship. You can write good drama for a married couple without all of that mess. Shonda just needs to de-clutter her cast(because there are way too many people on the show) and she needs to put more effort into writing new and fresh storylines for the characters.

    Give Ellen and Patrick a storyline about something that real, committed, married couples go through and that involves plenty enough drama to make people want to watch every week. For example, The infertility storyline and the adoption storyline are both great storylines but you have to stay the course and not veer away from what the storyline is really about and Shonda has done that with this storyline. You cannot rush it and you cannot change the focus of the story. The potential is there, it just needs to be put into action. I really think that is the key to getting them to agree to stay on the show and extend their contracts. It is not about the money to them so I do not see them staying just because they got a bunch of money thrown at them. Give them control over their storylines. Make them executive producers, and allow them to do at least some of the things they want to do, outside of the show(Ellen in movies, Patrick and his racing).

    Maybe it is time to give an end date to the show….for the sake of Ellen and Patrick AND the fans of the show! Not that the show will necessarily end after season 8 or even for a couple more years. However, if they can say the show will definitely end after season 9 or season 10 then I think Ellen and Patrick may be willing to stay for that long if they know their storylines will be of good quality and their storyline can then be wrapped up with the rest of the show! This way they can at least plan their post-Grey’s future.

    I hope Ellen and Patrick both stay after season 8. I would love to see them stay. If they do not, I hope ABC cancels “Grey’s Anatomy” because without them I do not see anything worth watching and the show will have officially went on for too long.

    • jr says:

      Exactly my feelings as well. Shonda Rhimes has done everything to bring this show down. Poor Patrick and Ellen had to act these ridiculous story lines when given, which ended in one or two minutes of airtime. And yet she exploited them with spoilers to get the fans watching and then they had very little air time. The fans have rejected this and felt exploited. I could give numerous examples, i.e. the miscarriage, Derek stepping down from Chief. These could all have been great storylines if written better. It wasn’t the acting, it was the writing and editing. And then she wonders if they will stay after Season 8?? Give them a reason to stay. They have both been very loyal to the show and their castmates. They deserved better. I too will be gone when they leave the show as many others who are die-hard fans of Grey’s have become. We were addicted to this show and SR just ruined it.

    • Captian says:

      I too agree that Lexie is a wonderful supporting character but I don’t think if she was the “lead” she would have to carry the show anyway. It’s an ensemble show that’s divided into many different relationships. Lexie’s relationship with Mark may steal a bit more focus but the show wouldn’t center on her.

    • Belinda says:

      Agree, Ellen, Patrick and IMHO Sandra are the hearts of this show and should all or any of them leave I’m done.

    • Rhonda says:

      Ditto everything you said, Jenn!

  36. anonymouss says:

    I agree that Grey’s Anatomy isn’t all about MerDer, but it started that way and, if it has to, it should end that way. Grey’s Anatomy without them is a ridiculous idea I think (even when they might not be the most interesting characters in some people’s opinions).

    Grey’s Anatomy should go out with a bang and not with some stupid season 1000 that lost half its viewers because the main characters are gone. We’ve lost so many of the original interns. With possibly Meredith gone, the only two left are Alex and Cristina. I am a huge fan of this show but I really really really think it should end when MerDer leaves.

  37. Nyles says:

    I love all the season one characters, but the show, as many shows can survive as each one leaves. I have heard both Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey talk numerous times of leaving when their contracts end and that’s okay. They have been loyal to the show, shown much gratitude to fans for it and did not break their contracts early. Both have said they want quality SLs for the show and are very supportive of the supporting cast. Sandra Oh too, has talked of leaving. As more of the season one characters leave as a whole, the less I want to watch the show, but I will remain. However, I have no interest nor want to watch Lexie’s Anatomy. Don’t hate this character. I like Chyler Leigh. I simply don’t care about Lexie and to see Shonda Rhimes somehow do an about fact and take the character who’s had a great life, daddy never left her and showed up to her grade school parties and then somehow try to make this girl with no background of any depth into a woman who all of a sudden carries some like Mer, Cris, Iz, and Addison have done before her, will be made up solely for the purpose of moving the show forward and based in almost nothing since we already know Lexie’s background. Her mother dies (not in Lex’s childhood-recently, but very much loved her), the dad (Mer’s deadbeat father) only started drinking after and it’s Mer in depth story with him, Richard, and Ellis plus the transplant for him that pulled all those stories forward both in the past and in futures because Lexie’s “daddy’s little girl” storyline has no connection to the Chief and barely any with her father I could even care about. Sorry, but that’s not a lead. Let Justin Chambers do it. He wants to stay with the gig and Alex is FAR more interesting than Lexie could ever dream of being as a character with depth and a long term background with the GA.

  38. Rosa says:

    The show can go on without Pompeo if the want it to even if her character’s name is in the title. Some may consider her the star because of that but in terms of storytelling there is no one star on Grey’s. The storyline is split among all the characters.

    • Molly says:

      I don’t think there’s ever been a time when Ellen Pompeo has refereed to herself as the star or even the lead of this show. That’s media created. Ellen however, has been quick to praise the cast as she did again in a set of recent promotional appearance for Grey’s. Think the show could survive without her, Patrick, Sandra etc, but I feel sorry for Pompeo in particular who cant’ even seem to step outside without always getting asked if she is staying. she’s graceful about it at least. I personally find the question pointless. We’ll know when we know. When both Pompeo, Dempsey, and other cast members contracts end, if ABC asks them back, and they make their definitive choices. Until then, it really doens’t mean much. to even speculate.

      • Rosa says:

        I was talking about her being the star because of comments here calling her the star and not because of anything Ellen said.

