It's no secret that Grey's Anatomy has been pulling out all the stops in season 17: Not only has there been an intense COVID-19 storyline throughout the entire season, but there's also been plenty of surprises in the form of jaw-dropping character returns and nail-biting winter finale cliffhangers. But after such a major comeback in season 17, there's one all-important question that's been on every fan's mind, even before the current season has come to an end: Is Grey's Anatomy returning for season 18?
Though there's not much information on a new season of Grey's just yet, there's long been speculation that the series is nearing its end — especially since the show currently holds the record for the longest-running medical drama on television. If you're itching for more details on yet another new season, here's everything we know about Grey's Anatomy season 18 so far, including all the info on the premiere date, cast changes and more.
When is Grey's Anatomy returning for season 18?
Unfortunately, Grey's Anatomy hasn't been renewed for a new season quite yet, which means we don't know whether the show will be back for season 18. In an interview with Variety in October, Ellen Pompeo (who plays Meredith Grey on the show) seemed to hint that season 17 of Grey's Anatomy could very well be its last. "We don’t know when the show is really ending yet," she said. "But the truth is, this year could be it."
Still, there's a possibility that Grey's could return for another season — especially since the show's network, ABC, seems to be on board with continuing the show. In fact, ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke told Deadline back in January that she hopes that season 17 won't be the last. "'Grey’s Anatomy' will live as long as Ellen is interested in playing Meredith Grey," she said. "We will let her lead the pace on that."
Will Ellen Pompeo stay on the show?
Currently, Ellen's contract with the show ends after season 17 (which is why she said this season could be the last!) and so far, there has been no news of whether she has plans to continue. Of course, this could all be because season 17 still has Meredith's life hanging in the balance after the character contracted COVID-19 at the beginning of the season. The shocking winter finale saw her condition take a turn for the worse, leading to the question of whether Meredith will die in season 17 (she couldn't possibly ... right?!).
Ultimately, it seems that the show's return for season 18 depends on both Meredith's fate in season 17 and Ellen's decision to renew her contract. No one can imagine Grey's without its leading lady, after all!
Will the entire cast return for season 18?
While Ellen hasn't yet renewed her contract for another season, what we do know is that several other cast members have signed on for contracts lasting through a potential season 19, as reported by Deadline in July. The list includes Kevin McKidd (who plays Owen Hunt on the show), Camilla Luddington (Jo Wilson) and Kim Raver (Teddy Altman). Chandra Wilson (who plays Miranda Bailey) also recently told Variety that she would stay on for the show until the very end. "I always say until the wheels come off, I’ll be there," she said. "I keep showing up when they call me and tell me that we’re doing another one!"
So ... how likely is it that Grey's Anatomy will return for season 18?
Despite speculation that season 17 could very well be the show's last, there's still plenty of hope that the show could continue for at least another season — especially since Grey's Anatomy remains one of ABC's most highly-rated series, and several cast members are confirmed to be signed on for more seasons in the future. In fact, Chandra offered even more hope for fans in a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, where she seemed to hint that the show would probably continue beyond season 17.
“I know from a creative standpoint there have been many ‘This is how the [series] would end’ conversations and then they all end up [not happening] because of a myriad of reasons. Because the network’s not ready, the studio’s not ready, the fanbase isn’t ready, the numbers are too good, all of those things," she said. "Collectively, they’ve decided we’re not going to put an end on it. We’re just going to wait and see."
So, it turns out we'll just have to be patient for any news on season 18 ... but our fingers are definitely crossed, as we're definitely not ready to say goodbye to Grey's just yet!
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