We wondered just one day ago about the state of Ellen Pompeo’s Grey’s Anatomy, contract, and we are rather pleased now to have an answer in a very big, significant way. The longtime series star has just inked a new deal, one that is going to keep her on the show until a potential season 16. (ABC has not ordered another renewal for the show just yet, but such a deal seems to be likely based on where things are at the moment.)
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Pompeo’s deal is a rich one — she will earn roughly $20 million a year in between a bonus, receiving close to $600,000 an episode, backend, and producing deals. It’s also clearly something much deserves when you consider the sheer amount of time and effort that she has personally put into making this show a success. She’s a huge component in its ratings and why so many viewers are watching. There is, after all, no Grey’s Anatomy without Meredith Grey.
There are a few other interesting components to Pompeo’s interview, beginning with how negotiations involving both her and her former co-star Patrick Dempsey were sometimes awkward, as he was not always interested in negotiating with her:
“Patrick [Dempsey] leaving the show [in 2015] was a defining moment, deal-wise. They could always use him as leverage against me — ‘We don’t need you; we have Patrick’ — which they did for years. I don’t know if they also did that to him, because he and I never discussed our deals. There were many times where I reached out about joining together to negotiate, but he was never interested in that. At one point, I asked for $5,000 more than him just on principle, because the show is Grey’s Anatomy and I’m Meredith Grey. They wouldn’t give it to me. And I could have walked away, so why didn’t I? It’s my show; I’m the number one. I’m sure I felt what a lot of these other actresses feel: Why should I walk away from a great part because of a guy? You feel conflicted but then you figure, “I’m not going to let a guy drive me out of my own house.”
Pompeo also revealed some of the surprising origins of the Nathan Riggs storyline, which came following the death of Derek and ran until Martin Henderson departed earlier this season:
“So, what does it look like when he leaves the show? First, it looks like a ratings spike, and I had a nice chuckle about that. But the truth is, the ink wasn’t even dry on his exit papers before they rushed in a new guy. I was on vacation in Sicily, decompressing — it was a long working relationship and it was a tumultuous end and I needed a moment to just chill with some rosé — and they’re calling me, going, “What do you think of this guy?” “What do you think of this guy?” And they’re sending pictures. I was like, “Are you people f—ing nuts? Why do you feel that you have to replace this person?” I couldn’t believe how fast the studio and the network felt like they had to get a penis in there. We brought in Martin Henderson, but they didn’t love the storyline, so that ended.”
This is probably as candid as you’re ever going to see anyone get about Grey’s Anatomy, given executive producer Shonda Rhimes’ longstanding mantra of “what happens in Shondaland, stays in Shondaland.” She doesn’t often dish out a lot of behind-the-scenes details, but clearly here Pompeo was willing to get a little bit more candid that we often see others be.
For now, let’s just ask this: Are you glad that there is a Grey’s Anatomy season 15 deal for Ellen Pompeo, even if the show’s not officially renewed as of yet? Share in the comments.
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