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Grey's Anatomy: Shonda Rhimes Is Fine Putting The Show's Future In Fans' Hands

Life-saving procedures, heartbreaking moments, and the ups and downs of love while working at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. These are the stories that have left "Grey's Anatomy" fans on the edge of their seats for nearly two decades now. The show first premiered on ABC in 2005, following the lives of five surgical interns, including the show's namesake and narrator, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo). A lot has changed since Season 1. From the departures of the original five interns to the arrival of new generations and the deaths of beloved characters, like Meredith's boss-turned-husband Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey). Despite all of the changes, the show continues to keep a strong hold on the small screen, with Deadline recently reporting a Season 20 order from ABC. And creator Shonda Rhimes said that the show's future belongs to one particular group.

Rhimes told E! News' Francesca Amiker that it's not her pen that is commanding the show's fate, noting that it's the fans that will continue to decide the series' future. "I feel the world really belongs to the fans and the fans have been really clear about what they want... I'm going to leave it alone and see where it goes, and we're going to stay a show as long as everybody wants to be there and as long as the fans want to be there," Rhimes said.

But there was a time when Rhimes had an idea of how the show would end.

What happened to Rhimes' possible endings for Grey's Anatomy?

Shonda Rhimes told People that she was planning the show's end several years ago, noting that she had at least 15 different ideas at one time. But the show's longevity has scrapped those possible endings. "So anything that I had ever planned is no longer even mildly relevant," she noted. Rhimes told Variety that she is not sure if she will pen the final scene of her very first TV show, which continues to experience a lot of change. Rhymes stepped down as showrunner during Season 14, handing the series over to writer Krista Vernoff. Deadline reports that Vernoff has since stepped down from her showrunner and executive producer roles and will be replaced by executive producer Meg Marinis for Season 20. While the show continues to deal with change, its overall longevity has been a big deal for its cast.

"Grey's Anatomy" would not be complete without Meredith Grey, the surgical intern who later becomes the Chief of Surgery while starting a family, losing her husband, and navigating the ups and downs of friendship. Ellen Pompeo stepped down as a series regular during Season 19, Episode 7, "I'll Follow the Sun." And to stay on a show for this long is something that Pompeo never imagined. She told Variety, "It's been this incredible platform for me and allowed me to stay home with my kids so much and not travel and have the circus life of an actor."