‘Grey’s Anatomy’: ABC Boss “Hopeful” About Season 18 As Talks About Medical Drama’s Future Get Underway

This past season, ABC said goodbye to its top comedy series, Modern Family. Could Grey’s Anatomy, the network’s top drama — and biggest series overall —  be next this coming season?

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The hugely popular medical drama is heading into a record-breaking 17th season, the second of a two-year pickup. For a legacy show that has been as important to a network as Grey’s Anatomy has been to ABC, a decision on a final season is usually done well in advance so the creative team has the time to craft a satisfying last chapter and fans have the opportunity to celebrate the series throughout its final run.

“We are in conversations now with the producers” about the upcoming 17th season and beyond, ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke told Deadline in conjunction with the reveal of the network’s 2020-21 schedule, noting that the show starring Ellen Pompeo “had just gone back into the writers room” to start work on next season.

“I can’t comment any further,” Burke said, adding, “I’m hopeful that Grey’s Anatomy stays a part of our schedule. They certainly know that we’d like it to be part of our schedule for as long as they are interested in making more episodes.”

Burke shared similar hope in January that the drama would not end with Season 17. “Grey’s Anatomy will live as long as Ellen is interested in playing Meredith Grey,” she said back then.

ABC brass have not gotten an indication from the Grey’s Anatomy producing team yet what direction they may be leaning toward. Burke indicated that, because of the pandemic, any decisions, including the one on Grey’s Anatomy future, may be delayed.

“It’s an unusual year. No conversations are happening in any traditional way,” she said. “Everyone is being very thoughtful to hold off on predictions and try to have as thoughtful and informed a conversation around a show’s ability to keep going or not based on such a fluid production environment.”

Grey’s Anatomy, which moved to 9 PM on Thursday this past season, is the longest running medical drama on television and remains ABC’s flagship series. It is now part of a formidable 8-10 PM block with spinoff Station 19, overseen by executive producer/showrunner Krista Vernoff.

Like many other broadcast series, Grey’s Anatomy‘s most recent 16th season was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic. It was one of the first series to shut down production in the face of the health crisis.

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