'Grey's Anatomy' Creator Shonda Rhimes Says She's Rewritten the Show's Ending 'Eight Times'

'Grey's Anatomy' Creator Shonda Rhimes Says She's Rewritten the Show's Ending 'Eight Times'

Shonda Rhimes doesn't know how Grey's Anatomy will end, but she's had a few ideas. In an interview with Variety, the 51-year-old creator of the medical drama series reveals that she has written and rewritten the ending of Grey's several times.

"I’ve written the end of that series, I want to say, a good eight times," she says. "I was like, 'And that will be the end!' Or, 'That’ll be the final thing that’s ever said or done!' And all of those things have already happened. So I give up on that, you know what I mean?"

Rhimes hasn't served as the Grey's showrunner since she handed over the job to Krista Vernoff in 2017. Given that, she isn't sure that she'll be the one who decides the show's ending at all.

"Am I going to be the person who decides like what the final scene is? I don’t know!" she admits. "If you’d ask me this question three years ago, or prior to Krista arriving, I would have said, 'Yes, I can tell you exactly how it’s going to end.' But once you hand off the ball for real, it’s just different. So I don’t know yet."

She does know, however, know that she'll be the one to decide when the long-running series, which is currently airing its 18th season, comes to an end.

"Am I the person who decides when the show is over? Yes," she confirms. "And I take full responsibility for that when or if everybody gets mad at me."

Series star Ellen Pompeo confirmed as much while speaking to ET in October. The 51-year-old actress told ET that whether the show could continue on without her Meredith Grey is Rhimes' call.

"That is not for me to decide. It is not my show in that way. That would be someone else's decision entirely," Pompeo said, adding that she and Rhimes "definitely talk about it, for sure."

As for what Rhimes hopes the show's legacy will be when it does conclude, she says, "The number of women who have become doctors because of that show is magical to me. The number of people who’ve come to me and told me that they learned how to do CPR, or figured out that they were having a heart attack because of that show, is magical to me."

However, she thinks people may remember Grey's Anatomy for a different reason entirely.

"Sadly, I think the legacy might simply just be that we made it possible for more people of color to have jobs on camera on television, which makes me embarrassed for television," Rhimes says. "… It sounds arrogant to say it, but to me it makes me sad to have to say it: we changed the faces that you see on television. It should not have taken so long for that to happen."

No matter when or how the show ends, or how it's remembered when it does, Rhimes is delighted by what she accomplished with her very first television show.

 "I have a 19-year-old who’s in college right now, and when that 19-year-old was strapped to my chest as a baby, I wrote a show, and that show is still on the air," she marvels. "… It was something I made up 20 years ago and it’s still there, and still existing. It’s inspiring to me!"

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays on ABC.

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