"Grey's Anatomy" will return for at least two more years with a WELL PAID Meredith Grey.
Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter have great new Q&As out with Ellen Pompeo. She just signed a new two-year deal with ABC, extending her stay through "Grey's" Season 15 and 16. The deal also includes an expansion into producing, as well as the directing she started doing last season. In the deal, Pompeo became a producer on "Grey's" midway through Season 14, and a co-executive producer on the upcoming firefighter spinoff.
And how 'bout this note from Deadline:
"With the new pact, which I hear will pay Pompeo north of $550,000 per episode, she is expected to become the highest paid actress in television."
Here are some details from The Hollywood Reporter on that, giving a fuller picture of the total take-home pay:
Get that coin, Mer! That's not counting other work outside of "Grey's" -- other film/TV roles or endorsements. So Sofia Vergara's overall title may still be secure.
Pompeo opened up about making more money, telling THR that Patrick Dempsey leaving was a wake-up call for her:
For me, Patrick [Dempsey] leaving the show [in 2015] was a defining moment, deal-wise. They could always use him as leverage against me — "We don't need you; we have Patrick" — which they did for years. I don't know if they also did that to him, because he and I never discussed our deals. There were many times where I reached out about joining together to negotiate, but he was never interested in that. At one point, I asked for $5,000 more than him just on principle, because the show is Grey's Anatomy and I'm Meredith Grey. They wouldn't give it to me. And I could have walked away, so why didn't I? It's my show; I'm the number one. I'm sure I felt what a lot of these other actresses feel: Why should I walk away from a great part because of a guy? You feel conflicted but then you figure, "I'm not going to let a guy drive me out of my own house." [...]
Things have changed, though. In Shonda finding her power and becoming more comfortable with her power, she has empowered me. And that took her a while to get to, too. It was part of her evolution. It's also why our relationship is so special. I was always loyal to her, and she responds well to loyalty. So, she got to a place where she was so empowered that she was generous with her power. Now, what did that look like? It looked like her letting me be the highest-paid woman on television, letting me be a producer on this show, letting me be a co-executive producer on the spinoff and signing off on the deal that the studio gave me, which is unprecedented.
Read her whole interview for more. It's amazing. She also shades the studio and network for so quickly wanting to rush Meredith back into a new relationship (with Riggs) after Derek died.
Deadline asked Pompeo what convinced her there's at least two more years of life left in "Grey's Anatomy." Here's her answer:
"Well, we have a brand new writer, who's not brand new. She was one of the original writers, she was on the show the first seven years, her name is Krista Vernoff. She left for six years to go work with John Wells and do Shameless, and when Shonda decided to step away and go to her Netflix deal, she enlisted Krista to come on and run the show. Krista is a brilliant writer, so I was really excited of having a whole completely new fresh voice to write the show. We've completely retooled the writer's room which is amazing.
The show is very, very successful monetarily around the world, it makes a ton of money for everybody, and the kids, the new generation, they absolutely love it. I think there's something like 200,000 streams of the pilot a month on Netflix, these are people downloading the pilot for the first time. The show's hugely successful for Disney, for ABC. So everybody's incentivized to keep it going.
It's not like a season 14 show with not good numbers, it's the number one show on the network this year. So we're all just sitting back laughing, saying, 'How long can we keep this going at this level?' We're almost in a competition with ourselves now."
"Grey's Anatomy" Season 14 does have a great mix of feeling both fresh and "old school." It continues Thursday, Jan. 18 at 8 p.m. on ABC. Congrats to Ellen Pompeo!
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