Shonda Rhimes never thought Grey’s Anatomy would last over 14 seasons, let alone become one of ABC’s most influential shows. With the medical drama airing its 300th episode, Rhimes and fellow creator Betsy Beers sat down with The Hollywood Reporter and talked about the show’s longevity.
Rhimes and Beers both admitted that they would have been a little more serious in the early years if they had known about the show’s future success. They would have also done a better job negotiating contracts if they would have known the series would make over $2 billion over the course of 14 seasons.
As far as material is concerned, Rhimes was asked about various storylines over the years and if she regretted any of her decisions. In particular, Rhimes talked about the move to not have Sandra Oh’s character have an abortion in Season 2. The showrunner explained how she didn’t want to take such a large risk with the show only in its sophomore season. Even still, she doesn’t regret the move and believes that they didn’t know their characters enough to make those kinds of decisions.
Rhimes also talked about casting some of the major roles on the show and confessed that it was actually as easy process. She revealed that Isiah Washington also auditioned for Patrick Dempsey’s role and that Oh originally tried to land the part of Bailey. They ended up liking Chandra Wilson for Bailey and thought Oh was a perfect Cristina.
When it comes to Ellen Pompeo’s importance to the series, Rhimes believes Grey’s Anatomy doesn’t exist without her. Rhimes values Pompeo’s opinion and explained how the actress often gives her advice on how her character would handle certain situations, like dealing with Derek’s shocking death. Rhimes did not, however, say how much longer Pompeo will remain on the show.
Although the series is in its 14th season, Rhimes admitted that she has thought about ending it multiple times. In fact, she thought about calling it quits after every year until Season 6 when finally got a handle on her busy schedule. With the show’s popularity continuing to rise, Rhimes believes the series will go on until she feels like it should end.
The 300th episode of Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursday night on ABC.