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

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 just...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."