        • Molly says:

          Sorry, wasn’t an attack to what you said or a correction, just continued on from what you said and my thoughts on why others are making a big deal over it. Probably should have started my own post there and not left it as a reply. Not intended to correct you or anything you said at all-just adding more :)

  39. Krissy says:

    She’ll either stay or go, I am not worrying about it since its over a year away anyway. If she goes there are all the other characters there that I watch the show for too. If she stays then that’s fine too.

  40. Bee says:

    she and all the other originals, i would guess, will be asked when the time comes. season 8 and its ratings haven’t even begun yet. the ladies of desperate housewives were in negotiations sometime during these past few months for the upcoming season. they won’t cut out the originals on purpose. but i have to say, i feel like they brought in all these new characters because they were preparing for a mer/der-less show soon. i used to think lexie couldn’t lead the show, but they’ve made the character much stronger this season and last. and if they continue to do so, then she can definitely lead the show if we must lose mer.

  41. fan says:

    LOL at people saying Lexie is a ‘weak’ character. Of COURSE she’d be a weak character, they give her no plotlines whatsoever and virtually if she does, the writers always manage to plummet or regress her.

    Lexie is one of those characters who they focus on less on and SHOULD focus on more. Girl is hilarious at those chops and she’s good with the drama (if given). I’d watch her on the show lead on, but I doubt she’ll even sign on now after Season 8 too.

  42. Barbara says:

    Would be ok with me. I like Lexie. They could re-introduce Molly too and have as an intern. Keep it all in the family!!

    I agree with Ellen, I think her stories are winding down; but, I sure am curious out the marriage and kid part that ended this season; like WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NOW? And what’s up with Sandra Oh’s character.

  43. Captain says:

    I don’t think if Lexie actually would take on the lead role of the series, despite her last name, Christina and Owen seem like more logical choices but I’d love for her to be the lead. Lexie is my favourite character on the show and the only reason I continued watching when Izzie left. I think Lexie/Mark would be a great core couple for the show but as I said, Christina/Owen have been the B couple on Grey’s for a few years now, it seems more likely they’d take over as the show’s center. I don’t think the show is done once MerDer leave. ER survived many casting changes and the show went on just fine. It’s a doctor show with new characters being added every year, they’ve lost pivotal characters in the past and continued and I think it will keep going with out Ellen and Patrick. Then again, they were never that important to me anyway.

  44. leslie says:

    Falsest statement ever I’m laughing at it already.

    Seriously? You can’t distinguish April and Lexie?
    .. get some new eyeballs.

    And Lexie is definitely what you can consider as weakly developed character because the writers don’t even bother to give her a legit storyline. She’s good when she gets the rare chance to actually have one. 7×14 is 7×16 are pretty good examples.

    Bottomline is, Lexie Grey is actually that character that I actually WANT to see dwelved deeper more into.

  45. Michael says:

    There’s like 5 quickly made comments about Lexie being an under developed character and great. All sounding about the same and all made within minutes. Uhm…yeah okay. We get it. You are a Lexie fan. Again, it’s not an issue until we see what actors stay or go after season 8. Until then, when we see if Dempsey, Oh, Pompeo stay or go, whether Lexie leads or not is not really an issue. GA is still an ensemble cast, and the question asked to Ellen initially doesn’t mean much until we see for sure what happens with the cast members who have been around since the start of Grey’s Anatomy and what the network and they decided to do.

  46. Jenna says:

    Once Ellen and Patrick leave the show may last one more season if that. I also agree losing Ellen and Patrick is the last nail in the coffin for GA. Lexie hasn’t been given a good storyline because they have too many characters. Hell some eppys I’m left wondering where Derek is the entire eppy. Too many characters have ruined this show. Concentrate on the originals and they may just get their ratings up. Give your golden couple ample screen time and you will see an increase in your ratings!

  47. my two cents says:

    Lol does it even matter? The show sucks. Yes, its an ensemble, yes, I also don’t care honestly if Ellen Pompeo leaves or not (because I only watch for Mark/Lexie/Callie/Arizona or CALM or whatever) but this show can’t continue on. It shouldn’t. Shonda has butchered these characters for me and I can’t go on anymore with her mind games and torturing the fans that she loves to torture so much.

    There are way too many characters on this show. Taking out Meredith and Derek (whom i never even liked, to be honest) should just mean they should end all the couples happily and end it right there to satisfy the fans. Shonda can stop it already.

  48. Still a fan says:

    I am still a fan of the show and would happily watch even if a character or two left (any of them). I like the whole cast and I like the whole show. People who watch only for one character would stop watching when that actor left but I think all the fans that like the whole show would stick around.

  49. hayley says:

    Aw I love Chyler Leigh and while I agree with the comments that it truly is a shame that she hasn’t been one of the characters that the show has decided to focus on more (she is a Grey right?) – or at least have given her a part during the Callie/Arizona show the entire Season 7, I hope she doesn’t agree to sign on after Season 8. She deserves far more better than continuing a show that has seriously lessened in quality over the years.

    But again, I love Lexie and Chyler and she deserves to be doing other things that’s not related to Grey’s any longer. She’s hilarious.

  50. Neely says:

    It doesn’t matter. Wish Matt would have asked questions about the finale rather than this useless question which doesn’t mean much until the end of season eight anyway. I agree with tome. Cast bloat could be chopped until then. Just too many cast members. It’s time for the show to end, but for ABC who has not had many well rated shows, this one is still up at the top (for them at least) so sadly, they will probably drag it on. There are story’s I could simply don’t care about (CAM being one of them, and still not sure what purpose Jackson is serving), but I don’t think if this show gets roughly 9 million + weekly, ABC will let it go unti they find some programming that gives them better ratings than the network has had in the past few years. GA is in the top 3 for ABC, so qulaity lacking or not, it probably won’t go anywhere anytime soon.