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Could 'Grey’s Anatomy''s 17th season be its last?

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ABC/Mike Rosenthal

(LOS ANGELES) — Heading into Thursday’s midseason premiere, Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Krista Vernoff says the future of the Shonda Rhimes medical drama, now in its 17th season, is still up in the air.

After months of talks without striking a renewal deal, she tells The Hollywood Reporter, “I’m planning a season and a finale that could function as either a season finale or a series finale.”

Adds Vernoff, “I’m planning for both contingencies and it’s hard and it’s not ideal.  It’s not where I wish we were.”

The snag seems to be between ABC parent company Disney and Grey‘s star Ellen Pompeo, who signed a deal in 2017 that made her television’s highest-paid actress in a primetime drama series. That pact, which carried her through season 16, was extended to cover season 17 as part of a two-year pickup in 2019.  Pompeo is again asking for a salary increase as part of the renewal discussions.

Vernoff says she’s asked ABC to inform her ahead of time if season 17 will indeed be the last.

“I’ve told them that I have to know before I’m making the finale what we’re making,” she revealed to THR, explaining, “There are a couple of character threads that will change,” explaining “Either there will be closure or I will build something in that allows me to have a bit of a cliffhanger and a thread for next season.”

Incidentally, Pompeo recently told CBS Sunday Morning. that the show’s future past this season isn’t certain. “We honestly have not decided,” she said. “We’re really trying to figure it out right now.”

Grey’s Anatomy airs tonight at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

By George Costantino
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