EXCLUSIVE: Because of Grey’s Anatomy‘s record, 19-year run to date and its large cast, the series’ renewal is always followed by negotiations with series regulars whose contracts are up. That sometimes stretches into the summer but this time, deals have wrapped relatively quickly, with all longtime fan favorites set to return as series regulars for Grey’s Anatomy‘s landmark 20th season.
That includes the last two remaining original cast members James Pickens Jr., who plays Richard and Chandra Wilson (Bailey) as well as Kevin McKidd (Owen), who has been on the show since Season 5, Kim Raver (Teddy), who started in Season 6 and then rejoined in Season 14 after a five-year break, Camilla Luddington (Jo), a cast member since Season 9, and Caterina Scorsone (Amelia), who joined in Season 10 after guest starring appearances. (Both Luddington and Scorsone recurred for a season before becoming series regulars.)
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Locking in Grey’s Anatomy‘s longest tenured cast members provides continuity after a big, transitional Season 19, which featured the departure as a series regular of the show’s lead, Ellen Pompeo, as well two other major exits, that of long-time cast member Kelly McCreary and showrunner Krista Vernoff.
Adding to Season 19’s transformational nature was the arrival of five new cast additions, Harry Shum Jr., Adelaide Kane, Alexis Floyd, Niko Terho, and Midori Francis. I hear the show has not yet picked up options on the freshmen but they are all expected to come back.
Pickens, Wilson, McKidd, Raver, Luddington, Scorsone, as well as newer cast members like Chris Carmack and Jake Borelli, helped Grey’s Anatomy to successfully navigate through a generational shift and reinvent itself without its title character by ranking as ABC’s No. 1 entertainment series and No. 1 entertainment series in delayed multi-platform viewing this season.
As for Pompeo, as Deadline reported, the door is left open for her to return on-screen next season, and, while nothing is set in stone, it remains a possibility. (She continues to serve as an executive producer and provide the series’ voiceover).
The two-part Season 19 finale of Grey’s Anatomy airs tonight at 9 PM.
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