Will 'Grey's Anatomy' End With Season 17? Ellen Pompeo Teases Possibility

Ellen Pompeo Grey's Anatomy Meredith Grey Gallery Season 16
ABC/Mike Rosenthal

Grey's Anatomy is the longest running primetime medical drama in TV history, but might it be setting an end date soon?

The ABC hit enters its 17th season on November 12 (with a two-hour premiere), and "it could very well" be its last, series star Ellen Pompeo (Dr. Meredith Grey) told Variety.

While many actors have come and gone over the years—Chandra Wilson (Dr. Miranda Bailey) and James Pickens Jr. (Dr. Richard Webber) are the only other original cast members still around—it's hard to imagine the show continuing without Pompeo and her character. ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke previously said Grey's would "live as long as Ellen [Pompeo] is interested in playing Meredith Grey."

And Season 17 could be it for her. "This is the last year of my contract right now," the actress said, adding, "I don't take the decision lightly. We employ a lot of people, and we have a huge platform. And I'm very grateful for it."

Still, no one is saying that a 2021 series finale is definite. "We don't know when the show is really ending yet," Pompeo said. "But the truth is, this year could be it."

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Executive producer Krista Vernoff breaks down what's ahead for the characters and couples in both flashbacks and present-day.

Whenever it does end, fans likely won't have had to say goodbye to Bailey already. "In my mind, Bailey is there until the doors close, until the hospital burns down, until the last thing happens on Grey's Anatomy," Wilson said. "That is her entire arc."

Chandra Wilson Grey's Anatomy Miranda Bailey Season 16 Gallery

(ABC/Mike Rosenthal)

Grey's Anatomy, Season 17 Premiere, Thursday, November 12, 9/8c, ABC