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Grey’s Anatomy season 19: release date and everything we know about primetime’s longest-running medical drama

Ellen Pompeo and James Pickens Jr. as Meredith and Richard standing in the observation gallery on Grey's Anatomy
Ellen Pompeo and James Pickens Jr. as Meredith and Richard standing in the observation gallery on Grey's Anatomy (Image credit: ABC/Liliane Lathan)

Going into the Grey’s Anatomy season 18 finale, loyal fans of the series weren’t quite sure what new plot twists show writers could come up with that would again create an "OMG moment." Given the drama has been on the air since 2005, some viewers started to wonder what fresh ideas could be written into the series that keep things new and exciting? 

After the season 18 finale, the brilliant minds in the Grey’s Anatomy writers’ room left many fans on the edge of their seats. 

At the end of last season, Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital was in shambles. The residency program was shut down, a couple of doctors quit and were on the run from police and two cornerstones of the hospital and show took a leave of absence with no future plans as to when or if they’d return. 

As essentially the last woman standing, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) is now left to navigate uncharted territory as the interim chief of surgery in the new season. 

Here’s everything we know about Grey’s Anatomy season 19.  

When is the Grey’s Anatomy season 19 release date?

Grey’s Anatomy season 19 is set to premiere on Thursday, October 6, at 9 pm ET/PT on ABC. The episode becomes available to stream the next day over on Hulu

To date, there has been no official announcement made as to when the new season will premiere in the UK. However, once that information becomes available, we’ll be able to pass it along. 

Grey’s Anatomy season 19 cast 

Ellen Pompeo and James Pickens Jr. as Meredith and Richard in Grey's Anatomy

Ellen Pompeo and James Pickens Jr. as Meredith and Richard in Grey's Anatomy (Image credit: ABC/Liliane Lathan)

In some shocking news for all of us Grey’s Anatomy fans, Deadline (opens in new tab) recently reported that Ellen Pompeo is scheduled to only be in eight episodes this upcoming season as Dr. Meredith Grey. The actress is set to star in the upcoming Hulu limited series Orphan. At this time, there is no word how her eight episodes will be spaced out and if this means we are nearing the end of Meredith's time on the series, but we do know Pompeo will still be on hand as an executive producer.

With Pompeo's reduced role, perhaps now would be a good time to bring back some of the show’s vets who left the canvas. For example, Kate Walsh, who played Addison Montgomery, is a good choice. She made appearances in season 18 and as reported in Cinema Blend (opens in new tab), has discussed the possibility of returning. 

In some more comforting news for fans, despite their characters both chastising Meredith and leaving her to run the hospital by herself, James Pickens Jr. and Chandra Wilson are expected to return as Grey’s other originals, Richard Webber and Miranda Bailey. Pickens' other projects include The Conners, Roseanne and 42. Wilson on the other hand has starred in other projects such as Frankie & Alice, and often guest stars in Station 19

Other names we anticipate being a part of the Grey’s Anatomy season 19 are Camilla Luddington (True Blood), Caterina Scorsone (Private Practice), Kelly McCreary (Baby, Baby, Baby) and Anthony Hill (Faith Under Fire). 

By the way, make sure you check out what Kim Raver has to say about her status on the series as Teddy. 

As discussed below, it looks like three new first-year surgical residents are heading to Grey Sloan. Alexis Floyd, Niko Terho, Midori Francis, Adelaide Kane and Harry Shum Jr. have all been cast in the series.

Grey’s Anatomy season 19 plot 

James Pickens Jr. and Caterina Scorsone as Dr. Webber and Dr. Shephard on Grey's Anatomy

James Pickens Jr. and Caterina Scorsone as Dr. Webber and Dr. Shephard on Grey's Anatomy (Image credit: ABC/Liliane Lathan)

It wouldn’t be a Shonda Rhimes show if there wasn’t a heavy veil of mystery as it pertains to storylines and plots. So naturally, at this point, we don’t have a lot to report on what viewers can expect in the new season. 

However, if we again reference the season 18 finale, Grey’s Anatomy fans should expect to see Meredith trying to figure out how to serve in her new role as interim chief of surgery, as she’s most likely going to have challenging days ahead. Not only did Richard Webber (James Pickens Jr.) and Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson) walk away from the hospital, but the residency program has been shut down and Teddy (Kim Raver) and Owen (Kevin McKidd) are on the run from the police. To say the hospital is short-staffed would be an understatement. (Although we should point out, with news of Pompeo's reduced role on the show announced, it doesn't seem Meredith will be in charge of the hospital for long.)

We can’t forget Meredith’s love life isn’t any less complicated. In the season 18 finale, she appeared to have ended things with Nick Marsh (Scott Speedman). Although she attempted to immediately retract the words she uttered dismissing Nick, he never got to hear her plead for him to stay as he hurried out of the halls of Grey Sloan. Does he instinctively know Meredith still loves him? Does he return to fight for their love? 

Other notable events from the finale that have set up interesting storylines heading into the season 19 premiere include the blossoming romance between Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone) and Kai Bartley (E.R. Fightmaster) and the rollercoaster entanglement of Jo Wilson (Camilla Luddington) and Atticus Lincoln (Chris Carmack). 

