Ellen Pompeo Ellen Pompeo

Guess what, ABC? A year and a half after she said she would "finish the show when my contract is up," Ellen Pompeo is open to continuing as Grey's Anatomy's Meredith. Just one problem: "I was invited for eight years — that was my contract — and no one has asked me for a day more," she says. "I know [creator] Shonda Rhimes has said the show will continue, but I wouldn't presume that they want to continue with me. You don't get dressed for the party if you don't have an invitation."

Assuming ABC does ask her to re-up (and that's a pretty safe assumption), Ellen seems game. "I would love the opportunity to discuss it," she says. "I would never turn up my nose at Grey's. As long as the stories are honest and truthful, and Patrick [Dempsey] and I feel there is material for us to be passionate about, it still beats a 9-to-5 job any day. If I hear from the fans that they want us to keep going, then I would continue because we owe them everything."

But of course she's not speaking for Patrick, who may likely exit, along with Sandra Oh (Cristina), to pursue a film career. Surprisingly, Ellen says that wouldn't deter her from continuing Meredith's story. "I have been blessed to work beside Sandra Oh for the past eight years; she's an incredible talent," says Ellen, who feels the same way about Patrick and "all the original cast members who aren't there anymore—T.R. [Knight], Isaiah [Washington], Katie [Heigl]. I didn't think the show could go on without any of them, yet we found a way to do it. It might be an interesting story for Meredith to have to deal with losing Cristina."

Rhimes says she has indeed "thought of some scenarios" should Patrick choose to leave while Ellen remains. "I would be lying if I didn't say that I lie awake at night wondering what would happen," she says. "And I have some ideas. Do I love them? I don't know yet. I'd prefer to think of them as Armageddon scenarios. There are no easy answers." 

Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine now!