Grey's Anatomy Season 17: How Short Will It Be?

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Grey's Anatomy did the impossible. 

It has managed to shoot fresh episodes during the COVID-19 pandemic and bring an original star back into the fold. 

But the series will likely be doing all of that with its shortest season since 2005. 

short anatomy

TV Line is reporting that the ABC medical drama is eyeing fewer episodes for Grey's Anatomy Season 17. 

While a definite episode count has yet to be established, the outlet is reporting that a 16-episode run seems likely right about now. 

Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey Reunite - Grey's Anatomy

TV Line notes, however, that this is a fluid situation and that the number could be slightly higher or slightly lower. 

For now, Grey's Anatomy is set to enter a midseason break after its fall run concludes on December 17. 

Six episodes will have aired by that point, and the series is not scheduled to return until March 4. 

That would make the 16-episode season much more likely, but given that the situation could change, there's a good chance that there will be some standalone episodes thrown in. 

Plate of Doughnuts - Tall  - Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 2

The hit drama typically has a handful of standalone episodes on deck to pepper throughout the season, but there's still no telling whether this will be the final season. 

With Ellen Pompeo's contract up, it's possible that the show could wrap up for good. 

Grey's Anatomy remains a top performer and is currently averaging around 6 million viewers and a 1.3 rating in the demo -- even with last season's results. 

Despite many TV shows falling in recent months, Grey's is proving to be as resilient as ever, with the recent premiere setting a record in delayed viewing for the show, becoming the most time-shifted episode since Patrick Dempsey's exit in 2015. 

Wistful Catherine - Tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 17 Episode 2

It's all pretty fitting when you consider the premiere featured Dempsey's return. 

For now, the series resumes December 3. 

What are your thoughts on the lesser episode order?

Hit the comments. 

Remember you can watch Grey's Anatomy online right here via TV Fanatic. 

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on X.

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