Grey's Anatomy Ellen Pompeo Interview

Ellen Pompeo Extols Grey's Anatomy's 'Amazing' Post-McDreamy Success

The fact that Grey’s Anatomy didn’t flatline in the wake of Patrick Dempsey’s exit last season has not gone unnoticed by Ellen Pompeo.

On Monday’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the actress playfully reflects on the ABC drama’s impressive ratings performance in the wake of McDreamy’s death last April, saying, “It’s amazing how much you get done without a penis.”

Pompeo adds, “We miss him dearly, but, yes, the show is doing very well… A lot of people were upset about his departure, which is super-understandable. But I think change is part of reason the show goes on for so long. I think people tune in to see, ‘What does the show look like now? What is Meredith going to do without Derek? They get so upset about the change, but change is precisely what everyone always needs to get to the next place.”

Watch the clip below, and then hit the comments with your thoughts!

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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49 Comments
  1. Jessica says:

    I will continue to watch as long as Ellen is there.

  2. Matt C. says:

    I actually didn’t start watching the show until after Derek died. The fact that they killed off the male lead of the series made me want to watch it and see what all the hype was about! I watched all 11 seasons on Netflix over an 8-month period (after Mark and Lexie died, it took me a while to get back into it) and now I watch religiously every Thursday. I find it very amusing (though not really surprising) that Grey’s gets better ratings in its 12th season than the rest of TGIT (and ABC in general…)

    • Guilherme says:

      That’s exactly what happened to me, I also start watching after Derek died, all 11 seasons on Netflix andI feel the same way.

    • Anna says:

      Of all the deaths on the show, it seems like everyone gets the most tripped up over Mark and Lexie’s – no matter when they start the show. Those two deaths definitely shook me the hardest.

  3. Bryan says:

    McDreamy’s death was the jolt this show needed to continue on so Scandal, dont be scared to kill off Jake or Papa Pope. Even Huck. Okay?

  4. Jackie says:

    after watching for so many years, my interest was waning in the series. The only reason I stuck with it was to watch McDreamy and Mer, which was the only thing about the series that I loved the entire way through. After his death episode I quit cold turkey. Haven’t missed it yet. I pretend that he got home safe and they went and lived happily ever after.

    • cej says:

      Yes! Me, too! Living happily in my Mer/Der dream land. I’m planning to do the same for Castle. Not interested in that show without her and plan to skip the finale. I don’t want to see them split up.

      • Jackie says:

        I love Castle, but this year has not been good. I’ll watch to the finale (whatever type that may be) and then if it’s bad, I’ll pretend the series ended after last years season finale.

      • Luli says:

        Ditto m castle, but you really should give a try to greys. This season has been great.

  5. Samantha says:

    Meredith is a more interesting character without Derek and Grey’s isn’t being weighed down anymore by the MerDer relationship that had run its course. TBH Grey’s should’ve killed off Derek a few seasons ago (Patrick Dempsey’s boredom in the MerDer relationship and playing Derek was obvious in his performances).

  6. Gary says:

    Most times killing a beloved and long-running male lead can hurt a show but surprisingly this didn’t happen with Grey’s Anatomy, so long has the show focused on their relationship that it had forgotten this was supposed to be Meredith’s story. Honestly the show has been refreshing and has recaptured my attention, on a side note whomever has been developing Karev lately should get a substantial raise.

  7. Lea says:

    Ellen is doing some of her best work this season especially 12×05 and 12×09 – Mindblowing!! I am sure as actress she appreciate the meaty stuff she’s been giving to play.

  8. Alicia Gray says:

    Perfect example that proves that a female character doesn’t need a male character to live through. SLAY MEREDITH! lol

  9. Larc says:

    I don’t think Grey’s is doing better in spite of Dempsey’s departure, but because of it. His character had become a weak link in the show and was dragging it down, IMO.

