ABC Monday ended speculation about its long-running medical drama series “Grey’s Anatomy” by announcing that the show will return for an 18th season.
The network also confirmed that the “Grey’s” spinoff series, “Station 19,” will be brought back for a fifth season.
“`Station 19′ and `Grey’s Anatomy’ have done an incredible job of honoring real-life heroes by giving audiences an unflinching look at one of the biggest medical stories of our time,” said Craig Erwich, president of Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment.
He said showrunner Krista Vernoff “and her team of writers have continued to deliver the compelling and compassionate storytelling that is a hallmark of these shows, and created some of the year’s most-talked-about moments in television. We’re so grateful to our talented casts and crews for their extraordinary work that connects with viewers everywhere, and we look forward to sharing even more defining moments with our fans next season.”
Vernoff, an executive producer of both series along with “Grey’s” star Ellen Pompeo, said: “The writers, directors, casts and crews of `Grey’s Anatomy’ and `Station 19′ worked so hard to bring these shows to life this past season. Keeping each other safe on set while paying tribute to the frontline heroes and first responders has been a challenge and a privilege.”
“Grey’s” is still a ratings hit for ABC, which says it has ranked as the top entertainment series among adults aged 18-49 in the shortened 16-episode 2020-21 season, as well as the network’s No. 1 show in total viewers.
The show’s fans had been on the edge since March when, amid protracted negotiations with Pompeo, Vernoff told the Hollywood Reporter that she was “planning a season and a finale that could function as either a season finale or a series finale.”
In addition to Pompeo, fellow original stars Chandra Wilson and James Pickens Jr. also notched new deals to return for season 18. All three are believed to have received sizable pay increases, though the terms of their deals are unknown, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
In late 2017, Pompeo signed a new deal that made her television’s highest-earning actress in a primetime drama series at $20 million a year.
“Grey’s” co-stars Kevin McKidd, Camilla Luddington and Kim Raver will also return for season 18.