Ellen Pompeo has signed a rich new two-year deal with ABC Studios that would keep the actress on board through a potential 16th season of Grey’s Anatomy, EW has confirmed.
Though the long-running ABC medical drama, currently in season 14, has not been renewed officially, the deal would include Pompeo sticking with the show in season 15 and season 16, helping Grey’s to surpass the length of NBC’s stalwart medical series ER. Pompeo’s deal also includes a producer credit on Grey’s, as well as a co-executive producer tag on the upcoming Grey’s Anatomy spin-off.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Pompeo’s new deal brings her to $575,000 per episode. Add that to her producing fee and backend on the spin-off, as well as deals in place with her Calamity Jane production company, and she’ll reportedly net more than $20 million a year. This would make Pompeo the highest-paid actress on a primetime drama.
One of the show’s few originals left, Pompeo says Patrick Dempsey’s exit from the show in 2015 was a “defining moment” for her when it came to her contract. “They could always use him as leverage against me — ‘We don’t need you; we have Patrick’ — which they did for years,” the actress told THR, discussing her paycheck in hopes of empowering other women to seize an opportunity.
Pompeo also says ABC was quick to rush in a new love interest for Meredith, the result being Martin Henderson’s Riggs, who was unceremoniously written off the show earlier this season. “I couldn’t believe how fast the studio and the network felt like they had to get a penis in there,” she said to THR. “We brought in Martin Henderson, but they didn’t love the storyline, so that ended.” Read THR’s full interview here.