Grey's Anatomy Scoop: Shonda Rhimes Teases Season 11 Time Jump, Theme — 'It's a [Spoiler]-Centric Season'

ELLEN POMPEO

Grey’s Anatomy will turn its clocks ahead when Season 11 launches this September, but how much time will have passed since the events of May’s finale?

“About 24 hours… maybe,” series creator Shonda Rhimes cagily tells TVLine.

RELATED Grey’s Anatomy End Date Update: Will Season 11 Be the Show’s Last? 

The limited time jump all but confirms that Meredith will still be reeling from the loss of BFF Cristina, and, potentially, D.C.-bound husband Derek. It also perfectly tees up the theme of the season.

“Right now, if you were in the writers’ room, you would probably tell me that the theme is ‘Meredith,'” Rhimes shares. “Because all I keep saying is, ‘The show is just about Meredith Grey!’

“It’s really a Meredith-centric season,” the EP continues. “She’s lost her ‘person,’ her [half-]sister has shown up, her husband is chafing to go someplace else…”

RELATED Grey’s Anatomy Promotes [Spoiler] to Series Regular

Speaking of Mer’s new secret sibling, Rhimes says the reveal that cardiothoracic surgery boss Maggie is the child of Richard and Ellis “will be influenced by what Meredith went through with Lexie,” her other (ill-fated) half-sis.

Rhimes reveals that this familial grenade is one she’s been wanting to pull the pin on “forever.” And then, about a month before the Season 10 finale, Rhimes says she told the writers, “‘Annnnd... we’re there,’ and they all [cheered]. So it’s pretty exciting.”

Grey’s Anatomy Season 11 launches Thursday, Sept. 25, at 8/7c.

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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82 Comments
  1. klynn1075 says:

    Michael and Matt, has Shonda explained why she decided to give Meredith another half sibling? It is an interesting storyline since it involves Richard as well but since she already went there with Lexie, why go there again?

    • Alichat says:

      Or, why not bring back the other half sister whom we never hear about anymore??? Did we need a third?

      • heresyoursign says:

        Well she’s dead… so…

        • Tracy says:

          Lexie died but Molly is still alive as far as we know.

        • jayne says:

          Lexie had a full sister. No idea what her name is and too lazy to google right now. I think she had a baby at the hospital =/

          • Molly She had a baby and she went with her husbant to Irak ı believe, ı m totally agree with people who say do we really need another sibiling

          • Julie says:

            Highly doubt she actually went with her husband to IraQ but I do believe he was in the military and they were stationed somewhere not near Seattle. I don’t think we’ve heard about her in years. I definitely had the “another half sister” reaction but it’s not out of the realm of possibility that with Ellis and Thatcher having affairs / second relationships there wouldn’t have been other children on both sides.

      • Molly and Lexie represented something entirely different to Meredith especially after she knew why her father left(and the abuse and heartbreak her mother caused him). This new half-sibling is part of a great betrayal, one that blew up her family and her life. A minefield of territory to explore.

        • Anonymous22 says:

          You can’t keep just adding new characters in order to make this story interesting. Look what happened with all of the interns who were just dumped because the fans hated them. Jo will be going soon. Her character has no chemistry with Alex at all. He looks uncomfortable around her as if he’s pushing her away…physically…every time he’s forced to make out with her. But Mer’s Mother was pregnant???? How are they going to take into account that Meredith never knew it? Shonda keeps pushing the envelope of ridiculousness and fans are dropping like flies. This show is a mere shadow of what it was when it first aired. I miss the good old Grey’s. We now know SR’s rhetoric. Create a great concept and then proceed to tear it apart on a whim.

          • Brandon Conrad says:

            I took that into account, too. However, I think her half sister is going to be older than Mer. It’s the only way to explain how should “wouldn’t” know about the pregnancy.

          • Brandon Conrad says:

            It’s the only way to explain how SHE “wouldn’t” know about the pregnancy.

