Season 16 of 'Grey's Anatomy' Is Being Cut Short With an Early Finale Due to the Coronavirus

Hannah Jeon

From Good Housekeeping

  • Following a decision in March to postpone production, Grey's Anatomy announced on Friday that season 16 will be cut short with an early finale due to the coronavirus crisis.
  • The last-produced episode, titled "Put on a Happy Face," will instead serve as the new finale episode and will air on Thursday, April 9 instead of the originally planned date of May 16.
  • Many Grey's fans are expressing their disappointment over the news, as well as concerns about what the announcement means for season 17 of the show.

Heads up, Grey's Anatomy fans: It looks like Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital is closing its doors sooner than expected this season. After suspending production for two weeks due to the rising concerns of the coronavirus pandemic, the ABC medical drama announced last Friday that Grey's would not be resuming production to complete filming for the rest of the season — and will instead be cutting its season short earlier than expected.

So what does this exactly mean for the season 16 finale? Instead of filming the final four episodes of the current season — including the highly-anticipated finale originally set to air on May 16 — as planned, Grey's will now air its last-produced episode as the season finale, titled “Put on a Happy Face," on Thursday, April 9.

Despite this unfortunate news, Grey's showrunner Krista Vernoff made sure to assure viewers that the new finale episode will still be a "satisfying" conclusion to the current season. “We are disappointed that we don’t get to complete our storytelling this season. The good news? 1621 plays like a satisfying finale!” she tweeted on Friday. “It’s not where we planned to end, but it’s beautiful & the questions that linger we will answer next year."

In response to the announcement, Grey's fans were quick to express their disappointment over the fact that they would not see the original last four episodes as planned — and that the season would be coming to an end earlier than they'd hoped.

"Cannot believe we will not see the final four episodes of Season 16 of #GreysAnatomy and that the season finale is coming up on April 9!" one fan wrote on Twitter. "Grey's ending early in 2 weeks is a STRUGGLE because 16x21 obviously wasn’t meant to be a SEASON FINALE," another viewer tweeted.

Of course, some fans were also concerned about what the news means for the following season. "Well this sucks ... We are never going to find out what the last 4 episodes of Season 16 #GreysAnatomy were about!" one fan wrote on Twitter in response to the announcement. "How is this going to affect S17? Will the writers include the 4 episodes in the next season?"

All good questions, but it seems that the answer is still unclear as to whether the four unproduced episodes from Season 16 will be included in the beginning of the next season, or if they'll just be scrapped for good — the good news, however, is that Grey's has already been renewed for season 17 (though apparently it's highly likely that this season could mark the show's end once and for all!).

And while fans are anxiously awaiting the last two episodes of this current season, another piece of good news is that they don't have to worry about anything major happening in the new finale — say, like some of the characters dying — which Grey's star Ellen Pompeo (aka Dr. Meredith Grey) confirmed herself in a Twitter post on Friday. Apparently, when asked by a fan if "the 'season finale' isn't going to be full of people dying," Ellen replied, "That's what it means."

Whew — well, we'll be taking that as confirmation that our favorite Grey's characters are safe (for now) and that the finale won't be the usual heart-wrenching tear-jerker! In the meantime, the fictional doctors over at Grey-Sloan Memorial seem to be doing their part to help out real-life healthcare workers amidst the coronavirus shutdown — specifically by donating their on-set medical supplies to local hospitals and medical centers facing an increasing shortage.

"At Grey’s Anatomy, we have a back-stock of gowns and gloves which we are donating," Krista said in a statement to Good Morning America in March. The showrunner also noted that the Grey's spinoff series, Station 19, had already donated their stock of N95 masks to a local fire station. "We are all overwhelmed with gratitude for our healthcare workers during this incredibly difficult time, and in addition to these donations, we are doing our part to help them by staying home.”

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