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.


Grey's gabble tends to have the storylines first. It's more iterested in following the actors too. They still promote actors who have left GA too. Plus isn't standard for actors to sign to do 7 seasons. Ellen said she was signed for 7 seasons ( she said this prior to her pregnancy being announced)


I agree nelson. Not sure how long any character spin offs would last though. I think PP would struggle too if left on its own with out GA


I think it needs to end when Ellen and Patrick are done. Then there needs to be a spin off for the actors still interested in their characters.


dont want it to end!.. i love Grey's anatomy


@ Abbie OOOOpppps sorry i wasn't trying to correct your information i thought you were asking if Shonda set a date so my mistake :) as for your thoughts concerning the show if Ellen doesn't renew after season 8 i totally agree with you :)


@ Joan I never said that Shonda set an end date for the show. I said IF they had a set end would give the writers enough time to tie up loose ends and give the fans the payoff they deserve. I think it would be better that way than going from one season to the next without knowing if that was going to be their last season and then leaving some stories hanging. I still stand by my thoughts on the matter. If EP is serious about season 8 being her last season, I think that is when the show should wrap up. Let them do a spin-off or something with the remaining characters, but Grey's Anatomy without Meredith Grey just isn't going to be Grey's Anatomy. I love Lexie, but she is not as complex a character to be able to carry the show the way Meredith has been able to.


Wow! If Grey's does end, it would have brought me from fourth grade (when I first started watching it), to the end of my freshman year of high school! That's a LONG time. I'll be really sad if it does...I've sort of grown up with this show. I've thrown myself into the drama and felt like I was there with them. It's even helped me deal with some of my own drama..(cheesy, right?) haha. If it really has to end in two seasons, then I hope they end it well. And I don't think it would go on very well without Ellen/Meredith..unless her storyline has an appropriate ending. Like Izzie's didn't tie up correctly for me. George's was okay...(I wish when Mer would have her McBaby that George could see... :( ) But Ellen's has to be GOOD. EXCELLENT.


@ Abbie and JDC
Shonda never set an end date for the show all she said was the show is sure to be on for the year 2012 wether after that they would continue with it depends on many things first the ratings,audience wether ABC wishes to renew the show we shouldn't also forget Production Cost some popular shows got cancelled not becuase of ratings but production cost and the most impportant example is FRIENDS on NBC and the other reasons wether Shonda wishes to continue with the show if she fails to persuade the main actors Ellen & Patrick to renew their contracts and as i said before i have a strong feeling that if one doesn't renew the other won't 'cose they're like one package but i think if the finale is of any indication next season would be extraordinary so i think Shonda will do her best for Ellen and Patrick to stay ( i mean she said that she would go on her knees and beg them to stay)but i mean we just adore this show that we're worrying ourselves way ahead of time :) relax and let's hope for an extraordinary 2 seasons so the actors would work for a contract renewal :) :)


I think the show should end after season 8 if that's how long EP is staying until. I would be sad to see it go, but Grey's Anatomy without Meredith Grey as the lead just wouldn't be Grey's Anatomy. I think if the writers had a set end date, they would be able to tie up loose ends and get all the characters to where they want them to eventually end up, hopefully with some sort of payoff for the fans who stuck by them through it all. If they really wanted to, they could probably do another spin-off with a few of the more popular characters...but once EP leaves, that is when Grey's Anatomy should take its final curtain call.


@ joan I don't think it would be bad if it ended with season 8, but who doesn't want their favorite show to go on forever (assuming it remains fulfilling). My main concern with Ellen Pompeo not renewing her contract makes me feel like if they continue the show after season 8, perhaps she will make appearances but won't be in every episode. And if Meredith Grey appears less in episodes, Derek will most likely too since they are associated with one another. It's like you can't take the Mer or Der out of MerDer, or the whole thing vanishes. And if Derek isn't on the show anymore, then I'm done for sure. He is the character I am the most interested in, and his relationships too.


Grey's Anatomy Quotes

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)

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.