‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Season 21: Ellen Pompeo to Return for at Least 7 Episodes

The actress reduced her onscreen time on the ABC medical drama in Season 19

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Ellen Pompeo in "Grey's Anatomy." (Disney/Nino Muñoz)

“Grey’s Anatomy” is paging Dr. Meredith Grey for a longer shift in Season 21. Ellen Pompeo has signed on to appear in at least seven episodes of the 18-episode season, TheWrap has learned, marking an increase in her onscreen role in the ABC medical drama since her character’s dramatic farewell midway through Season 19.

Pompeo initially reduced her role on “Grey’s” to make room for other projects, including the upcoming, still-untitled Orphan limited series at Hulu, in which she costars with Mark Duplass. The actress remains an executive producer on the longrunning drama series, and provides the voiceovers for nearly every episode in her absence.

The news should be a good sign for fans following the chaotic Season 20 finale, where virtually every key doctor at Grey Sloan Memorial was either fired — including Meredith — or threatened to walk out of the hospital.

After discovering that Meredith and Amelia (Caterina Scorsone) had carried on with their unauthorized Alzheimer’s research at Grey Sloan behind Catherine’s (Debbie Allen) back, Meredith went rogue and chose to publish her findings against Catherine’s wishes and handed in her resignation from her foundation — securing that Amelia, Teddy (Kim Raver) and Owen (Kevin McKidd) were also out of a job as collateral damage.

Catherine also found herself at odds with the newest class of interns and Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson), while Richard (James Pickens Jr.) pondered whether to finally retire from surgery. All the drama unfolded amid reports that the series could reduce the screentime of some of its longest tenured cast members in Season 21 as a cost-cutting measure.

The show is also set to say goodbye to series regulars Jake Borelli, who plays Levi Schmitt, and Midori Francis’ Mika Yasuda, with both set to wrap up their storylines in Season 21. But there’s also a happy return to look forward to, as former series regular Jason Winston George will reprise his role as Benjamin Warren full time in Season 21, following the end of spinoff series “Station 19” this past spring.

Deadline first reported the news of Pompeo’s episode count.

“Grey’s Anatomy” returns with Season 21 this fall on ABC. All episodes are available to stream now on Hulu and Netflix.

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