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No Ellen Pompeo?

No problem.

On the heels of Grey’s Anatomy getting set to premiere its 19th (!!!!!) season on Thursday night, showrunner Krista Vernoff sat down with Variety to delve into the subject on the minds of fans across the nation:

Is Ellen Pompeo really leaving?!?

As you likely know by now, the lead actress will only appear in eight episodes this fall, winter and spring — starting with the October 6 premiere.

Pompeo will soon be starring in and executive producing a series for Hulu, while also planning projecys through her production company, Calamity Jane.

“She has so many projects in development as a producer, and the Hulu project as an actress,” Vernoff explains now to Variety.

“And she’s really excited to spread her wings, and we want to support her in that — while she will always be in the fabric of our show.”

Photo via ABC

But will she always be on the show?

Probably not.

Hence why Vernoff and company have chosen to take what she describes here as “a big, bold swing” by bringing in five new series regulars — Harry Shum Jr., Adelaide Kane, Alexis Floyd, Midori Francis and Niko Terho — to portray five new interns.

“The blood of the show — the lifeblood, the early success — was about the impact of trying to become a surgeon when you have no idea what you’re doing,” the producer said to Variety, comparing this upcoming season to the early years of Grey’s Anatomy.

Pompeo
Photo via ABC

Still, the show is called GREY’S Anatomy?

Could be really continue if Pompeo exits completely at some point?

“I think that this show has legs,” Vernoff replied.

“I think that Ellen is extraordinary, and she’s been an extraordinary center of this show for a really long time. And if her career takes her in another direction, I believe that we’ve got a show here with a lot of amazing characters that our fans love.

“And this new class of interns is really exciting.”

As for the reason Meredith won’t be seen much this year?

And why she may someday be gone entirely?

“When you’ve got a woman who has a job that she loves, a career that she loves, a man that she loves, what is the thing that might take her out of the main storytelling?” Vernoff asked Variety rhetorically.

“And my answer to that is: her kids.

“Something happens with her kids that changes the course of her plans for her life. And as a mother, I resonate with that.”

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursday nights at 8/7c on ABC.

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