Why Ellen Pompeo Won't Have a Main Role on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ This Season

Ellen Pompeo recently opened up about the decision to reduce her screen time in the latest season of Grey’s Anatomy. ICYMI, this past August Entertainment Weekly broke the news that the actor is set to appear in just eight episodes this coming season (while still remaining as an executive producer on the show, of course).

Though one would expect something (!!) to be said on the matter as soon as the news dropped, Ellen was pretty hush-hush…up until recently. *Cue le dramatic music* In a September interview with Deadline, she got into the weeds of what her ~updated~ role means for Grey’s Anatomy. Moreover, she assured worried fans (hi, me!) that she’s not *truly* leaving the show any time soon. Case in point? She’ll still be recording its voiceover narration and appearing in the show’s season finale.

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“I’m going to always be a part of that show,” Ellen said. “I’m an executive producer. I spent two decades of my career on [Grey’s Anatomy]—it’s my heart and soul. I’ll never truly be gone as long as [it’s] on the air.” She also added that the long-running series is “still gonna be just fine without me” despite us getting less face time with her character, Meredith Grey.

FWIW, this isn’t the first time the actor has discussed life after the show. In December 2021, Ellen spoke with Insider about how her character’s story should end while promoting her company, Betr Remedies, and confessed, “I’ve been trying to focus on convincing everybody that it should end. ​I feel like I’m the super naive one who keeps saying, ‘But what’s the story going to be, what story are we going to tell?'” And everyone’s like, ‘Who cares, Ellen? It makes a gazillion dollars.’”

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She also opened up to Entertainment Tonight in May about potentially pulling back from Grey’s: “Trying to reinvent [Grey’s Anatomy] and continually trying to reinvent the show is the challenge at this point…Listen, the show speaks to a lot of people, and the young people love the show. It’s inspired so many generations of healthcare workers so, I think for the young people, it’s a really good piece of content and we’re going to try to keep it going for the young people, not necessarily with me, but keep it going beyond me.”

If you want to catch the current season and see how this all shakes up for yourself, Grey’s Anatomy season 19 premieres on ABC this week on Thursday, October 6 at 9 p.m. EST.

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