Ellen Pompeo is walking back her comments about potentially leaving Grey's Anatomy at the end of her contract next season, sparking hope that the ABC medical drama could actually go on forever. The actress said in September that she feels the show has "told the majority of the stories it can tell" and that she's "definitely looking for a change." As Pompeo plays the titular character, it's difficult to see Grey's continue without her, so her comments sparked fear into the hearts of fans around the internet.
Now that Pompeo has had a second to think, she isn't in as big of a rush to leave the show as she made it sound.
"I keep saying, 'I'm ready to move on and I want to stop the show before the ratings go down,' but the ratings never go down!" the actress told TVLine. "They go down a little bit, but the fact that we are able to hold our [title as ABC's No. 1 series] is kind of [incredible]. It's very cool to have these kind of ratings and be on a hit network show in this [Peak TV] landscape."
It's not just the ratings that's keeping Pompeo around though. The actress also admitted that she likes the stability of the show and being able to go home to her three kids every night. She also just signed a whopping $20 million deal to stay on the show through Season 16.
Pompeo has been playing Meredith Grey on Grey's Anatomy for the better part of two decades and has seen the character through family deaths, her husband's death, becoming a mother to three children and a bizarre amount of tragedy and trauma. While some character fatigue is understandable, the show does find ways to revitalize the drama. Heading into Thursday's winter premiere, Meredith finds herself in the middle of a steamy love triangle that that will undoubtedly keep fans hooked through the end of the season. In fact, Grey's just added three extra episodes to its season, proving the hospital drama isn't slowing down soon.
If you're making bank, get to spend time with your family and have the authority and respect of being No. 1 on the call sheet, why would you leave? It seems like Pompeo is being smart and realizes that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Living that No. 1 life does not suck. At the very least, Pompeo is promising at least another full season of work.
"I'm contracted through Season 16," she said. "And beyond that... I don't really know. I take it day-by-day."
Grey's Anatomy returns Thursday, Jan. 17 at 8/7c on ABC.