Grey's Anatomy season 19 news

As we all impatiently await the return of Grey’s Anatomy, we here at WTW decided to do our best to keep fans up to date on all of the official season 19 news. Given that new episodes won’t hit the airwaves until October, it stands to reason that there will be a few announcements released from now until then. However, keep in mind this is Shondaland we’re talking about, so we’re sure much of the new season’s secrets will be kept under wraps. But, we’ll try to find out what we can. 

Alexis Floyd joins cast
If you haven’t heard, Deadline (opens in new tab)is reporting that Alexis Floyd is joining the cast as a series regular. Netflix subscribers will remember that Floyd played Neff in the hit series Inventing Anna

Now for those wondering, Floyd will be playing a first-year surgical resident at Grey Sloan this fall. This casting note is interesting because the program was placed on suspension in the season 18 finale. What this seems to tell us is that Ellen Pompeo’s Meredith Grey manages to get the residency program up and running. Or at the very least, someone does. 

Niko Terho joins cast
It looks like Floyd isn’t the only new cast addition. Once again, Deadline (opens in new tab) is reporting that Niko Terho is being added to season 19 as a series regular. He too is playing a first-year surgical resident. We’re even more certain now with this news that Meredith is able to right the ship over at Grey Sloan. 

Now for those wondering where Terho has previously been seen, he was in the film The Thing About Harry as Harry. On an interesting note, that film saw him co-starring with the Grey’s character we affectionately call "Glasses" or Dr. Schmitt (Jake Borelli). It’s yet to be seen if the actors' former connection will mean anything in season 19. 

Midori Francis joins cast
Another first-year surgical resident is coming to Grey Sloan. The good folks over at Deadline (opens in new tab) are reporting Midori Francis is joining the cast, alongside Alexis Floyd and Niko Terho. Francis has previously starred in Good Boys as Lily and The Sex Lives of College Girls as Alicia.  

So now with there officially being three new first-year residents added to the mix, we have to start wondering about the direction of the show. Is it possible some residents we previously saw in season 18 don’t return? Also, will the new season see Meredith so loaded down with teaching and administrative work to the point she’s no longer performing breakthrough procedures? We can't forget, her last surgery didn't go well, so perhaps teaching and admin duties will provide her an escape from the OR.

 

Adelaide Kane joins cast
The good people over at Shondaland are adding yet another new first-year surgical resident to the fold with Adelaide Kane’s new character according to Deadline (opens in new tab). Her addition to the show marks the fourth new resident preparing to enter the Grey Sloan fold. Kane has previously starred as Rebecca in SEAL Team and Ivy Belfrey in Once Upon a Time

With all these newcomers to the cast, it would seem some people from season 18 are likely headed off the Grey’s Anatomy canvas, although there have been no big announcements about cast departures. As we continue to find out more, we’ll continue to pass along the updates here while formulating our theories for season 19.  

 

Harry Shum Jr. joins cast
It looks like things on Grey’s are about to get a little more “gleeful,” as Glee alum Harry Shum Jr. has officially joined the cast as the fifth new surgical resident according to Deadline. Prior to this exciting new role, Shum has also been featured as Magnus Bane in Shadowhunters and Charlie Wu in Crazy Rich Asians

At this point, all we can do is speculate about what these five new residents mean for the series going forward. Given all of them have received backstories that viewers will likely see play out over the course of the season, perhaps show creators are trying to recapture the magic of Meredith’s resident class, while making Meredith the new Richard/Miranda. 

 

Ellen Pompeo will have a reduced role
We can’t even believe we’re about to say this, but Ellen Pompeo is scheduled to have a more limited role this season. It’s being reported (opens in new tab)that she will only be seen in eight episodes as Meredith Grey. At this moment, we can’t confirm if this means the actress is setting up her ultimate departure from the show, or if her reduced role is only due to the fact she is set to star in the upcoming Hulu limited series Orphan. Either way, we imagine she won’t be the head of Grey Sloan Memorial for too long.  

Grey’s Anatomy season 19 trailer 

It’s still too early for a Grey’s Anatomy season 19 trailer. However, we’ll be sure to post it as one becomes available. 

How to watch Grey’s Anatomy season 19 

Grey’s Anatomy is an ABC original series and as such, episodes will air live directly on the broadcast network. For those that have cut ties with traditional cable/satellite television, ABC is available to stream on live TV streaming services such as Fubo TV, Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV.  

Prefer to watch content on your own time? No problem, as Hulu streams new episodes the day after they air. You can purchase a Hulu subscription in just a few clicks. 

As of now, there hasn’t been an official announcement as to when season 19 will air in the UK. We’ll be sure to provide an update as that information becomes available. Last season, Grey's Anatomy was available in the UK on Sky Witness.

Terrell Smith has a diverse writing background having penned material for a wide array of clients including the federal government and Bravo television personalities.  When he’s not writing as Terrell, he’s writing under his pseudonym Tavion Scott, creating scripts for his audio drama podcasts. Terrell is a huge fan of great storytelling when it comes to television and film. Some of his favorite shows include The CrownWandaVision, Abbot Elementary and Godfather of HarlemAnd a fun fact is he's completely dialed into the TLC 90 Day Fiancé universe.