          • Debra Stewart says:

            agree. Don’t care for new sister . Didn’t jump off as right choice. Right about forcing issue and timeline in MG’s life

        • Kelly says:

          I agree that sometimes there are too many new characters but this sister being the product of Richard and Ellis’ affair and not a second marriage will be interesting to watch. Plus, her father never even knew about her and her mother rejected her.

          This was probably the time that Ellis asked Richard to leave Adele while Meredith rode the carousel. The Grey’s moved after that. Still, it’s hard to imagine that Thatcher and Meredith never noticed Ellis’ pregnancy. I guess we’ll find all that out soon.

    • I don’t know why it’s being framed so much as ‘another half-sister for Meredith,’ which is done over, as it is SO much more compelling to look at the new sister as Richard’s daughter. I sincerely hope, but don’t know for sure, that Shonda is doing this because of Richard.

    • izzspring says:

      I agree. Why bring another person into the mix, who no one knows, completely new and Mer’s other half sister. Why not just bring back Molly? I think the viewers would be more…forgiving(?) if it was Molly, than a new girl who we’ve never heard of. We all loved Lexie, bringing a new person in is just…so new, it opens the wounds of Lexie’s passing. If Molly was to come into the picture, at least we’d still have have a piece of Lexie and not this new girl.

      • Jersey Jeff says:

        If Molly were brought back, it brings nothing to the dramatic table. This isn’t merely another daughter her dad had with his 2nd wife, it’s the daughter of Meredith’s mom, and Richard, whom she cheated with, who eventually served as Meredith’s surrogate dad.

      • Debra Stewart says:

        great idea!

  2. JJM says:

    For once I don’t believe Shonda is lying about the new half-sister. I’ve been expecting it from at least season 3.
    Still, I’m just hoping Meredith won’t be as hostile towards Maggie as she was Lexie at first. I think there could be real potential for change there. Saying that, Shonda get off your ass and reintroduce Molly. You know, the other half-sister Meredith knew before Lexie…

    • Nene says:

      I strongly agree with you that Shonda Rhimes had this story on back opt for years….. I thought that Jackson was going to be Richards and Ellis son when he first came on the show…. So I was not surprised at all that Meredith have another sister…. My only hope that it don’t take them almost 3 years connect as sisters…. Because that’s how long it took for Meredith and Lexie to form a good relationship…. season 4-6 is a bit long….

      • bluefairy says:

        It may have been almost 3 years for us, but in the show’s timeline, seasons 4 and 5 were 1 year (Lexie’s intern year) and halfway through season 5 Lexie was already moving in with Meredith and by the time season 6 began they were very close. So it basically only took them a few months to break the ice and bond.

      • twilight123 says:

        Fun Fact: According to Grey’s lore, they originally found Jesse Williams in a casting call for what was originally going to be the Ellis/Richard love child. But Shonda decided it was still too soon to introduce that character, so they developed the Avery storyline instead.

  3. joao says:

    Yay! I feel like Mer has been put aside for these past few seasons… It’s time to put the spotlight over her head again bc yes, this is her show lol (and now they’re running out of people to focus on so)

  4. Cdeno says:

    Grey’s Anatomy has always mainly been about Meredith, but this interview makes it sound like the other 12 series regulars ( other than, Meredith, Derek, and Richard) don’t matter at all. When season 10 ended there were a few big storylines left to be explored.

    And I’m sorry I don’t believe Shonda about having this other half sister storyline on the back burner for years.

  5. victor says:

    Grey’s Anatomy is my favorite show. I love these characters and everything about it but it need do end!! Richard’ lost child? seriously?

  6. Dani says:

    I’m happy about the sister-storyline but I hope they really do something different than they did with Lexie. We’ve been there and done that. I hope that Shonda knows that too.
    Part of me thinks that she might regret killing off Lexie and now tries to use Richard and Ellis’ child to bring back that part of the show.
    I really hope that we see more of Amelia and Meredith. I enjoyed their scenes together last season. And we all know that Meredith needs someone to talk to now that Cristina is gone.
    Even though Cristina will be terribly missed I’m looking forward to this season.

