Grey's Anatomy Star Ellen Pompeo Will Appear in a Fraction of Season 19 Episodes

Meredith Grey may have chosen to stay at Grey Sloan Memorial in the Season 18 finale of ABC's long running hit series Grey's Anatomy, but that doesn't mean fans will see that much of the beloved character in the series' upcoming 19th season. Deadline reports that Ellen Pompeo, who plays Grey, will only appear in eight episodes of the new season. Additionally, Pompeo will continue narrate the series as well and will also continue to be an executive producer on the series. Production on Season 19 is underway.

The role reduction comes as Pompeo takes on a new role in Hulu's Orphan limited series. The role will mark the first non-Grey's Anatomy role for Pompeo in nearly two decades. Hulu's Orphan limited series is inspired by the real story of Natalia Grace, a Ukrainian-born young woman whose case made headlines in 2019 when her American adoptive parents claimed that she was actually an adult "sociopath" who was pretending to be a child.

Grey's Anatomy was renewed for Season 19 back in January, nabbing an early renewal from ABC. Executive producer Krista Vernoff remains onboard as showrunner for the new season.

"Grey's Anatomy is a true phenomenon, beloved by audiences around the world. Whether they catch it live on ABC or stream it on Hulu or globally on Disney+ or Star+, it's clear that fans can't get enough of Shonda Rhimes' brilliant creation," said Dana Walden, chairman of Entertainment, Walt Disney Television, in a press release. "We have enormous faith in Shonda, Krista Vernoff, Ellen Pompeo and the entire creative team to unlock new, untold stories that will continue to focus on modern medicine, tackle the issues that shape the world around us, and resonate deeply with loyal fans for years to come."

"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," said Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes. "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."

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"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," said 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."

Grey's Anatomy is set to return for Season 19 on Thursday, October 6th at 9/8c on ABC.