According to The Hollywood Reporter, Pompeo is signed through Season 16 of the high-rated Shondaland drama and will now make $20 million per year, or $575,000 per episode. In addition, she will get a producing fee for the upcoming Grey's Anatomy spin-off plus a backend on the profits, and her production company Calamity Jane will get an office on the Disney lot in Burbank. Pompeo is currently developing a legal drama for ABC.
"I'm 48 now, so I've finally gotten to the place where I'm OK asking for what I deserve, which is something that comes only with age," Pompeo said of the deal. "Because I'm not the most 'relevant' actress out there. I know that's the industry perception because I've been this character for 14 years. But the truth is, anybody can be good on a show season one and two. Can you be good 14 years later? Now, that's a f---in' skill."
Pompeo also opened about her former co-star Patrick Dempsey was often leveraged against her while negotiating previous deals. Dempsey left the show in Season 11 when his character, Derek Shepherd, died from traumatic brain injury following a car accident.
"For me, Patrick leaving the show [in 2015] was a defining moment, deal-wise. They could always use him as leverage against me — 'We don't need you; we have Patrick' — which they did for years," she explained. "I don't know if they also did that to him because he and I never discussed our deals. There were many times where I reached out about joining together to negotiate, but he was never interested in that. At one point, I asked for $5,000 more than him just on principle, because the show is Grey's Anatomy and I'm Meredith Grey."
Pompeo says that she even considered leaving the show after her requests were rejected but then decided to stay. "It's my show; I'm the number one. I'm sure I felt what a lot of these other actresses feel: Why should I walk away from a great part because of a guy? You feel conflicted but then you figure, 'I'm not going to let a guy drive me out of my own house.'"
Grey's Anatomy returns Thursday, January 18 at 8/7c on ABC.