    • Ally Oop says:

      I guess a lot will depend on whether or not fans embrace the actress who plays Mer’s half-sis. Many fans really loved Lexie (she had actually become my favourite character by the time she died) and this does seem like an attempt by Shonda to replace the dynamics the show had with Lexie. I still haven’t forgiven the show for killing off Lexie–to me it seemed so ridiculously unnecessary to kill off both Mark and Lexie–that whole plane crash storyline was so ridiculous it made the deaths seem ridiculous too–but I’ve finally gotten to like the show again after all this time and now it seems maybe too convenient to give Meredith another sister. Time will tell if the new sister gels on the show. First impression wasn’t great–she didn’t seem to have much of an it factor so I’ll withhold judgement until we see a few episodes.

      • Julie says:

        I loved Lexie too and was pissed when she died and she and Mark were my favorite couple after Mer and Derek. I hope they don’t rehash the Mer and Lexie storyline again. Maybe she’ll make an effort with this one now that she’s lost Lexie. I haven’t been as invested in the post-plane crash story lines. And with Christina gone too this season is going to be really strange. I’m hoping there’s still something that keeps is interested!

  7. a meredith-centric season is the worst possible outcome…..

    • Lily says:

      False. It is GREYS Anatomy. Should always and forever be about Mer.

    • FaRaz says:

      Grey’s anatomy is about Meredith frikkin grey! Always awesome when she gets a good individual storyline

    • trainwreck says:

      One of my favorite episodes happens to be the Golden Hour from season 7, which was entirely about Meredith Grey.. in fact all the best ones are about her being the main focus, so I am uber excited for S11

      • Julie says:

        Me too. We need to get back to the core cast -at least those that are still around. Not necessarily the originals since there’s only a few left. But Meredith, Derek, Alex, Bailey, Arizona, Callie, and Richard. I like Owen, April and Jackson too I just want the focus off of the interns. Too much screen time last season!

    • Jessica says:

      It’s GREY’S anatomy. It should always be Meredith centric. Ellen (and Patrick) are paid the highest for a reason, why not show it on the show as well?

      CAN’T wait for season 11. It’s been a while since I was looking forward this much!

    • CR says:

      Agree with you 100%. Bring Dr. Izzie back!

  8. ggny says:

    We all knew a Ellis had Richard kid storyline was gonna pop up soon or later. I think it will be a fine storyline

  9. Tracy says:

    I was on the fence about watching next season since Sandra Oh left and now I probably won’t bother. We’ve had 10 seasons of MerDer and their fights and already had 2 sisters show up so it sound like nothing but recycled story. Also, if its ‘Season of Meredith’ what about Derek? Is Patrick going to even be in all the episodes this year?

    • Boo says:

      I’m sure they won’t miss you if you don’t watch…

      • ABC can’t afford for the ratings to get that much lower!
        Your ignorance of how the TV business works is endless. Of COURSE they care if people stop watching, ya moron.

    • Monica4185 says:

      You know Meredith is a character all of her own, she is not an extention of Derek. I actually think this is good maybe now we will get to see some focus on Mer’s career life instead of all the personal crap.

    • Anonymous22 says:

      100% agree with this. Also Boo…people should be able to post their opinions without personal attacks.

  10. Katie says:

    I can’t believe people are seriously complaining about a season about Meredith. It’s GREYS anatomy. Mer used to be the focus and everyone else that surrounded her were the background and ever since season 7 they’ve been developing other characters and ships and Meredith and Derek have less than five minutes per episode. Suck it up, it’s time for Grey to shine again!

