How Many More Seasons Will Grey's Anatomy Run?

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Grey's Anatomy's Season 6 finale was one of its most gripping episodes in a long time, and its ratings proved the medical drama can still deliver in that department as well.

But how long will the show keep going? We've debated at length whether its best is behind it already, and there is the major issue of keeping a large, talented cast intact.

Ellen Pompeo recently said that "when my contract is up after Season Eight [in two years], I would probably not renew. I think the world has had a lot of Meredith Grey."

Could the show continue post-Meredith Grey if Ellen were indeed serious? Do other original cast members share that view? Who would be irreplaceable and who wouldn't?

Perhaps more significantly, is there enough material to sustain Grey's Anatomy at a high level? Based on its fans and staying power, two more seasons seem reasonable.

The Chief's Wife

Could Grey's Anatomy survive without ... well, Grey?

Beyond that, though, is a different story. Few shows make it this long, let alone a ninth season. Between cast turnover and dwindling story lines, it's simply a tall order.

This gets us thinking - should the show pull the plug on itself, a la Lost, and announce an end date now? Lost was slated to go off the air this month way back in 2007.

The idea behind this was to cut out filler episodes while giving producers time to plan an appropriate end (although whether they accomplished this is highly debatable).

Might it help give Grey's Anatomy the best possible direction to have an end date in mind, though? Might we get the best possible story lines from the best characters?

Or would you like to see the show follow the lead of ER, with more single character-centric episodes and a large, diverse cast that can withstand high-profile departures?

Note that there is no talk of this happening - it's just us throwing it out there for debate. We can see definite merits of both angles, but are curious what you all think.

Should Grey's Anatomy set an end date?

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."

There's a reason I said I'd be happy alone. It wasn't 'cause I thought I'd be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It's easier to be alone, because what if you learn that you need love and you don't have it? What if you like it and lean on it? What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain? Losing love is like organ damage. It's like dying. The only difference is death ends. This? It could go on forever.

Meredith