Ellen Pompeo is one of TV’s best-paid actors. She is the star and co-executive producer of one of the longest-running primetime dramas, and, as she let Denzel Washington know, wields significant power and influence over her domain. And she’s begging someone, anyone, to let her stop.
In an interview with Insider, Pompeo sounded desperate to pull the plug on Grey’s Anatomy, which is currently in its 18th season on ABC. “I’ve been trying to focus on convincing everybody that it should end,” she told the publication. “I feel like I’m the super naive one who keeps saying, ‘But what’s the story going to be, what story are we going to tell?’”
So far, her pleas have landed on deaf ears: “Everyone’s like, ‘Who cares, Ellen?’” said Pompeo. “It makes a gazillion dollars.’”
The question of what stories to tell probably does weigh heavy on the minds of Grey’s creators. After weaving tales of train wrecks that result in double-impalings, bloodthirsty escaped lions, icicle stabbings, and plane crashes, after giving its lead character not one, but two secret sisters, where else is there to go? We’ve seen alternate realities, we’ve seen musical episodes. This is a show that dropped its now-infamous ghost sex storyline in season five. What could a 19th season possibly bring?
This is not even the first time that Pompeo has told the press that she’s looking for the exits. In September, she suggested that whenever she gets close to breaking the glass and pulling the emergency fire alarm, ABC just keeps throwing more money at her. “I’ve been trying to get away for years,” she told ET. “I have been trying. It’s not because I haven’t been trying. I have strong relationships at the network and they have been very, very good to me, and have incentivized me to stay.”
There’s something both irking and refreshing about Pompeo’s pleas to power down the money machine and let the sexy surgeons of the Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital go gentle into that good night. Sure, her time on the show may have made her obscenely wealthy, but that doesn’t mean that the far more modestly remunerated members of the series’ crew don’t need the gig, tired though the storytelling may be. Still, it’s nice to hear someone at the heart of an entertainment behemoth speak honestly about the fact that, considered purely on its artistic merits, it could be in need of the Old Yeller treatment.