    • Guest(Real name revealed when I say so) says:

      @Katie Do you think that everybody that HAS watch the show KNOWS THAT?! (In Dennis from the spongebob Squarepants Movie voice) OF COURSE IT”S ABOUT MEREDITH! So don’t come here reminding them who the show is about because Grey’s viewers are NOT stupid. And another thing that I don’t understand is (In my yelling voice) WHY CAN’T PEOPLE RESPECT OTHER PEOPLE OPINIONS?! (In my normal voice) I mean seriously it’s called freedom of speech for a reason! And i just to laugh at the “it’s time for Grey’s to shine again” comment because shine for what?! There’s nothing for Grey’s to shine at because it’s on Thursdays at 8pm meaning it’s basically fighting a losing battle against The Big Bang Theory(once it’s back to its throne on October 30th) and you know as well as i do that Tv’s #1 comedy gets big ratings. So YOU need to suck it up because season 11 like it or not Shonda and/or ABC and you Katie will be the last! I can see an article on tvline in May saying “Grey’s Anatomy cancelled after 11 seasons” (In Roman Reigns voice) BELIEVE THAT! (The Truth Reigns plays)

      • Debra Stewart says:

        what was that? Bing Bang what! nothing to that show. Grey’s is nothing but great, just need to keep the best actors.

  11. abz says:

    Well it’s about time Meredith Grey was brought back to the forefront of this show. For too many seasons now she has been pushed to the side in favour of useless secondary characters. I hope she becomes close with Amelia. Amelia is one of my favorite characters in the Grey’s world and while she can’t replace Cristina, I think she’d make a great new person for Mer.

  12. molly is going to spice up this drama a little more ..and karev might be one of the boards and that;s too.

  13. Scotty_dog says:

    My problem with grey’s now is one that would be difficult to fix. In the beginning there were interns, residents and attending who were like the surgical gods. Now that I am assuming Avery and Karev have finished their fellowships that leaves a rather strange one sided hierarchy. There is the members of the board at the top so that’s Mer, Derek, Callie, Arizona, Webber, Avery and Alex (hopefully). The under them would be the Chiefs of department two of which are already on the board so this would just be Maggie and Owen. Then there are the “regular” attendings – April Bailey and Amelia. And there are 2 residents left that’s it – Jo and Stephanie. Hate to say this but they need new interns the only problem being there is so many attendings! Some characters don’t get a lot of their own screen time as it is without adding more. Since they made a point of Maggie being young not sure why she isn’t a resident instead and just have a CT surgeon like Russell was – not really involved.

  14. Dana says:

    The show is called Grey’s Anatomy. I think they brought in Lexie just in case Ellen Pompeo decided to leave the show, but then Schyler left instead. Seeing as So many of the original cast members have left and Dempseys and Chambers appear more as recurring characters, it makes sense to bring in a new Grey with the possibility that Ellen may want to also leave the show after this season. The writers were smart in also naming the hospital Grey- Sloan, as if all else fails you can just use it to explain the shows title. Don’t know if this is why but it’s what I would do if it was my show and it needed continuity, especially with the original cast members looking to leave.

    • Hayes says:

      The show has been around for 10 years.. I don’t think they need to justify the title at this point, whether Meredith is there or not.

  15. Em says:

    When it was revealed early on in the series that Ellis and Richard were lovers I thought their love child would eventually show up. I thought it was going to be Jackson too. The twist may be that the new sister wants nothing to do with Meredith or that Richard keeps the info to himself for half a season. More Meredith centric works for me.

  16. sarah says:

    I am not sure if I am loving the idea of Meredith’s new half sister. However having it be Webber and Ellis’ daughter then I am somewhat interested in what happened and how Ellis could hide the fact she was pregnant from everyone!

    • shaunna says:

      My theory is that Ellis was pregnant when Richard told her he wasn’t going to leave Adelle at the park. If that is the case, Meredith would have only been around 3 or 4 years old-and most 3 or 4 year old kids would not know their mother was pregnant unless they were told. Also, if I remember correctly, Ellis took Meredith and moved across the country shortly after that.

