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How Long Can Grey's Anatomy Realistically Last? What The New Showrunner Has To Say

 Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey and Debbie Allen as Catherine Fox on Grey's Anatomy.
Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey and Debbie Allen as Catherine Fox on Grey's Anatomy.

It’s not every day that you see a series still going strong in its 20th season. Grey’s Anatomy surpassed ER in 2019 to become the TV’s longest-running medical show, and five years later it’s still proving its dominance in primetime. Things did look iffy for a minute there, when Ellen Pompeo was apparently trying to “convince everybody it should end,” but Season 19 seemed to give it a new lease on life, with Pompeo taking a step back and a new class of interns shaking things up at Grey Sloan. So just how long can Grey’s Anatomy continue? Meg Marinis has some thoughts.

With a new showrunner, a handful of new-ish cast members and a nice round number like Season 20, what better time to address the subject of Grey’s Anatomy’s longevity — especially with the cancellation of its spinoff Station 19 lurking at the end of its current season. Meg Marinis, who took over following Krista Vernoff’s exit, can’t say how long the show will go on, but she has no intention of slowing down now. She told Deadline:

I’ve not been informed that this is the last season so I’m going to keep going and telling stories as long as they let me. We still have stories to tell. We receive a tremendous amount of support from the studio and the network and from Shondaland. So I’m going to keep going until they tell me to put that pen down.

Grey’s Anatomy veterans including Chandra Wilson, James Pickens Jr., Kevin McKidd and Kim Raver all signed contracts through the current season, but Meg Marinis makes it sound like those are expected to be extended. To be sure, many of the veterans have voiced their loyalty to Grey’s Anatomy and hope to keep reprising their characters as long as possible.

They’ve also spent the past couple of years shutting down speculation that the end is near. Back in 2022, Chandra Wilson appeared on Good Morning America, where she chastised Michael Strahan for suggesting Season 19 would be the final season, telling him: “You really don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Executive producer and recurring cast member Debbie Allen also had no concerns about running out of stories to tell when they celebrated the series' 400th episode in Season 18. She predicted Grey’s could continue for so long that “our children could end up being on this show. That's how good it is.”

I’m sure the loyal viewers wouldn’t have a problem with that, and I personally can’t wait to hear the words, “Paging Dr. Zola Grey Shepherd to the OR.”

New episodes of Grey’s Anatomy air at 9 p.m. ET Thursdays on ABC and can be streamed the next day with a Hulu subscription. Check out our 2024 TV schedule to say up to date on all of the upcoming premieres.