TVLine has confirmed that Pompeo — whose blockbuster two-year, $20 million deal was set to expire in May 2020 at the end of Season 16 — has tacked another year onto her contract, clearing the way for the two-season pickup. It also has paved the way for the series to promote three recurring players to full-fledged series regulars (more on that here).
Earlier this year, Pompeo told TVLine that she had not decided if she would re-sign beyond a then-potential Season 16. “I’m contracted through Season 16,” she stated last January on the Grey’s set. “And beyond that… I don’t really know. I take it day-by-day.
“I keep saying, ‘I’m ready to move on and I want to stop the show before the ratings go down,’ but the ratings never go down!” she added. “They go down a little bit, but the fact that we are able to hold our [title as ABC’s No. 1 series] is kind of [incredible]. It’s very cool to have these kind of ratings and be on a hit network show in this [Peak TV] landscape.”
For her part, showrunner Krista Vernoff — who has also extended her Grey’s deal through Season 17 — recently told TVLine that she is looking less toward the finish line than she is ahead. “I find myself thinking forward,” she admits. “It feels like the show could really go on. In the early years, we would pitch stories, and Shonda [Rhimes] would go, ‘Uh, that’s a Season 8 story. Let’s do that toward the end.’ Now we’ve doubled the expected lifespan of the show and told all the stories we talked about in the early years, so we have almost a blank slate. Where do you go from here? It’s exciting!”
Vernoff, meanwhile, will also be taking over as showrunner at spinoff series Station 19 during its just-ordered Season 3.
TVLine’s 2019 Renewal Scorecard has been updated to reflect Grey’s Anatomy‘s two-season pickup.