Ellen Pompeo Opens Up About Reduced Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Role

Ellen Pompeo is taking a step back from Grey’s Anatomy, reducing her role in the show to make way for other work. Pompeo has starred as Meredith Grey in the popular medical drama since 2005, spanning across 18 seasons so far, with season 19 due to hit screens this October. Although she is remaining as an executive producer, the actress will be featured on-screen a lot less in the upcoming episodes.

Grey’s Anatomy has seen a wide number of cast members come and go over the years, through various deaths and departures which have been laced with tragedy and, on occasion, hope. Even McDreamy aka Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) couldn’t escape a heart-breaking end when he died at the hands of an irresponsible doctor after being hit by a truck. Returning briefly as a ghost, Shepherd has remained vital to the Grey’s Anatomy storylines over the years. Another popular character, Christina, played by Sandra Oh, made her exit back in season 10, with mentions of Meredith’s “person” popping up in texts since her leaving. The character is now Chief Medical Officer and Director of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Klausman Institute for Medical Research in Switzerland but has shown no evidence of returning to the show in person any time soon.


Related: Could Ellen Pompeo's Smaller Role Be GOOD For Grey's Anatomy Season 19?!

In an interview at D23 Expo with Deadline, Ellen Pompeo commented that the new season will still be a lot of fun. There will be plenty of laughter and tears, with the actress featuring in the voiceover for the season, but with limited appearances as her character Meredith Grey. With promises of her on-screen return for the finale, Pompeo also commented:

“I’m going to always be a part of that show, I’m an executive producer on that show, I’ve spent two decades of my career on that show, it’s my heart and soul. And I’ll never truly be gone as long as that show is on the air.”

Greys Anatomy Meredith Grey

The actress is scaling back her role in Grey’s Anatomy to make space for other shows; the first being Hulu’s Orphan, a limited series she is set to star in. This is based on the true story of a Ukrainian-born adult who was adopted by US parents as she pretended to be a child. After almost 20 years as Grey Anatomy’s titular character, this will be a huge change of pace, with the Hulu show only spanning 8 episodes compared to the medical drama’s standard 24 per season.

Although this isn’t a full departure from the wards of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital, Ellen Pompeo’s absence from the drama will be noticeable. As the lead character who has experienced loss, heartache, and even been close to death’s door on many occasions, Meredith has been the storyteller for the majority of the show’s run. Pompeo still loves Grey's Anatomy, which can be seen in her interviews, but her lack of screen time will potentially change the dynamic of the legacy characters that remain. As new interns join the halls and the drama continues, only time will tell whether Grey’s Anatomy can continue without Pompeo leading the way. Grey’s Anatomy returns on Thursday, October 6, at 9pm ET/PT on ABC.

Source: Deadline