This week has been a harbinger of big news for Grey’s Anatomy. The show, now in its 19th season and still topping ABC’s charts as one of the network’s most-watched dramas, will experience an unexpected change in leadership with the exit of Krista Vernoff as executive producer and showrunner of this series after 6 seasons when, at the beginning of the 14th, she inherited the role after working as a writer on the first 7 of the show.
WHAT WE KNEW
What we knew is that a wind of change had already been blowing on Grey’s Anatomy for a while after the undisputed protagonist of the series, Ellen Pompeohad announced his decision to leave the series and that the next February 23 episode, entitled I’ll Follow the Sun, would have been his farewell to the city of Seattle and the hospital that marked his personal and professional life. Already in August last year it was in fact announced that Pompeo would be present in only 8 episodes of this season. After the February episode, fans will be able to see her in the season finale (or serial?) from Grey’s Anatomy.
After Pompeo’s presence has become increasingly sporadic in recent years and with this latest season clearly designed as an attempt to test the possibility of a future for the show without Meredith Grey, with the introduction of new internists representing a new generation of doctors, his decision to leave the series after 19 years cannot be described as completely unexpected.
To justify this epochal change, the authors focused her farewell storyline on Meredith’s decision to leave Seattle for Boston, where she agreed to work for the Catherine Fox Foundation, led by Jackson (Jesse Williams), to embark on a new research on Alzheimer’s, but above all where his daughter Zola will be able to attend a school for gifted children able to help her develop her potential and control the anxiety attacks she has been suffering from for some time.
From what the promo suggests I’ll Follow the Sunin its penultimate episode, written not by chance by Krista Vernoff, the colleagues at Gray Sloan Memorial are intent on celebrating Meredith’s last day, while Nick tries to clarify the status of their relationship, whose possible decision to follow her could mark also the exit from the scene of Scott Speedman from the show.
In the future, Pompeo will continue to act as a narrator for the show and above all she will remain as executive producer and it is obviously not excluded that, if the series continues, she may return to the show from time to time.
WHAT WE DID NOT KNOW
As anticipated, what we didn’t know about this 19th season of Grey’s Anatomy is that, in addition to that of Ellen Pompeo, it would also have marked the farewell of Krista Vernoff. The showrunner commented on her decision as follows:
“Leading Grey’s Anatomy for 6 years and Station 19 for 4 was the honor of a lifetime. The passion of a loyal fandom and the impact these shows have had on hearts and minds cannot be overstated. The talent of their extraordinary cast and the genius of the writers is beyond measure and their crews work magic week after week“.
Since Vernoff has been at the helm of Station 19, the showrunner has tried to create a cohesive universe, made up of micro crossovers, not unlike those of One Chicago (Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D And Chicago Med), on NBC, which greatly improved the ratings of the Grey’s spinoff, a remarkable achievement considering the decline in ratings that has characterized linear TV in the United States.
Although no names have been officially named for the succession, according to Deadlines the scepter of Grey’s Anatomy guide could pass to Meg Marinis, on the show since her debut first in the role of researcher and then in that of executive producer, while Zoanne Clack, writer and producer of Station 19 should lead the series in the new role of co-showrunner with Peter Paige, co-creator of The Fosters And Good Trouble.
THE FUTURE OF GREY’S ANATOMY
As for the future of Grey’s Anatomy, the fact that Vernoff has decided to leave her role to pursue new projects, contrary to what it might seem, would point to a high probability for the series to be renewed despite the absence by Ellen Pompeo. If indeed the network and Disney weren’t seriously considering a future for the post-Meredith show, they probably wouldn’t have bothered to start negotiations with a new showrunner and maybe asked Vernoff to stay to close the show permanently. .
The ratings of the series, on the other hand, continue to be excellent and despite the real baptism of fire will be the second part of the 19th season, the one without Meredith, barring a total disaster, the general impression is that the public has accepted welcome the new wave of doctors, still guided by what’s left of the show’s old guard, and by no means ready to say goodbye to the show.
The 19th season of Grey’s Anatomywith the episode I’ll Follow the Sunwill air in the United States on February 23 on ABC. In Italy the series airs on Disney+