Grey’s Anatomy fans have known for some time that upheaval was on the way to Season 19 with the upcoming departure of leading lady Ellen Pompeo after nearly two decades as Dr. Meredith Grey, but another surprise exit is on the way. Showrunner Krista Vernoff is handing over the reins of the hit medical drama at the end of the 2022-2023 TV season after six years.
In fact, Deadline reports that Krista Vernoff is stepping down as showrunner of both Grey’s Anatomy and spinoff Station 19, with the latter in its sixth season and paired in primetime with Season 19 of the parent series. Vernoff started on Grey’s in the first season, starting as a writer and ultimately working her way up to executive producer and then named showrunner in 2017. Her first season as showrunner was the fourteenth, which was particularly notable for big changes like the departures of Sarah Drew and Jessica Capshaw.
At the time of writing, no successor has been named as showrunner for Grey’s Anatomy or Station 19, although it’s worth noting that neither has officially been renewed so far. That said, both shows have continued doing well for ABC, even after the news that Ellen Pompeo was on the way out. The odds seem good that there’s a future of at least one more season for the two series, which would mean a new showrunner… or showrunners, if the responsibilities for the shows are ultimately split between bosses.
According to the Deadline report, splitting the showrunner roles for the series is likely the plan, with Meg Marinis – who, like Vernoff, started at Grey’s Anatomy back in the beginning of the show – expected to take over as the next showrunner. It would be a big rise for a woman who started at the show as a researcher and has since moved up the ranks. As for Station 19, it’s expected that executive producer and writer Zoanne Clack would be promoted to co-showrunner, alongside Peter Paige of The Fosters and Good Trouble as a co-showrunner.
Krista Vernoff’s departure raises many questions about the future, not the least of which is whether crossovers between Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19 will be as frequent in the event that both are renewed for the 2023-2024 TV season. ABC has aired two-parters between them and even delivered massive twists in the crossovers over recent seasons, with Vernoff helming both shows; can two-hour events be coordinated as frequently with different sets of runners?
Only time will tell on that front, as Vernoff will remain showrunner through the end of the seasons, which will presumably conclude in May as per usual. Ellen Pompeo’s time as the face of Grey’s Anatomy will conclude much sooner, as she’ll bow out when the drama returns in the 2023 TV premiere schedule with its winter premiere on Thursday, February 23 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC, following the Station 19 winter premiere at 8 p.m.
With weeks still left to wait before seeing Ellen Pompeo’s swan song, you can always revisit earlier episodes streaming with a Hulu subscription, along with Station 19 and even original spinoff Private Practice, which starred Kate Walsh prior to her return to Grey’s more recently. Walsh has shared why fans should keep watching Grey’s even after Pompeo exits.