As Grey's Anatomy airs its eighth season on ABC, showrunner Shonda Rhimes predicts the series could have quite the extended shelf-life.
"We're all interested in doing the show as long as the show is interesting to do," creator Rhimes told reporters during a Television Critics Association panel for her new series, Scandal, Tuesday in Pasadena, Calif. "When I'm done having interesting ideas for the show, I will be done with the show."
That said, Rhimes' ABC colleagues are already entertaining the idea of taking the show well into its 18th season. "I think [ABC Entertainment Group President] Paul Lee has said publicly he wants the show to go for, like, 10 more years," she said. "We'll see what happens."
In the interim, the notoriously tight-lipped Grey's creator says fans will be in for a treat as the series closes out its eighth season.
"I really like the alternate reality episode that's coming up," Rhimes says of the hour airing February 2. "It's pretty amazing. What's happening with Cristina [Sandra Oh] and Owen [Kevin McKidd], from the moment that she decided to have the abortion to where we're going with that, is also pretty spectacular."
And fans of beloved Grey's couple Meredith [Ellen Pompeo] and Derek [Patrick Dempsey] won't be disappointed, either.
"They're going to finish that house by the end of the season and they're going to get to be parents," Rhimes hints. "You're going to see a lot of joy from them. I think it's a really great evolution for their characters."