Jesse Williams Says It's 'Unlikely' 'Grey's Anatomy' Would Survive Without Ellen Pompeo

Ellen Pompeo is "the heart of that show," said Williams, who plays Dr. Jackson Avery on ABC's hit medical drama

Actors Ellen Pompeo and Jesse Williams arrive at the 2013 People's Choice Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on January 9, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

Jesse Williams is unsure how Grey's Anatomy would shape up if Ellen Pompeo were to leave.

The 2022 Tony nominee opened up about the possibility of Pompeo, 52, leaving the ABC series, responding to recent comments she's made on the matter.

"I don't know, it would be a different show," Williams, 40, told Access Hollywood. "She's the heart of that show. She's Grey. So, unlikely."

He added, "But again, I don't work there anymore. So it doesn't matter what I think."

Williams first joined Grey's Anatomy in season 6 as Dr. Jackson Avery and exited in 2021 after 12 seasons, though he recently returned for the season 18 finale.

"I Saw Her Standing There" - Aware that Derek might never operate again, Meredith stops talking about the surgeries she's performing. Meanwhile, Richard calls on Dr. Catherine Avery to help him perform a complicated procedure, as things continue to heat up between Jackson and April; and Arizona's struggle to accept her fate forces Callie and Alex to face their guilt, on "Grey's Anatomy," THURSDAY, OCTOBER 25
Kelsey McNeal/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty

Pompeo has been on the popular medical drama since its debut season airing in 2005. Recently, she offered a cryptic response when speaking about the series potentially continuing without her, saying, "We'll see, we'll see."

"Trying to reinvent the show and continually trying to reinvent the show is the challenge at this point, and listen, the show speaks to a lot of people, and the young people love the show," she told Entertainment Tonight.

"It's inspired so many generations of healthcare workers," she added. "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."

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear The doctors of Grey Sloan Memorial celebrate the holidays; Hamilton and Meredith prepare for a milestone on their project; Link wants to spend the holiday with Amelia and Scout as a family; Schmitt is faced with a difficult decision during surgery on an all-new episode of Greys Anatomy, THURSDAY, DEC. 16 (9:00-10:01 p.m. EST), on ABC.
Liliane Lathan/ABC via Getty

Pompeo has also openly discussed her desire to end the series altogether.

"​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?'" she told Insider in December 2021. "And everyone's like, 'Who cares, Ellen? It makes a gazillion dollars.'"

It was announced in January that Pompeo will be returning for the show's 19th season.

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