Ellen Pompeo to Leave Grey's Anatomy in Two Years?

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Ellen Pompeo recently revealed to TV Guide Magazine that after two more seasons as Grey's Anatomy’s Meredith Grey, she’ll walk. That would mean two more after this one.

Creator Shonda Rhimes kept quiet at the time that quote was first uttered, but as that date draws closer, she has some decisions to make about the future of her franchise.

How do you keep Grey’s Anatomy going for a ninth season (crazy to think about)? Can it even be done without the main Grey? Rhimes first planned for this back in 2007.

That's when she introduced Chyler Leigh as Meredith’s little sister, Lexie. But can “Little Grey” really carry the show as the woman who puts the Grey in Grey’s Anatomy?

“It’s possible, but I don’t know that I think of it that way,” says Rhimes.

“In my head, Meredith Grey is staying forever. Ellen says, ‘I have two more years and I’m going to Italy,’ but I also say, ‘Two more years and I’m going to Italy.’"

Closed Circle?

"So I will cross that bridge when I come to it. For me, the show is very tied up in [the relationship between] Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang [Sandra Oh]. If I can convince these original cast members we have left to stay forever, I will get down on my knees.”

Rhimes plans to pull out all the stops next season with episodes returning Meredith and Derek to the hilltop site of their future dream home (see Season Four finale).

“I want to see some house-building,” teases Rhimes.

As for really little Greys filling up rooms there?

“Meredith has said she’s up for baby-making. It was her never-say-never moment,” reminds the show-runner of Meredith’s recent 180 on having children. “The issue as to whether or not they’ll have kids is addressed in the [May 20] season finale.”

Jackson and Lexie Pic

Rumors that Patrick Dempsey may also want out when his contract is up have also surfaced of late, but Rhimes won't have to ask certain stars twice to stay.

Jesse Williams (Jackson) wouldn't mind being McDreamy Jr. to Lexie ... nor would she. “That’s because those two get along like gangbusters,” says Rhimes.

“But I think Justin [Chambers] would fight him for that, because he wants the same thing.” Hmm ... perhaps Mark Sloan has something to say about it too?

Can you see the show going on without Meredith and/or Derek? Can you see Grey's going past a seventh or eighth season at all? Comment below!

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Grey's Anatomy Quotes

MEREDITH: "You don't get to call me a whore. When I met you, I thought I had found the person that I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I was done! All the boys and all the bars and all the obvious daddy issues, who cares? I was done. You left me. You chose Addison. I'm all glued back together now. I make no apologies for how I chose to repair what you broke. You don't get to call me a whore."
DEREK: "This thing with us is finished. It's over."
MEREDITH: "Finally."
DEREK: "Yeah, it's done."
MEREDITH: "It is done."

Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

Meredith (closing voiceover)