This is how 'Grey's Anatomy' is preparing to last another two decades

Since Grey's Anatomy opened its doors in January 2005, there has never been a storm of creative decisions and abandonment like the one that is living in the corridors of the hospital.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
21 March 2023 Tuesday 02:06
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This is how 'Grey's Anatomy' is preparing to last another two decades

Since Grey's Anatomy opened its doors in January 2005, there has never been a storm of creative decisions and abandonment like the one that is living in the corridors of the hospital. Yes, there have been bombs and snipers, a plane went down and the hospital changed names and shareholders, and more of Meredith's acquaintances have died than she can remember, but this time the medical drama, which has been on the air for 19 seasons, he faces his future with determination: behind the scenes, decisions are made to last another two decades on the air.

The main change, as your audience already knows, is the departure of Ellen Pompeo, the Meredith Gray that gave the series its name. But now another dropout is added to the cast: Kelly McCreary, who has played Maggie Pierce since the season 10 finale, Meredith's biological sister, will also be leaving Gray Sloan Memorial in the coming weeks. Here's the Grey's Anatomy timeline for being immortal:

The distinctive element of Grey's Anatomy in its early seasons is that it focused on medical residents who had to learn from their doctors and mentors. They were Meredith Grey, Izzie Stevens, George O'Malley, Alex Karev and Christina Yang. And, for this season, the writing team of Krista Vernoff, the showrunner who took over from Shonda Rhimes in the fourteenth season, planned the entry of a new generation of residents.

They are Jules (Adelaide Kane), who entered the hospital after having sex with one of the older doctors just like Meredith; Simone (Alexis Floyd), who had lost her mother to the hospital when it was still called Seattle Grace; Blue (Harry Shum Jr), a ruthless and ambitious doctor; Mika (Midori Francis), another who recognizes that she's not there to make friends; and finally Lucas (Niko Terho), the late Derek Shepherd's favorite nephew who tries to hide his identity as his nephew.

What was interesting about these five additions was not so much the arrival of residents but the approach from the writers' room. They did not seem to enter to be mere extras with a phrase, as had happened on other occasions, or to reinforce the plots of the veterans: this time the characters were introduced to revitalize the series, who had their own dynamics and conflicts between them, and to a certain extent reset mode.

At first you could understand the introduction of new residents and give them the corresponding minutes because Grey's Anatomy was crying out for a twist in its plot and the possibility of creating new plots without counting on Owen (Kevin McKidd) or Amelia (Caterina Scorsone). But the decision was better understood when the real bombshell of season 19 was discovered: Ellen Pompeo was leaving the series to focus on other creative projects (a miniseries about a controversial adoption case, to be exact).

"I am forever grateful and honored for the love and support that all of you have shown me, Meredith Gray and the series for 19 seasons!", he expressed from his Instagram account now that he is no longer on the set of the series indefinitely. “After all, none of this would have been possible without the best fans in the world. You are all riders and have made this ride so much fun and ICONIC!”

The actress, who was 34 when the series began, became a television star after landing the role in the series created by Shonda Rhimes. And her achievement? Season by season, she upgraded her contract to $20 million a year in her capacity as lead actress and executive producer of Station 19, the Seattle firefighter spinoff from Grey's Anatomy.

While the public waited to see the final departure of Meredith, another significant news: Krista Vernoff, in whom Shonda Rhimes trusted both Grey's Anatomy and Station 19, left her job as showrunner. "The passion of the dedicated fans and the impact that these series have on the hearts and minds cannot be emphasized enough," he explained to the public after making his decision to leave the series, in which he had participated as a writer since the first season.

Who is most likely to take his place? Meg Marinis, who made her debut on Grey's Anatomy in the first season helping to document the episodes and slowly rose to become a writer and executive producer. The series, therefore, has another tool to reinvigorate the stories of the Seattle hospital: another look at the command of the writers' room.

Meredith's move, who accepts a job away from Seattle, is already a good plot boost for the series, which will continue to feature the voice of Ellen Pompeo as narrator, but the series also needed to drop more ballast to make room for new plots. . And what has happened that makes it possible to move in this direction? Kelly McCreary, who contributed to the fiction gravitating around Meredith in the skin of her sister, will also be low in the coming weeks.

"It has been a tremendous honor to be a part of this legendary television institution that is Grey's Anatomy," he said in a statement. “Spending nine years exploring a character inside and out, and reaching a global audience with compelling stories, is a gift,” McCreary continued, “It has given me the opportunity to collaborate with, learn from, and be inspired by countless brilliant artists both in front of and behind the cameras.

As reported by Deadline, it was she herself who informed the producers that she wanted to turn the page and focus on other projects, allowing the writers to plan their departure. She is also not just any casualty: she was also the daughter of Richard Weber and actor James Pickens Jr, one of the two remaining original veterans along with Chandra Wilson, is not scheduled to leave the series.

Does this mean that Anthony Hill, who plays her fictional husband, fellow neurosurgeon Winston Ndugu, could leave the series? It remains to be seen. For one thing, her plots have always revolved around Maggie. On the other hand, the actor is 35 years old and his character has hardly had any plots of his own in the hospital or love affairs: if he stays, he has the potential to be rediscovered and integrated as part of the new batch.

But none of this will help if Grey's Anatomy isn't renewed for a 20th season. This slope. The ABC channel, the production company ABC Signature and the company that owns both companies, the Walt Disney Company, are in negotiations to see if it makes sense to continue with the medical drama while part of the cast must also sign new contracts. The numbers, for now, make sense: it has sufficiently healthy audiences and, in addition, by losing Ellen Pompeo it also substantially reduces the costs per episode.

While nothing indicates that there will be more substantial changes in the cast, Grey's Anatomy is facing a challenge: the division of its plots into two fronts, the veterans and the new residents, and the need to pass the baton to the latter from progressively at the level of plot and presence. And, for now, the right decisions are being made to regenerate production so that it can continue to be a constant in the viewer's life after 410 episodes behind it and the hope that hundreds more will follow.