    • Jenks says:

      I agree Another poster mentioned his boredom playing the role, and I think this is true in hindsight. He was MIA for half (at least) of the last season anyway. I loved the character while Dempsey was really into the role, but not so much the last season or so.

      • Jackie says:

        I think this is one of many, many instances where the general public knows too much about the stars and their lives offscreen. So much so that it is detrimental at times to the actor/actress and/or the show. Would people really be saying the same thing about his supposed boredom if they knew nothing about their lives offscreen?

        • Jenks says:

          Yep. I don’t really think about or care about his private life. He was phoning it in and his boredom with the role was all over his performance Just my opinion, of course.

  10. The return to ‘petty squables’ is a great improvement for the show, in the past the drama has gotten way too grand, which made it annoying, the way it’s now, with the drama, and emotion in the subtleties is great.

  11. Leah says:

    I am sure Ellen appreciates not having to put up with her co-star’s busy schedule and bored most of the time, like he was forced to do it.

  12. Whatevah says:

    gee all of 13 people commenting on this article think the show is better w/o Patrick. One person said they quit watching and don’t miss it. I still watch but I thought Thursday’s show was boring. Well the Stephanie story line anyway and that took up 1/2 the show.. I can’t stand Jo and I’m sick of Owen’s pouting. So I’m glad 13 people are happy. I don’t think the show is better at all. It’s like a comfortable bathrobe sooner or later it will be gone and I’ll be just fine. But right now I’m comfortable in it.

    • Sophia says:

      I absolutely agree. I am a die hard Grey’s fan since season 1 and stuck around even after the horrible way they handled Derek’s death. I continue to watch but honestly there is nothing compelling about it anymore. All the couples are battling each other ,the Owen Nathan drama is just a plain bore, I couldn’t give a flying f to the resident drama and enough with all the goddamn fights already. The only ep I did like was the Meredith centric one. I honestly care only abt her and Karev anymore

  13. Alex Mindev says:

    I don’t comment on articles often…but I just want to point out that a certain percentage of the people still watching GA (me included and I watch it on DVR never live) is only watching b/c we are too invested to quit now. I can think of several shows that lost their way or changed/declined in quality that I kept watching just b/c I wanted to see how it would all end for certain characters. Dexter, Smallville, Mad Men etc. To me all those peaked early and faded as the show went on for one reason or another. I kept watching. I think GA is the same category now. I mainly enjoy the original cast…Karev, Bailey, Webber, Meredith. I’m also a big Kevin McKidd fan (from Rome)

  14. Lucifer says:

    Could you imagine if Nathan Fillion went on a talk show and spoke in regards to Stana being off Castle as “it’s amazing how much you can get done without a vagina” in the same context of a joke? I mean, he’s already being blamed for her firing despite no actual proof so if he said that, he’d be lynched. But hey, casual sexism towards men is in and accepted.

    • Jackie says:

      I agree.

    • Whatevah says:

      Yeah I must have lost my sense of humor because I didn’t find the comment funny at all. Ellen knows who butters her bread that’s all I have to say..

    • anon says:

      1) Men are not oppressed by any means. Like, at all. And especially not in Hollywood

      2) Ellen Pompeo has a much more positive reputation that Nathan Fillion and regularly supported Patrick Dempsey while he was on the show. As opposed to Nathan who has apparently never said one word about Stana, even while livetweeting

  15. Hellastyle says:

    I loved Derek’s character and his exit was unexpected for me, but what’s more unexpected – is that now it is one of very few shows I rush to see. I’m amazed that after 12 seasons it makes me feel all the emotions I always loved it for!

  16. Azerty says:

    I didn’t stop when Georges died, I didn’t stop when Lexie and Mark died, I didn’t stop when Cristina left so I have no reason to stop after Derek died. The episode, like few other in the show left me in tears. So yes I still watch ans I am glad that after 12 years this show can still brings the feels. But I won’t deny it lost its sparks departure after departure and the show won’t ever be the same without Derek.

