Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey in Grey's Anatomy

'Grey's Anatomy' Is Officially Coming Back For Season 18

by Ani Bundel

Ever since Meredith Grey collapsed in a parking lot at the top of Season 17, fans have wondered whether this is the last season of Grey's Anatomy. With cameos galore, including from McDreamy himself, it certainly seemed like the beloved long-running series was giving fans a proper farewell. But not so fast! Everybody can breathe a sigh of relief, because ABC has confirmed Grey's Anatomy is officially renewed for Season 18, with actor Ellen Pompeo returning as Meredith Grey.

That last part was the critical issue that had fans on edge. Pompeo is one of only three characters who remain from the show's first season, along with Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey and James Pickens Jr. as Richard Webber. As the series' titular character, Pompeo's desire to keep coming back is what the future of Grey's hinges on. (Show creator Shonda Rhimes confirmed in 2017 that the show would not continue once Pompeo decides she's done.)

Moreover, with her contract expiring at the end of Season 17, Pompeo was giving significant thought to whether or not this should be it. Speaking to Variety ahead of the show's Season 17 premiere, she said it was a decision she did not take lightly.

Thankfully, Pompeo seems to have decided this is not the end.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, details of Pompeo's deal were not made available, but that she agreed on a one-year contract that is "lucrative." She's not the only one who will be signing on for another year. Both Wilson and Pickens have reportedly signed to return for Season 18 as well. According to TVLine, the entire cast is currently set to return, minus Jesse Williams, who will exit in the show's May 20 episode.

Krista Vernoff is also back as showrunner and will continue to helm both Grey's Anatomy and Station 19, which is also coming back for the 2021-2022 season.

All that said, fans should brace themselves for Grey Anatomy to eventually end. It is notable that Pompeo, who signed for two seasons back in 2019, has only signed on for one more year. There's always hope, come the end of Season 18, she'll decide to re-sign again. (And as the lead of ABC's most popular scripted series, there's no doubt executives would be happy to renew her contract again.) But with the cast only signed for one more year, it could very well be that Season 18 is Grey's Anatomy's last.

Grey's Anatomy is currently on a one-week hiatus. Season 17 will continue on Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.