Ellen Pompeo Is Still 'Trying to Figure' Out 'Grey's Anatomy's Future

Ellen Pompeo
Gilles Mingasson/ABC via Getty Images

The show is in its 17th season, the last of the actress' contract.

Grey's Anatomy's future is uncertain. On this week's CBS Sunday Morning, Ellen Pompeo, the show's star and executive producer, admitted that both her character's fate and that of the show is up in the air.

"I can't say. We honestly have not decided. We're really trying to figure it out right now," Pompeo, who portrays Dr. Meredith Grey, said of if the show will continue after its 17th season, which is the last year of her contract. 

Both ABC and Grey's creator Shonda Rhimes have previously said that the show will end when Pompeo exits.

In making such a massive decision, Pompeo said that she and the others involved are asking themselves, "What story do we tell? To end a show this iconic, how do we do it?"

"I just want to make sure we do this character, and this show, and the fans... I want to make sure we do it right," she said.

Pompeo first hinted that the show's 17th season could be its last in an interview with Variety last October.

"The truth is, this year could be it. This is the last year of my contract right now. I don’t know that this is the last year? But it could very well could be," she said at the time. "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. I’m just weighing out creatively what can we do."

When Grey's Anatomy's mid-season finale aired in December, Meredith Grey's condition was deteriorating amid her COVID-19 battle. Pompeo said that she isn't privy to Meredith's fate, telling CBS Sunday Morning only that the show has "choices" to make going forward.

While no decisions have been made just yet, executive producer Meg Marinis told ET in December that the ongoing pandemic has made the writers and producers treat each episode as if it could be the show's last.

"We have been writing each episode like it could possibly be the last episode until we could get back on the air because we just don't know. So we're throwing everything that we can, story-wise," she said. "Not every episode ends with a cliffhanger necessarily, but every episode has such an emotional punch to it, for at least a few of our characters, that if it had to be the last episode for a second, it could be."

"... I feel like starting the last few seasons, there are always theories. But I feel like we are succeeding still in incredible fashion, and we're so grateful for that," Marinis added. "... But as for the end, who knows when Grey's Anatomy will end."

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the future of Grey's, both Jesse Williams and Chandra Wilson, who play Jackson Avery and Miranda Bailey, respectively, expressed hope that the medical drama will live on to see a non-pandemic related end.

"I think the show is too important to go out without a damn parade. Without us really knowing and having a real finale season where these writers are so overworked and depressed and in a rat race to try and get material out without all this uncertainty, that’s not the ideal scenario," Williams told ET earlier this month. "I think they, and all of us, kind of deserve to have the time and space to map out how to end. It’s just a flattering way of saying I hope not."

Wilson, meanwhile, told ET in December, that, "in light of what's happening right now, it's like, do we want the last season to be about COVID? Or do we want us to be able to put some nice ribbons around it with rainbows and balloons and things?"

"I know on the creative end the conversation comes up, but on our end, on the actor end, we're like, 'Look, whatever it is that you want us to do. Whatever life you see for these characters, as actors, we're ready to bring that to life,'" she added. "So greater powers have those conversations than us."

Grey's Anatomy returns to ABC on March 11.