Ellen Pompeo Will Return for 19th Season of 'Grey's Anatomy'

The long-running medical drama premiered on March 27, 2005

The story of Meredith Grey appears far from over!

On Monday, ABC announced that the network has ordered season 19 of the iconic and longest-running primetime medical drama series Grey's Anatomy, starring Ellen Pompeo.

In the upcoming season, the record-breaking Shondaland series will explore the ever-expanding world of modern medicine through the eyes of beloved returning and new characters, according to a press release obtained by PEOPLE. Executive producer and showrunner Krista Vernoff will continue to lead the series.

"Grey's Anatomy has a global impact that can't be overstated," Vernoff said. "Grey's touches, and sometimes changes, hearts and minds worldwide through the depth of connection people feel with these characters. I'm excited to work with our extraordinary writers to dream up where we go from here, and I'm always grateful to our partners at Disney and ABC for letting us tell bold stories with real impact."

grey's anatomy
grey's anatomy. ABC

"I couldn't be more excited that we get to keep telling the stories of Meredith, Bailey, Richard and all of the other doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial for another season," said creator Shonda Rhimes. "This is a true testament to Krista Vernoff, the cast, the crew and all the writers who keep the audience on the edge of their seat week after week. And it would not be possible without the generations of incredible fans who have supported Grey's Anatomy for so many years."

Over the years, cast members came and went — Pompeo, Chandra Wilson and James Pickens Jr. are the only actors who remained on for all 18 seasons — and the series made history as the longest-running medical drama on TV.

In recent months though, Pompeo, 52, has been vocal about the possibility of Grey's coming to an end.

In September, the actress told Entertainment Tonight that she's been "trying to get away for years."

Bob D'Amico/ABC via Getty.

"It's not because I haven't been trying," she said of leaving Meredith Grey behind. "I have strong relationships at the network [ABC] and they have been very, very good to me, and have incentivized me to stay."

Pompeo, who serves as a producer on the show, also told Variety in 2020 that it would likely end when she leaves. "I don't take the decision lightly," she said at the time. "We employ a lot of people, and we have a huge platform. And I'm very grateful for it."

A year prior, she opened up about the ways in which Grey's has changed her life, telling PEOPLE she's "learned so much" during her nearly two decades on the show.

"Obviously I never anticipated the show still being the No. 1 show on the network," Pompeo said in 2019. "How do you walk away from a hit? The fans will dictate when the show ends. As much as we think we're in control, we're not. It's the fans' show at this point. They control how long the show goes. We'll see. I kind of just take it year by year and see."

At the time, Pompeo added, "So much has happened here. I've had three children. I've gotten married. It's a huge chunk of my life. I've learned so much. It's just been an amazing evolution."

Grey's Anatomy stars Pompeo as Meredith Grey; Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey; James Pickens Jr. as Richard Webber; Kevin McKidd as Owen Hunt; Kim Raver as Teddy Altman; Camilla Luddington as Jo Wilson; Caterina Scorsone as Amelia Shepherd; Kelly McCreary as Maggie Pierce; Chris Carmack as Atticus "Link" Lincoln; Jake Borelli as Levi Schmitt; Richard Flood as Cormac Hayes and Anthony Hill as Winston Ndugu.

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