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Krista Vernoff Departs as ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, ‘Station 19’ Showrunner – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: A seismic change at the helm of ABC’s top drama series is coming: Krista Vernoff is stepping down as executive producer and showrunner of Shondaland’s grey’s Anatomy and spinoffs Station 19 at the end of this season – grey’s Anatomyis 19. and Station 19‘s sixth.

“It has been the privilege of a lifetime to be entrusted with driving grey’s Anatomy the past six years and Station 19 for the last four,” Vernoff said in a statement to Deadline. “The passion of the dedicated fandoms and the impact these shows have on hearts and minds cannot be overstated. The amount of talent in these two extraordinary casts and these two brilliant writers’ rooms is beyond measure — and these crews work magic week after week.”

After working on the first seven seasons of grey’s Anatomywho became head writer and executive producer, Vernoff returned to the medical drama as executive producer and showrunner at the start of season 14 in 2017 and has led the show’s recent resurgence.

Since addition Station 19 to her responsibilities in 2019, Vernoff has strengthened the two series’ ties, building an integrated universe highlighted by frequent crossovers. In the first season after Vernoff took over Station 19, the drama improved its year-over-year ratings by double digits, a virtually impossible task amid steadily declining linear ratings.

“Krista Vernoff has poured her heart and soul into it grey’s Anatomy and Station 19, and her voice has been critical to the success of these beloved series,” said Craig Erwich, president of ABC Entertainment, Hulu & Disney Branded Television Streaming Originals. “It takes a formidable leader to run two shows simultaneously, and Krista has done it effortlessly. Her creative power has left an indelible mark, and thanks to her, our viewers will continue to be invested in these dynamic and beloved characters for years to come .”

After creator, executive producer and original showrunner Shonda Rhimes, who remains a creative force on the wildly popular series, Vernoff has arguably been the most influential writer-producer on grey’s Anatomy over its 19 seasons so far. She was behind the dreamy beach theme during Season 17’s Covid-themed theme, which brought back several loved ones Grey’s characters, led by Patrick Dempsey’s Derek, and put the series back at the center of the cultural zeitgeist.

“Krista’s creativity, vision and dedicated leadership have allowed grey’s Anatomy and Station 19 to continue to flourish,” Rhimes said. “I am incredibly grateful to her for all her hard work. She will always remain a part of the Shondaland family.”

Vernoff also acknowledged his mentor and the companies behind the series. “I will be forever grateful to Shonda Rhimes for her trust and to Disney and ABC for their support,” she said.

The writer-producer has been under a collective agreement at Grey’s and Station 19 studio ABC Signature since she returned to Grey’s five and a half years ago and will continue to develop through her company Trip the Light Productions, with several projects already underway, including one on Hulu, I hear.

The succession plan regarding grey’s Anatomy and Station 19 is still being finalized, with deals currently being hammered out contingent on the shows being renewed for next season, which is considered a safe bet based on their performance.

I listen grey’s Anatomy Veteran Meg Marinis, who has been with the show since its inception, rising from researcher all the way to executive producer, is tipped to succeed Vernoff as showrunner on the medical drama.

companion grey’s Anatomy exec producer Zoanne Clack, MD, MPH, who had added executive producer and head writer duties on the spinoff Station 19 under Vernoff, would become co-showrunner of the first-responders drama, sources said. I hear she wanted to share the role The fetuses and Good problems co-creator Peter Paige, co-showrunner on the mothership series and showrunner on the spinoff, who has made efforts on Station 19 as a consulting producer.

This would mark the second promotion in six months for Clack. She came along Station 19 in August amid upheaval in the show’s writers’ room following an incident involving a racial slur at a racist character in a draft outline that revealed long-simmering racial issues in the show. At the time, Clack also remained an executive producer on Grey’s.

This marks the second major grey’s Anatomy departure this season; star/executive producer Ellen Pompeo says goodbye as a full-time cast member in the Feb. 23 premiere episode, “I’ll Follow the Sun,” written by Vernoff. Pompeo will return for the Season 19 finale, which will also mark Vernoff’s finale Grey’s episode — at least for now, as the showrunner isn’t ruling out another return.

“Last time I left Grey’s Anatomy, I was gone for seven seasons and the show was still going when Shonda called me to run it,” she said. “So I don’t say goodbye because that would be too bittersweet. I say ‘See you in seven seasons.'”

Rosy Cordero contributed to this report.

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