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How many episodes of Grey’s Anatomy Season 19 will Ellen Pompeo be in?

Ellen Pompeo is stepping back from appearing in a full season of Grey’s Anatomy. How many episodes of Season 19 will she be in?

Grey’s Anatomy is one of those shows we keep a close eye on. It’s heading into its 19th season, but every season we wonder if it’s going to be the last. A lot of that depends on whether Ellen Pompeo is going to sign on for another season. The standard line has been that there isn’t a series without Meredith Grey.

It looks like Grey’s Anatomy* is testing the waters, though. Pompeo is stepping back from a full season of the series. She’s taking on another project, and that means she needs to spread her time available across the two of them. What does this mean for Meredith’s story on the series?

Ellen Pompeo isn’t in all episodes of Grey’s Anatomy Season 19

Deadline reported the news that Pompeo would step back from the series. She will appear in a limited capacity. It’s something NCIS opted for when Mark Harmon didn’t want to be in the full season but it wasn’t time to cancel the show. NCIS has worked, but can Grey’s Anatomy? Some of this will depend on how Meredith is written out for some of the episodes.

Meredith will appear in eight episodes of the season. It looks like the season can get back to around the 22-episode season that’s normal for a fall show, which means less than half of the season will include Meredith. However, Pompeo will continue to narrate every episode, so it probably won’t feel like she’s gone.

Pompeo has decided to step into another role for the first time in almost 20 years. She is part of the new Hulu series Orphan, which is based on the true story of a family claiming their adopted daughter was an adult pretending to be a child.

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What do you think of Ellen Pompeo not being in every episode of Grey’s Anatomy Season 19? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Grey’s Anatomy Season 19 will premiere on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 9/8c on ABC.