Shonda Rhimes Unsure How to End Season 8 of Grey's Anatomy

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Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice show-runner Shonda Rhimes has said that she usually starts out knowing how she wants a season to end and then works in reverse.

With this season of Grey's, however, she has no clue how to wrap it up.

The reason is simple and boils down to business. With the original cast members' contracts set to expire in May, she's forced to play it by ear more than she might like.

Derek Leans In

“I don’t know what I’m going to do at the end of the season yet,” Rhimes says. “Until we know [who's coming back], we just don’t know [how the season will conclude]."

"So we’re taking it in a different way," she adds, meaning that she's looking at the upcoming season, the medical drama's eighth, as two separate seasons in a sense.

“We’re looking at it in segments,” she says. “We’re planning the first half of the season [now] and then I’ll plan the second half of the season when I know more stuff.”

Rhimes is sure Seattle Grace’s doors will be open beyond May 2012. She's just not sure who will walk through them. “I have no idea,” she hedges. “That’s not my job.”

Think any or all of the original stars will stick around? Would you still watch the show without Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Sandra Oh or Justin Chambers present?

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

Arizona: Oh my God! I mean, I understand why you're into her. She's hot. Wait, she likes you?
Nathan: What? I mean, I'm going to try not to be offended at that.
Arizona: No, no, no. It's just that Derek was--Derek was epic for her. They were the great love story. I mean, that girl's heart beat for Derek Shepherd. It never occurred to me that she would ever be with anyone else. He was perfect. He was everything. That man turned her world. It...I spooked you. Don't be spooked.

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."