  17. GL says:

    So excited for season 11!!!!

    It’s about freaking time for Meredith to be front and centre again. Looking forward to see her deal with this new sister situation, I don’t care about this Maggie person, I just hope we’ll know about Meredith’s past and childhood and Ellis when they were in Boston. The MerDer drama!! About time they give Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey a meaty storyline. The scene in the finale was AMAZING, and definitely a great start for it.

    Michael and Matt please do an interview with Ellen Pompeo before the season starts! It will be much appreciated. THANKS!!!

  18. Jess says:

    As long as I see enough of Alex on my screen I’m not gonna complain. And focus on Meredith is better than focus on Callie/Arizona or on Jackson/April

  19. Tia says:

    YAY. Wonderful news!! :D

    It should always be Meredith centric. She’s the GREY. But better late than ever right?? Hope we’ll actually see this on screen. Enough with the interns, Arizona’s leg and cheating, and April and Jesus.

    As someone else said, please TVline interview Ellen Pompeo before the season starts. :)

    • Debra Stewart says:

      thinking Meredith will be chief of surgery at some point. culmination maybe. then she and Yang can meet and “dance it out”

  20. Pat says:

    I am excited, for the return of Grey’s. I was a little concerned when I saw the words “Time Jump”, but 24 hours is a drop in the bucket. Also, I was not surprised with the knowledge that Ellis and Richard had a child. Heck, in Season one I thought Meridith was Richards child, but that was proven wrong. This should be a very interesting season that is coming up.

  21. PL says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I wish that they had brought in a male to be a half-brother for Meredith. It would’ve been nice to see a different dynamic, particularly since Amelia will also be in the picture now.

    • Tia says:

      I totally agree with you. If they were going with this storyline, why not make it a half brother, different dynamic with the one she had with Lexie.

    • Monica4185 says:

      They could still do a half-brother. They just need to give Maggie a fraternal twin, who is finishing Medical school and starts as new intern.

  22. dman6015 says:

    ‘The show is just about Meredith Grey!’ Well it ain’t called “Grey’s Anatomy” for nothing!

  23. Ashlee says:

    I’m over the half-sis’ storyline for Mer. This is her third half sister.

  24. CR says:

    Bring Dr. Izzie Stevens back!!!!!!

  25. Luis says:

    Now, If I had known that Shonda was going to pull something like that out of her hat, I might not have stopped watching the show five years ago!

  26. Anonymous22 says:

    This show has gone on way past it’s ability to create a stirring story-line. In addition, the stories that are repeated over and over again get annoying. So Mer has another half sister to deal with? Didn’t we already do that story??? Mer and Der are fighting and separating again???? Didn’t we do that story about 5,000 times already??? Wonder what affliction will hit Bailey this year. The little power house of a personality and the sniveling bumbling idiot she’s become. She did NOT fit with Ben at all when they got married. By the way…that story seemed to happen in less than five episodes. So you have 8 seasons and in five episodes she meets, sleeps with (ewww), and marries someone because they are good looking and will bring in viewers???? The match was wrong from the get go. Now dorky Jo who is supposed to be Izzie’s replacement will never live up to the affection we had for that character. Her back story is almost identical…shocker! I am not surprised she hasn’t revealed her mother used to call her cricket. And don’t even get me started on idiot April. Ugh…I wish someone would blow her up so when SR’s gets rid of her she can’t bring her back for a forth time. Reminds me of Private Practice where they made the annoying…country bumkin Charlotte with her back woods accent and explosive personality the main focus of that show. Have to laugh that Kate Walsh’s new show Bad Judge will be going up against Greys next season. That’s what I’ll be watching. Hope she takes SR down.

    Anyhew…not sure who is writing these scripts but they can pretty much toss them in the toilet following season 4.

