Why Ellen Pompeo is taking a step back in Grey's Anatomy Season 19

Ellen Pompeo is taking a step back from her main role as Meredith Grey in the hit series Grey's Anatomy for this special reason

Ellen Pompeo
(Image credit: Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images)

Ellen Pompeo is taking a step back from her role as Meredith Grey in Grey's Anatomy and is set to appear in just eight episodes of the next season.

Following Grey’s Anatomy Season 18 it has been confirmed that there is another season 19 of the beloved series in the works. While fans can't wait until Thursday, October 6, when the next season is released, there are rumors that the upcoming series will have a slightly different format. This is because the main character, Meredith Grey, will be taking a step back and appearing in just eight of the expected 22-episode series.

Deadline (opens in new tab) reported, "Pompeo will appear in eight episodes of the upcoming 19th season, which is now starting production. She will continue to narrate (but may not do voiceover in every episodes) and will remain an executive producer on the hugely popular medical drama, which remains ABC’s top scripted series." 

However, there seems to be a very good reason that Ellen has decided to take a step back, as a new exciting project seems to be on the horizon!

Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey in Grey's Anatomy

(Image credit: Mitch Haaseth / Contributor via Getty Images)

Since taking on the role of Meredith Grey in 2005, Ellen has only taken on one other role, a voice acting gig as Willow in Doc McStuffins. However, it is now rumored that she will be taking on a brand new part, which could be the reason behind her decision to take a less active role in the upcoming series of Grey's Anatomy.

Orphan is a new limited new series from Hulu which will reportedly star and be produced by Ellen Pompeo. The series is inspired by the true story of Natalia Grace, a Ukrainian-born orphan whose American adoptive parents claimed that she was an adult who was pretending to be a child and was in fact a sociopath. Ellen is reportedly set to play the American adoptive mother of the titular 'orphan'.

There is a film of the same name which starred Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, and Isabelle Fuhrman and is one of the most beloved horror films in the past few decades.

Grey's Anatomy

(Image credit: ABC)

Ellen Pompeo has hinted that her 'Grey's Anatomy' exit could be in sight and seeing as she is now taking a step back this could be the actress's way of moving on from the show. It is thought that Ellen will still be around to narrate some of the episodes in the nineteenth season, but it is still unclear what Meredith will be up to. 

In Season Season 17 the character spent a lot of time in a coma, and she was in Minnesota for most of Season 18. So perhaps Meredith will be written out of this upcoming season in a similar way.

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty, and fashion news, and loves to cover anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.


Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.