Grey's Anatomy season 18 isn't inevitable – that's the bad news. The good news is there's hope that we'll get one more season of everyone's favourite medical show.
Why the delayed diagnosis? Well, before the season started, even showrunner Krista Vernoff didn't know the future of the series, with broadcaster ABC waiting to confirm if it'll continue.
"I'm planning a season and a finale that could function as either a season finale or a series finale," Vernoff told The Hollywood Reporter. "I'm planning for both contingencies and it's hard and it's not ideal. It's not where I wish we were."
The current world situation hasn't helped Vernoff plan.
"We are on fumes," she said. "I don't really have creative space for imaginings of what might happen next year; I'm trying to get through this season. Once I know if this is the final season or not, I can start to try to imagine other things. But trying to simultaneously plan for the end of the series and the end of the season – if it's not the end of the series – it's like breaking two shows. That's what I've got bandwidth for. That, Station 19 and Rebel. That's enough."
But still, it ain't over until the flatline beeps, so here's everything you need to know – in case ABC does perform a last-minute kiss of life to Grey's Anatomy season 18.
Well, as 15 of the 17 seasons have premiered in September, we would have totally guessed another autumn debut. But, with season 17 pushing the schedule to November (for understandable global reasons – covered on the show itself), we're probably looking at a winter 2021 air date for the opening episode, should it go ahead.
Grey's Anatomy is known for its dramatic twists and turns, but unless there's any season 17 shockers, we'd expect to see all of the following return for the show's final season.
Ellen Pompeo (Dr Meredith Grey), Chandra Wilson (Dr Miranda Bailey), James Pickens Jr (Dr Richard Webber), Kevin McKidd (Dr Owen Hunt), Jesse Williams (Dr Jackson Avery), Caterina Scorsone (Dr Amelia Shepherd), Camilla Luddington (Dr Jo Wilson), Kelly McCreary (Dr Maggie Pierce), Giacomo Gianniotti (Dr Andrew DeLuca), Kim Raver (Dr Teddy Altman), Greg Germann (Dr Tom Koracick), Jake Borelli (Dr Levi Schmitt), Chris Carmack (Dr Atticus "Link" Lincoln), Anthony Hill (Dr Winston Ndugu) and Richard Flood (Dr Cormac Hayes).
Of course the show doesn't exist without Pompeo, and she told Variety (speaking about season 17): "We don't know when the show is really ending yet. But the truth is, this year could be it."
Still, ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke doesn't want this to be the end (via Deadline).
"I hope not. Grey's Anatomy will live as long as Ellen is interested in playing Meredith Grey."
But have they started contract negotiations?
"We will let her lead the pace on that," Burke said.
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