Calling for change at Grey Sloan Memorial. Grey’s Anatomy has been known for its willingness to tackle important social issues, but as the show gears up for season 19, Ellen Pompeo is ready to change up the execution.
“I think if I had any desire, honestly, it would be to be less sort of preachy in one episode about certain things,” Pompeo, 52, revealed during the latest episode of her “Tell Me” podcast, which was released on Tuesday, August 2. “It’s like, we do one episode about, let’s see … Asian hate crimes is one that we did this past season that was really moving. I think I’d like to see things happen a little more subtly and over time.”
The Massachusetts native added that she wishes the ABC series would “touch on these social issues that are important and have them be threads throughout” each season instead of “consistently [hitting] you over the head for just one hour” only to never broach the issue again.
While the Old School star has been the face of the medical drama as Dr. Meredith Grey for the past 18 seasons, TV Line reported earlier this month that her role in season 19 of the series would be largely reduced to only eight episodes. She will, however, continue to narrate the story and serve as an executive producer behind the scenes.
ABC announced back in January that the hit drama was renewed for a 19th installment with Pompeo, Chandra Wilson and James Pickens Jr. — the only three original cast members remaining — reprising their roles.
News of their returns came just weeks after Pompeo made headlines in December 2021 for saying she’d “been trying to focus on convincing everybody that [Grey’s] should end.”
During an interview with Insider at the time, the Friends alum noted, “I feel like I’m the super naive one who keeps saying, ‘But what’s the story going to be, what story are we going to tell?’ Everyone’s like, ‘Who cares, Ellen? It makes a gazillion dollars.’”
While the staff of Grey’s Sloan Memorial may be coming back for another year, Pompeo’s reduced time on screen will leave more space to focus on her new Hulu limited series. Variety reported earlier this month that the show is still untitled but will span eight episodes and follow a midwestern couple who adopts someone they believe is an 8-year-old girl with a rare form of dwarfism. However, the family will quickly realize not all is what it seems.
Pompeo will star in and executive produce the series along with Laura Holstein and the actress’ Calamity Jane production company for ABC Signature Studios.