Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo recounts show’s difficult early years

Grey's Anatomy season 15 episode 6While Grey’s Anatomy is one of the most successful shows in television history, it didn’t get where it is without some bumps in the road. We’ve heard about many of them in the press, but there are probably others that were tackled and handled behind closed doors. Based on the latest quotes from series star Ellen Pompeo, we believe in the latter now more than ever before.

Within a new interview with Variety, the series star (who has committed to being around until at least season 17) made it clear that there were a lot of early struggles — and really, her own desire to rewrite the legacy of the show is one of the reasons she decided to stick around:

“The first 10 years we had serious culture issues, very bad behavior, really toxic work environment … But once I started having kids, it became no longer about me. I need to provide for my family … It became my goal to have an experience there that I could be happy and proud about, because we had so much turmoil for 10 years,” she continues. “My mission became, this can’t be fantastic to the public and a disaster behind the scenes. [Series creator] Shonda Rhimes and I decided to rewrite the ending of this story. That’s what’s kept me [from leaving].”

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Pompeo does not single out anyone in particular for causing some of the problems on set, but notes that the departure of Patrick Dempsey motivated her to prove to the network that this show could work without some sort of big-name male actor:

“Patrick Dempsey left the show in Season 11, and the studio and network believed the show could not go on without the male lead … So I had a mission to prove that it could. I was on a double mission.”

We think it’s pretty fair to say now that Grey’s Anatomy has done just fine without Dempsey around. Ellen’s shown that Meredith Grey is really the driving force of this show, and with Amelia coming on board and also Maggie, it’s become significantly more about Meredith’s family and her life in a different way. The show has changed, shifted, and evolved; in the end, it’s become a very different but still fantastic product, one that a lot of people out there can be very much proud of beyond just what fans think of it. That feeling of self-satisfaction behind the scenes is equally important.

Grey’s Anatomy is now in the midst of its annual summer hiatus, but production will kick off a little bit later this summer. Meanwhile, be prepared for season 16 to premiere on ABC in either late September or early October.

For some more news all about Grey’s Anatomy…

Check out the link here for more information on the short-term future of Jesse Williams on the series.

What do you think about some of Ellen’s new comments when it comes to Grey’s Anatomy? Be sure to share right now in the comments, and check back soon for some other news. (Photo: ABC.)

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