McDreamy might be dead, but the plot of “Grey’s Anatomy” still has a very strong pulse, according to ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee. During the 2015 Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills on Tuesday, Lee revealed to fans of the medical drama that Season 12 of the beloved long-running show will evolve dramatically following the heartbreaking death of surgeon Derek Shepard (Patrick Dempsey).
"We've seen the pitch for ‘Grey's Anatomy’ for next season. The show reinvents itself again," he revealed before praising Shonda Rhimes as a “remarkable show runner.” So should audiences be worried that Season 12 of the Thursday night drama could possibly be the final installment of the Seattle series? Well, Lee cast away our fears when he promised viewers that “we have no reason to expect that ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ will not go on for many, many years to come.” Phew!
In addition to discussing the future of “Grey’s Anatomy” during the ABC summer press tour, the network president also touched upon the past -- specifically discussing the death of Derek, a fan favorite.
“It was great, wasn’t it?” he said of the demise of Dempsey’s character, which dramatically shook up the Season 11 storyline and the hearts of fans. “It was great to see ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ so relevant.”
But despite how beneficial his death was for the plot, Lee added that is was also a “difficult decision” to kill off Meredith’s (Ellen Pompeo) soulmate. Derek died after getting into a car crash toward the end of the eleventh season -- one that left him with such severe head injuries that he eventually perished from the wounds after doctors neglected to tend to them. Meredith was then forced to take Derek off of life support in one of the most gut-wrenching scenes we’ve seen to date on the series.
But like Ellis (Kate Burton) says, the carousel never stops turning. And in Season 12, Meredith will continue on without Derek and Cristina (Sandra Oh, who left the series during Season 10) in an exciting new journey.
"I have always said what keeps me going is the fans. Knowing we move you and inspire you. There are so many people out there who have suffered tremendous loss and tragedy. Husbands and wives of soldiers, victims of senseless violence and parents who have lost children," Pompeo wrote on Twitter in April, breaking the silence after her TV husband’s death. "People who get up each day and do what feels like is the impossible. So it is for these people and in the spirit of resilience I am honored And excited to tell the story of how Meredith goes on in the face of what feels like the impossible. I hope you will all join me on her journey. With gratitude and respect, Ellen."
“Grey’s Anatomy” Season 12 will premiere on Thursday, Sept. 24, at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC.