Patrick Dempsey on New TV Gig, Grey's Anatomy's 'Remarkable' 200th Episode, Season 11 Contract Talks: 'It Would Be a Shame to End This'

2013 Summer TCA Tour - Day 2It’s decision time for Patrick Dempsey.

As he approaches the decade mark with Grey’s Anatomy, Dempsey must soon decide whether he wants to continue playing Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd beyond the ABC hit’s upcoming 10th season or hang up his scrubs and pursue his true passion — racing — full time.

In the following Q&A, Dempsey offers an update on his current contract talks, reveals how (and when) he found out that co-star Sandra Oh was leaving, teases the show’s landmark 200th episode, and previews his other TV gig — the four-part Velocity docu-series Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans (premiering Wednesday at 10/9c).

RELATED | Grey’s Anatomy Boss Shonda Rhimes on Possible Exits of Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey

TVLINE | What do you think your fans will be most surprised to learn while watching Racing Le Mans.
We don’t hide anything. We’re very open about the triumphs and we’re very clear about the mistakes. It shows the journey and the learning process. And it will hopefully bring some awareness to the history of racing in this country, and the importance of what Le Mans represents for endurance racing.

TVLINE | How involved in the editing were you?
Very involved. It’s hard to keep any kind of objectivity though. I don’t particularly enjoy the process because it’s me. There’s nothing to hide behind, other than the racing. But we have good discussions about what’s really right for telling this story and what the honest approach is.

148008293RD001_AMERICAN_LEM TVLINE | What are some common misconceptions about racing and, in particular, racers?
I don’t think people quite understand road racing in this country. Oval racing and NASCAR have overwhelmed it. But road racing was a very big part of this country [starting] after World War II. People don’t really understand the depth of the history of road racing, and the kind of commitment and focus and luck and passion it takes to be able to win a race.

TVLINE | Would you at some point like to pursue racing full time?
I would love to. It depends on sponsorships. It depends on not being on a show. It’s kind of amazing, the [commitment] level I have right now with the amount of responsibility I have with the show and everything else.

TVLINE | Is creating a little more flexibility in your Grey’s schedule important to you as you consider signing on for Season 11?
Everything is open to a conversation at this point. Grey’s has been such a remarkable ride. Shonda [Rhimes] has been incredibly supportive. I enjoy Grey’s more than ever in many ways. Our relationships have grown considerably. We’ve all matured over the last 10 years. So it would be a shame to end this.

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greysTVLINE | What is the current state of your negotiations?
We’re talking. We’ll see what happens.

TVLINE | What was your reaction when you heard Sandra was leaving?
We found out right at the end of the table read for the 200th episode. She took the cast aside individually and said, “I’m going to leave the show.” With any member of the show, especially the original cast, it’s always sad to see someone leave.

TVLINE | How was the table read for Episode 200?
It was a blast. Everybody was really celebrating the achievement. There was openness and a joy in the entire room. It was a remarkable day.

TVLINE | Any teases about the episode?
We’re not allowed to talk about it. You know Shonda! [Laughs]

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36 Comments
  1. Patrick says:

    I love how he has changed his tune from seeming like he is ready to leave to now being open to more seasons.

    Now that Sandra is leaving, ABC will throw money at McDreamy and Meredith to ensure at least 2-3 more seasons of a cash cow.

  2. Sidney B. says:

    I lost all respect for Sandra, because she has obviously none for her fans,quitting the show just like that , she’s has doomed Cristina’s character and destroyed Crowen.
    Couldn’t she wait for a cancellation .
    Ungrateful egoistical actors.NEVER AGAIN

    • Caitlin says:

      WHAT? You’re really gonna take offense with someone wanting to pursue other avenues when they’ve played the same character for 10 years? Do you understand how much of a commitment a full time drama series is? It definitely affects what outside projects you can pursue. I cannot blame her for wanting to be able to stretch her acting chops. She was classy in giving everyone ample time to prepare a proper exit for her character.

    • Daniel says:

      It’s not egotistical. She has been on the show for 10 seasons, and has already renewed her contract once. If she wants to move on to new things, that’s entirely her prerogative. In all the interviews I have seen, she has been nothing but extremely gracious and grateful for all of the fans. Plus, I don’t think Crowen were on track to stay together anyway….

    • Ashleah Youn says:

      Seriously? She’s had this job for 10 years. She wants to move on to another job. She’s given her notice. This is no different than if someone who worked for 10 years at Amazon wants to put in their notice and take a different job.

    • Goku says:

      It’s not like Katherine Heigl who didn’t show up in work one day. I think announcing this decision almost a year before leaving is really respectful to fans.

    • Sara says:

      Wow @ this comment & the death threats Anna Gunn received. I’m the biggest TV addict there is, but you have to learn to differentiate fact from fiction. Would you tell a friend that grew tired of their job to stick with it till the company collapses?

    • tiffany says:

      I applaused her a least we know it’s not about the money. That brave. Wish the other two would man up and be brave her. It time the show to go. It going downhill. Need to end it on a high note.

    • Jackie says:

      Agree completely

    • JON says:

      She should have left years ago. Shonda Rimes has not even given enough good material to warrant an Emmy nomination in the last 5 years. She is an Oscar nominee. She brought a pedigree to the show that noone else did. She stayed for 10 years ang gave warning so she can be written out with a satisfying ending.

    • Julie Johnston says:

      OMG a bit over the top dont you think

  3. Sara says:

    Hope Patrick stays for more. Not ready to say bye to MerDer yet.. I don’t know where I’ll be ready though lol. ABC are not stupid to let go of the one who gets the most buzz and the face of Grey’s Anatomy along with Ellen. So more money and more time to race.

  4. Eric7740 says:

    It will be difficult to watch Greys without Sandra, I will give it a try without her (unless they decide year 10 should be it). But if Patrick and/or Ellen leave, I’m done!!!

  5. Tia says:

    Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey are the reason I still watch Grey’s Anatomy. When they’re out, I’m out.

  6. tamy says:

    he stays just for money for his racing thing!
    I was alredy done with grey’s but without sandra i’t will be definitely not the same

    • Liz says:

      Yeah, just like Ellen, it’s sad… But then again, he says he appreciates it more this year, so maybe the writing is better, who knows?

  7. Dizzle says:

    I would probably still watch Grey’s even if McDreamy and Meredith bowed out too, as (aside from Cristina) my favourite characters would still be there (assuming Alex and Bailey don’t jump ship too!). But it would also make sense for ABC and Shonda to let the show end when Derek and Meredith left, as it’s a natural endpoint.

  8. tahina says:

    Ok guys, when are you going to interview Sara and Jessica together. Pleeeeeease! :)

  9. Jessica says:

    Great Patrick Dempsey interview, thanks TVline. I hope we’ll hear more on the contract negotiations soon.
    Is there any chance for an interview with Ellen Pompeo? Thanks. :)

  10. Jen says:

    all i can say is how is shonda going to kill her? LOL

  11. tega says:

    Well at least he did not say he was leaving,that means he might still be on.yay

  12. Dani says:

    I hope Patrick signs another contract. His opinion seems to have really shifted. Two years ago he seemed ready to leave. Now it seems he’s back to love what he’s doing.
    And while Shonda believes that GREY’S could go on without any of the original cast members, I doubt that the show would survive long if Ellen and Patrick decided to leave. Chandra is also very important to the show. Shonda should work on keeping at least these three on as long as possible. Maybe for another two years. And then maybe it’s time to think about ending GREY’S. Anyway, great interview. Thanks Michael!

  13. Julie says:

    Christina’s my favorite character I hated when George and Izzy left was really hard to get used to new people im done

  14. sade says:

    I know that the character are changing probaly for the better so you can’t just get mad and stop watching because than the show will go off for good and that not fair for the people who wants the show to go on.

  15. Hana says:

    Love that the group has became tight over the years. And it really shows in the characters as well, you can see how well they love the show and the characters they play. Possibly more than the first few years of the show. Btw support Sandra and any other the original cast at this stage if decided to leave. It’s hard to remain on a show more than ten yrs and eventually all of the originals will probably leave. We be missed! And there is always room to come back if the show remains going

  16. Sheryl says:

    Grey’s Anatomy is my favorite show of all times & I would love for it to go on forever, but I know that’s not possible! I just know I will cry like a baby when it does eventually go off the air!! But in the meantime I will just appreciate my weekly fix of Grey’s Anatomy & enjoy any reruns I see!! I also loved watching Patrick Dempsey in Race to LeMans…he was so brutally honest about his wins & losses!! But I really hope he continues to be our Dr. McDreamy!! It was hard to loose Lexi & Mark & now Christina so I don’t want to see anyone else go!!
    Forever a Grey’s fan!!

  17. Hannaobi says:

    Am really sad….That christina is leaving,well show must go on.

  18. Linda Teel says:

    It’s been on the air for 10 years now, I think that’s long enough for one series. it’s time to get on with something new. I have seen enough operating rooms to last me a lifetime

  19. larastrauss says:

    Please DONT END nor LEAVE, I beg you! I can’t stop crying. Greys please DONT END. You are all amazing. GREYS has still much potential to go in many directions of the show than to end . Please :'( :'( :-(

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