Ellen Pompeo Open to Grey's Anatomy Return

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Contrary to previous statements she's made - including that she believed she would "finish the show when my contract is up" - Grey's Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo says she may stay on after this season.

If the network and producers will have her, of course.

"I was invited for eight years - that was my contract - and no one has asked me for a day more," she says. "I know [creator] Shonda Rhimes has said the show will continue, but I wouldn't presume that they want to continue with me. You don't get dressed for the party if you don't have an invitation."

Rule Breaker

Assuming ABC does ask her back, though, would Ellen be up for it?

"I would love the opportunity to discuss it," she tells TV Guide. "I would never turn up my nose at Grey's Anatomy."

"As long as the stories are honest and truthful, and Patrick [Dempsey] and I feel that there is still material for us to be passionate about, it still beats a 9-to-5 job any day."

"If the fans want us to keep going, then I would continue because we owe them everything."

She's not speaking for Patrick Dempsey, who has also indicated that he will exit next spring, along with Sandra Oh. Surprisingly, Ellen says it wouldn't necessarily deter her from continuing Meredith's story, however.

"I have been blessed to work beside Sandra Oh for the past eight years; she's an incredible talent," says Ellen, who feels the same way about "all the original cast members who aren't there anymore - T.R. [Knight], Isaiah [Washington], Katie [Heigl]. I didn't think the show could go on without any of them, yet we found a way to do it."

"It might be an interesting story for Meredith to have to deal with losing Cristina."

Shonda Rhimes says she has indeed "thought of some scenarios" should Patrick choose to leave while Ellen remains, but is unsure how to end the upcoming eighth season.

"I would be lying if I didn't say that I lie awake at night wondering what would happen," she says. "I have some ideas. Do I love them? I don't know yet. I'd prefer to think of them as Armageddon scenarios. There are no easy answers."

Would you watch Grey's Anatomy without Meredith and/or Derek and/or Cristina?

Tell us what you predict will happen and how you think it would shape the show.

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're me.
Amelia: What?
Meredith: You're me before Derek. I can be here for you. I can do this. I get you. I can be a twisted sister for you. Just tell me how do you want to play this?

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)