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Shonda Rhimes: Grey's Anatomy "Will Go On" Without Full Cast

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How do you go about writing a season finale when you don't yet know if you - or your stars - are coming back for another run? Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes recently weighed in on just that.

"It has been tremendously challenging," she told E!. "I've never started a season not knowing how it's going to end. In a weird way, it's been more creative because you don't know where you're going."

It certainly can make for unpredictable and exciting television, and lead to endless speculation about the fate of the cast members who have been with the ABC medical drama since the beginning.

Recent reports and season finale set Twitpics have fueled rumors that one or more characters may be written off the show, or have their storylines left open-ended in case new contracts aren't reached.

Doctors being offered fellowships at other hospitals is one possible route Shonda could take.

Merang

Although ABC has yet to give Grey's Anatomy an official pickup for season nine, Shonda says, "I have been told not to make any other plans. The show will be going on next season, no matter what."

"I am hopeful that it goes on with all of our originals [actors] still in tact. I love them ... Whether or not the show is going to be picked up next season is not the concern, it's who's coming back."

"I know the show can and will go on without everyone we currently have on the cast."

In the meantime, Shonda certainly has a lot on her plate and has been keeping busy with Grey's, Private Practice and Scandal (a new ABC drama starring Kerry Washington, premiering April 5).

She's also preparing for a Grey's Anatomy concert (yes, the actors will sing, a la the musical episode) taking place this Sunday at Royce Hall (UCLA) in Los Angeles, which will benefit the Actors Fund.

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

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Tracy-lloyd-micks-heiba

I hope they all come back! When ever a cast member leaves for "bigger and better" or even different I never usually see their name in lights again! K.H. didn't do that great after she left. I didn't like it when George was killed off or Izzie left but what are they going to do if a "Grey" leaves? A little hard to explain the name with them gone! I don't want it to end for good though!!! If they leave- Shonda will find a way to make it all better for us!!"

Humbugged

@amgsanz said I hope shonda has enough common sense not to continue if none of the main characters come back Shonda won't decide when or under what conditions the show stops .Paul Lee the head of ABC is the guy who decides that ( the same guy who the 6 are negotiating with) . Shonda could quit or get sacked tomorrow and the show would keep going

Amgsanz

Sometimes I think it's all a publicity trick to cause anticipation for the next season ... Because right now we´ll spend the entire summer wondering if the entire cast will return, so this working very well. I hope that everyone will return because otherwise I do not think the series will be the same.
I hope shonda has enough common sense not to continue if none of the main characters come back (Cris, Mer, Der, Alex) it is better to finish with one of the best seasons, as this has been, and does not "disappear" characters without any kind of closure .... an "open end" to me means no end ....

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jojo i would hardly say in the slightest katherine heigl's career has suffered. she has released a total of four big-selling movies since leaving Grey's

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I truly just wan't to see it end, give all original characters a proper send-off and be over instead of beating something that started out great and ending in the crapper like ER did.

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I only hope Shonda would give the original cast proper closures and a farewell if they choose to leave. They deserve it after so many years and so do us fans.

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i'll be happy with meredith, christina, callie, arizona, and alex. everyone else is expendable to me. there's been lots of remarks that the show has a lot of new viewers, so losing some of the originals probably won't impact the show as much as one would assume. just keep the fab five please!

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They say that Grey's in like ER because ER lasted a long time and had many different casts. But, it's not. It's called Grey's Anatomy because it is about Meredith Grey. You can't pull this off without the original cast. End it on a high note, don't ruin it by beating it like a dead horse.

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as a fan of the show since day one I think it will be sad when the main characters go or the show goes off the air. I would like to see proper closer of all the stories and characters. I really hope that us fans get that. I want to know its there last episode and I want to be able to say a proper goodbye to these characters espically Mer and Der and Kristina.

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It would be terrible for the actors to leave the show look at katherine heigl, TR knight once u leave their career will go down hill