Ellen Pompeo Sets Grey’s Anatomy Return, but It Won’t Be for Long


When news emerged that Grey’s Anatomy Season 20 production was underway, there was a big question mark over Ellen Pompeo’s name.

After departing as a series regular during Grey’s Anatomy Season 19, Meredith Grey returned with professional and personal breakthroughs later that season.

Her story was seemingly at its end, but Pompeo had been adamant about coming back here and there following her exit.

And it seems she still has a soft spot for Meredith and her former colleagues because she’s lined up more than one appearance in the upcoming season.

The news came courtesy of costar and director Debbie Allen, who was asked by Entertainment Tonight about Pompeo’s status on the call sheet.

Saying Farewell - Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 7

“Miss Thing is there, honey,” enthused Allen.

“She’s in the first episode, and she’s in the one I’m going to direct.

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“We have to let her go and do some other things, but she’s still our queen. She’s still our No. 1 on the call sheet.”

That’s at least two installments with Meredith, but whether the actress has committed to any episodes beyond them is unclear.

Preparing for Change - Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 7

Pompeo will still be doing the voiceover for every episode, so although we won’t see Meredith in every episode, we will hear from her.

Given that we’re heading into the 20th season of the series, there’s a high probability we should get some big reunions.

But now that the show won’t get its typical full season episode order, there’s also a chance some reunions have been shelved.

Like virtually every other broadcast show, Grey’s Anatomy was delayed from its planned fall return due to the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes.

Mernick Reunited -tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 19

Without actors and writers, there’s no show, so now that production is underway, we’re looking at a 10-13 episode 20th season.

Bringing Pompeo back for a milestone season is a no-brainer, and we know the series likes to feature nods to the past, so it will be interesting to see how the season is handled.

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Meredith had reached an emotional milestone by the conclusion of Grey’s Anatomy Season 19, and she was continuing to add more and more experience to her resume by breaking down barriers in the world of medicine.

The hope is that things will continue going smoothly for Meredith to allow fans to feel like she’s happy, healthy, and spending time with her family.

Boston-Bound  - Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 5

The returning cast includes fellow OGs Chandra Wilson and James Pickens, Jr., alongside Kevin McKidd, Caterina Scorsone,  Camilla Luddington, Kim Raver, Jake Borelli,  Chris Carmack, and Anthony Hill.

Also set to return are Alexis Floyd, Harry Shum Jr., Adelaide Kane, Midori Francis, Niko Terho, and Jaicy Elliot.

We hope Kate Walsh stages a comeback as Addison because she was one of the best parts of Grey’s Anatomy Season 19.

There’s never a dull moment when Addison is around.

Burned Down  - Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 6

As for Pompeo, we’ll be able to see her on-screen in a very different project reasonably soon.

When she left Grey’s Anatomy as a series regular, she was attached to star in and exec produce a Hulu drama.

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Hulu says the drama is “inspired by the story of a Midwestern couple who adopts what they believe is an 8-year-old girl with a rare form of dwarfism.”

“But as they begin to raise her alongside their three biological children, they slowly start to believe she may not be who she says she is,” the logline continues.

Mer and Zola Hug -tall - Grey's Anatomy Season 19 Episode 4

“As they question her story, they’re confronted with hard questions of their own about the lengths they’re willing to go to defend themselves, falling into a battle that’s fought in the tabloids, the courtroom, and ultimately their marriage.”

What are your thoughts on Pompeo’s return?

Are you surprised?

Hit the comments.

Grey’s Anatomy Season 20 premieres Thursday, March 14, 2024.

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

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