    • Julie says:

      I didn’t stop watching when all of them died either, but Derek’s death was too much for me. Their relationship was the pivotal element of this show consistently from day 1. The other plot lines and characters all had their moments to shine in and out, but the MerDer was always key. In my mind, the heart of Grey’s Anatomy doesn’t exist anymore. It’s almost like it should have ended and they should have started a new spin off, which might have put closure to Grey’s and MerDer while starting fresh with Meredith moving forward. Now that I think about it, if they would have taken this approach, I might have watched. But I will never watch GA again because of how it was handled.

      • Anna says:

        I’ve seen people say this, but I wholeheartedly disagree. Their relationship was not the pivotal element of the show – Meredith’s journey was. The show has always been about Meredith – when she and Derek were together and when they were apart. Day 1 of this show was about her moving back home, embarking on this new career, and meeting a new guy. When he was “in DC” most of season 11, the audience wasn’t watching what he was doing – we were seeing how everything affected Meredith. It’s always been about Meredith and will always be about Meredith.

  17. Liz says:

    That makes me sad… She’s happy PD’s gone, she’s happy to be the “only” star, that’s so d*mn sad. I loved the two of them together, they had such wonderful chemistry, and I thought they were better friends than this.

    • Jamie says:

      Idk, it sounds like he was being difficult, so maybe she’s happy she doesn’t have deal with that anymore. If he had left the show before becoming so obviously bored (you could tell in half of his scenes last season that he didn’t want to be there), then maybe she wouldn’t be saying this.

      • Sara says:

        I do think Ellen said it as a joke, she has a sense of humor, but maybe also some truth in there. That he was difficult to work with, his interviews about the show said it all, and his bio on social media that he’s rather be racing. Anyone would get tired to put up with that, and hard when your co-star doesn’t want to be there. Now she’s on her own and she’s been given incredible material to play this season. I mean they brought Mr. Denzel Washington to direct her centric episode. :-)

  18. Brent says:

    It’s not that the show is better without a male character. It’s that it’s better without what had become a terrible male character. PD was clearly over being on the show, and the writers began writing to the level of effort he was giving, and it just kept spiraling. While Ellen/Meredith has been incredible this season, I think Justin Chambers and Jesse Williams as Alex and Jackson have been every bit as good. When great actors are given strong material, it doesn’t matter what sex they are.

    • anon says:

      Alex and Jackson are such better characters than Derek was. They have their flaws but at least they admit to having flaws unlike a certain McDreamy.

  19. Brenda says:

    It’s more upsetting that Ellen hasn’t said anything positive about Patrick who she claimed she was close to as brother. They were very close off screen. Patrick was in tears over not working with Ellen anymore. Long time fans knew their relationship and they made the show for a lot of people. I hope she was kidding but he helped make who she has become.

  20. Courtney says:

    I didn’t start watching Grey’s until after Patrick left. I watched all 11 seasons and then catched up watching the first 8 episodes of season 12. I was impressed with how well greys was doing without Patrick Dempsey. It absolutely sucks that he was written off the show and wasn’t given a proper send off. What I love most is Ellen’s character on the show. I love her opening and closing monologues at the beginning and the end of each episode.

  21. EM says:

    As a Mer/Der fan I do miss their chemistry and was sorry to see him go. But his character being written out didn’t come off as a big shock to me because the last two years he was on the show his screen time was reduced and he didn’t seem to be as engaged as previously. The shows writing is much improved and the actors are giving Emmy worthy performances. Grey’s is the only show that I mostly watch live and will continue to do so as long as Ellen is there.

  22. Lauren says:

    Please give me a break. Shonda, Ellen, and the Grey’s PR team are trying to make the McDreamy backlask into a feminist issue – IT’S NOT. The issue is, it was bad storytelling and a slap in the face to fans who watched the show for 10 years and rooted for the MerDer relationship. All Shonda does is kill beloved characters off, and finally fans got sick of it and threw a fit.