Since its debut in 2005, "Grey's Anatomy" has aired on ABC for a total of 19 seasons. It reached its peak in 2006 with "It's the End of the World," Episode 16 of Season 2, according to ABC Medianet, which had over 37 million live views (thanks to a boost from Super Bowl XL). With an average of roughly 10 million viewers per episode (plus or minus a million), ratings have been fairly consistent since Season 7, but like with other long-running scripted series, things have gradually become worse over time (via RatingGraph.com). Fans don't yet know if Season 19 will be cancelled or renewed for Season 20 because it is still relatively early in the season.
The romantic, medical melodrama's creator, Shonda Rhimes, has poured her heart and soul into it, but she recently said that she doesn't know how the series will conclude. It's unclear if this is a good or negative thing, but in either case, whether you've been a longtime supporter or just discovered her after binge-watching a streamer, you're undoubtedly interested in how she thinks.
Shonda Rhimes admitted in an interview with People that "This show has had 15 different endings for me, and it still goes on. Therefore, whatever I had ever intended is no longer even marginally relevant, and I guess I stopped thinking about it eight seasons ago." This is a normal outcome of allowing a show to run for so long that the present cast has changed so little since the show's 2005 premiere. It is quite challenging to plan ahead when new characters are introduced and old characters are deleted.
Only three of the initial season's characters—Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo), Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson), and Richard Webber—remain in the current season (James Pickens Jr.). Pompeo has already started searching for the exit when it was revealed that she would play a less part going forward before Season 19 even started. The longer the show runs, the greater the chance that Rhimes may lose its title character and end the show with a climax that irks devoted viewers. People questioned Rhimes about if Pompeo's absence would affect the conclusion, and she responded, "No, we're all good there."
Rhimes confirmed to People that she will be the one to make the final decision on when "Grey's Anatomy" will end, despite the fact that she is also concentrated on other ambitious projects, including as potentially eight more seasons of "Bridgerton."