The actor, who also executive produces the long-running ABC drama, is reportedly scaling back her role as Meredith Grey for the upcoming 19th season, in which she’ll only appear in eight episodes, according to multiple outlets.
Pompeo will, however, continue to serve as narrator for every episode, Deadline notes, ensuring that her presence will be very much felt in the halls of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital.
Episode orders have ranged between 17 to 24 in recent seasons of the medical series, which has aired a history-making 400 episodes to date.
While Pompeo has been present in nearly every single episode, her role has been increasingly reduced over the years. Last season, Meredith was heavily sidelined for multiple episodes due to storylines involving COVID-19 and a potential move to Minnesota, where she’s been working on a clinical trial.
But Pompeo re-upped her multi-million dollar contract in January, inking a new deal with ABC, which, of course, has a vested interest in extending “Grey’s Anatomy,” as the series remains the network’s top ratings performer.
As for the future of the series, Deadline reports that “there is no decision yet whether Season 19 would be the last for Pompeo as a star,” but there is talk about “possibly extending the franchise with a new medical drama spinoff” should the star depart officially.
In the meantime, Pompeo is embarking on her first major acting project in years, which is at least partly responsible for her break from the ABC drama.
She will star in and executive produce a currently untitled new limited series for Hulu, which has received an eight-episode order at the streamer.
Inspired by real events, the show centers around a Midwestern couple who adopts a child “they believe is an 8-year-old girl with a rare form of dwarfism,” according to Variety.
“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 synopsis continues. “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.”