    Had to laugh when it was revealed recently that SR, who chose the ending for Greys and knew it in season one and what would happen to every character proudly exclaimed that from the roof tops…and the ending was that they were going to all go off on their own after they took the boards. Yawn! Can’t believe she kept that secret for so long…possibly because no one would have cared anyway. But when ABC decided to drag this cash cow on for another 2 seasons…she had to come up with more stories so they used Patrick Dempsey’s purchase of the coffee company to write a script about the doctors buying the hospital. Hope he got a kick-back for that.

    Also…when Chyler Leigh left…it appeared she asked to leave. Here is my opinion on that. It was season 8 and EP had not signed on yet for the upcoming season and it was speculated she would leave Grey’s. Well…CL stepped up and said she would love to do the voice overs and become the face of Greys. Then SRs said in an interview…that will never happen…and other negative things about the character Lexie. Shortly after that CL said she wanted to leave the show to…what was that again…oh yeah…spend more time with her family. Give me a break. Everyone knows that’s what you say when there are big time personal issues. Within days after her leaving CL took down her Twitter account.

    Don’t get me wrong…I love what Greys used to be…up until SR killed off TR Knight because she was ticked that he came out in the press and SR cut his screen time to a minute or two per episode. After that happened…I was done. Katherine Heigl was right when she said the stories were so goofy that they didn’t deserve an Emmy. Apparently tv-land agrees because this show hasn’t been close to even being nominated in years and years and will never be.

    ABC would be better off promoting the reality series NY Med which is awesome and spectacular instead of letting SR continue to write for them.

    • Karina says:

      I have to agree with you, man. I liked Greys up until season 4-DANG. What really made the show crumble was when Isaiah and TR left and Christina/Burke relationship ended. That was WACK. They were the best, most compliment couple yet they made so much dang sense. Owen? Who the eff is he?! He and Christina didn’t fit at ALL. Izzy and Karev’s relationship pissed me off-off and on off and on (like most SR relationships)-I got so tired of it. I miss Izzy, of course, and her storyline was WRONG. I don’t give a cr*p about Arizona and Callie and I really wish they got less screen time. I’m fine with Jackson but April is a big joke. The plane crash made this show a JOKE, just like George getting hit RANDOMLY by a bus. What the heck this show is a mess! I’m also looking forward to Bad Judge. I wish Grey’s can go back to center focus on the original cast

  27. nikki says:

    What about Jackson and April, there my favorite! It should be a Jackson and April (Japril) season.

    • Greys says:

      LOL. And what to they have? A baby storyline, that’s not interesting and not going to bring drama or buzz in the media.

  28. Merisi says:

    “It’s really a Meredith-centric season”…. That’s all it takes to bring a smile to my face, thank you very much.

  29. ANON R says:

    I miss Lexie.

  30. Joe says:

    Is the marriage of booth and brennan in trouble in season 10

  31. John S says:

    How about a little more diversity? By that I mean a new cast member that’s a straight white male.

  32. i think meredith would have been old enough to see that ellis was pregnant & he father didn’t say anything? this is silly & i quit watching. can’t you do something besides cause mer and der to fight? she deserves some happiness.

  33. Debra Stewart says:

    This is smart TV. I watch on Netflix over and over and realize each time, how masterfully produced and acted this is. Derek & Meredith are by far t he ultimate TV series couple. I think the only let down has been choice of interns that have come on except Avery, Alex’s GF, and Kepner. Have missed characters of past, and would like to see “Izzy” reappear. Thank you for exceptional episodes that have blown all others away. (In medicine for over 30 yrs and have learned and appreciated timely incidents. Looking forward to 11

  34. Jason Wheeler says:

    WTF? Izzy is also Meredith’s sister and so is Christina?? Wow!!!

  35. GA says:

    We are so sick & tired of the loud, lousy, annoying background music on all the network shows. Grey’s Anatomy is one of the worst. Can anything be done about it?