As anyone well versed in the teachings of Shonda Rhimes knows, the Grey’s Anatomy/Private Practice boss maps out each season of her shows in reverse: First she establishes the finale’s endgame and then works backwards to the premiere.
Unfortunately, with the contracts of several core Grey’s castmembers (Patrick Dempsey, Ellen Pompeo, Sandra Oh, Justin Chambers, included) set to expire in May, the Empress of Shondaland is breaking with tradition for the first time.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do at the end of the season yet,” Rhimes confesses to TVLine. “Until we know [who’s coming back], we just don’t know [how the season will conclude]. So we’re taking it in a different way.”
That means treating Season 8 almost like it’s two separate seasons. “We’re looking at it in segments,” she explains. “We’re planning the first half of the season [now] and then I’ll plan the second half of the season when I know more stuff.”
Regardless of what happens, Rhimes is certain Seattle Grace’s doors will remain open for a ninth season. The exec is having a tougher time predicting which longtime physicians will once again be walking its halls though. “I have no idea,” she hedges. “That’s not my job.”
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