‘Grey’s Anatomy’ future: How long will fans be willing to tune in?


“Grey’s Anatomy” has been one of ABC’s top shows for the last ten seasons. The future of the series has been in question during recent seasons because of the pending departure of the original cast, but Paul Lee, the man in charge of the network sees no end in sight for the medical drama. How long will fans continue to tune in though? Will they be willing to join other fans weekly to watch the drama unfold in the halls of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital? Or will fans stop tuning in eventually and look for their Thursday night entertainment elsewhere?

“Grey’s Anatomy” has definitely proved that it has staying power. Fans began tuning in almost ten years ago. Faces have come and gone, but most of the original cast has stayed in tact. Sandra Oh will be the next member of the original cast to leave the series. She announced her upcoming departure before season 10 began production, and she will leave the series in some way at the end of the season. Shonda Rhimes already knew how she would exit when the season began. Paul Lee said the following at the Winter TCA event for the network last week, according to E! Online:

“Shonda Rhimes is one of the greatest writers that our generation has seen. She’s continuing to write an immensely powerful show. It makes you laugh and cry every week, and what season are we now? And by the way, to her enormous credit, it is completely different than Scandal. And I love it. I think it’s going to stay on the network for many years to come.”

This series is still highly popular with fans. It wins big in the ratings department week after week. Those that don’t catch the series live watch the series on demand or on their DVR’s during the week that follows. In fact, according to TV By The Numbers, the mid-season finale saw a 78% jump in viewers when the viewing numbers for the week were added in. With those numbers, it was ranked in the top ten for the week.

This proves that the series is still one of the top shows on television, but it is also safe to say that the series has had its ups and downs as well. Fans didn’t always like the stories told on the series. One plot line that received negative fan reaction was the Denny ghost line during season five. Izzie Stevens, who was played by Katherine Heigl, saw the ghost of her dead love. However, it turned out to be a brain tumor causing the hallucinations. Denny did appear to others on the series though, but he will never be seen again. Heigl departed the series soon after.

Not every series is perfect, and “Grey’s Anatomy” manages to get it right more often than not. It causes both laughter and tears week after week. Fans react to the series and its biggest moments. Fans reacted strongly after the death of Lexie Grey during the season eight finale. It was talked about for weeks after the finale episode aired.

What would happen if the original cast left entirely? It is called “Grey’s Anatomy” after all. If Meredith Grey went away, would the series need to change its name? No, Shonda Rhimes made sure of that when the hospital was renamed from Seattle Grace to Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. The series could keep its name because the drama is centered at the hospital. However, news broke late on Thursday via The Hollywood Reporter that both Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey had signed new two-year deals for the series.

Another medical drama, E.R. on NBC managed to remain on air for fifteen seasons before it ended. New faces came and went throughout. It was still considered a top series when it ended its time on television in 2009, but it saw the writing on the wall too. The series was losing viewers towards the end. Could “Grey’s Anatomy” last another five seasons before the writing goes up on the wall? That all depends on Shonda Rhimes. Will she have stories to tell to fill those five seasons? That seems to be the biggest question.

What do you think? Will you keep watching “Grey’s Anatomy” on ABC?

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