Meredith Grey is getting ready to leave Seattle, at least for a little while. ABC revealed earlier this year that longtime Grey's Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo would be stepping away from her role as a full-time performer on the series during its 19th season. She will continue to narrate and executive produce the series, but Pompeo is only appearing in a handful of episodes this season, and we now know exactly when she'll be leaving.
After the Grey's Anatomy fall finale on Thursday, ABC revealed that the winter premiere of the show will be Pompeo's last as the show's lead. That episode, titled "I'll Follow the Sun," airs on February 23rd. You can check out the promo for the episode below.
Pompeo's exit aligns with Meredith Grey's storyline, which has seen her accept a job in Boston working on Alzheimer's research. This allows Pompeo's beloved character to return any time in the future, as has been the case with other stars that have departed the show.
Grey's Anatomy is a record-breaker for ABC and has been one of its weekly staples for nearly two decades. Shonda Rhimes' drama was renewed for Season 19 back in January.
"I couldn't be more excited that we get to keep telling the stories of Meredith, Bailey, Richard and all of the other doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial for another season," Rhimes said when the series was renewed earlier this year. "This is a true testament to Krista Vernoff, the cast, the crew and all the writers who keep the audience on the edge of their seat week after week. And it would not be possible without the generations of incredible fans who have supported Grey's Anatomy for so many years."
"Grey's Anatomy has a global impact that can't be overstated. Grey's touches, and sometimes changes, hearts and minds worldwide through the depth of connection people feel with these characters," added executive producer and showrunner Krista Vernoff. "I'm excited to work with our extraordinary writers to dream up where we go from here, and I'm always grateful to our partners at Disney and ABC for letting us tell bold stories with real impact."
Are you sad to see Ellen Pompeo leaving Grey's Anatomy? Let us know in the comments!