Ellen Pompeo Says ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Needs to Change How It Tackles Social Issues: ‘Less Preachy’

“Grey’s Anatomy” has covered hundreds of social issues over 18 seasons and 400 episodes, and more topical stories are on the way as the show gears up for its Season 19 return. However, Ellen Pompeo said on the latest episode of her “Tell Me” podcast that the long-running ABC medical drama series needs to change the way it approaches stories about social issues. Pompeo is tired of episode one-offs and wants social issues to be more “subtly” threaded through a season.

“I think if I had any desire honestly it would be to be less sort of preachy in one episode about certain things,” Pompeo said. “It’s like, we do one episode about let’s see… Asian hate crimes is one that we did this past season that was really moving. I think I’d like to see things happen a little more subtly and over time. You know, consistently and less sort of hit you over the head for just one hour and then we never talk about it again.”

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Pompeo added, “I wish we could touch on these social issues that are important and have them be threads throughout.”

The actor has called “Grey’s Anatomy” her home for the last 18 seasons, but she’s scaling back on her involvement with the show in Season 19. As Variety reported, Pompeo is set to appear in only eight episodes of Season 19. She will continue to narrate every episode in addition to serving as an executive producer.

News of Pompeo’s “Grey’s Anatomy” scale back was confirmed alongside her casting in a new untitled Hulu limited series. Pompeo is set to play one half of a Midwestern couple who adopts what they believe is an 8-year-old girl with a rare form of dwarfism. As they begin to raise her alongside their three biological children, the couple slowly starts to believe she may not be who she says she is.

Hulu has given the new series an eight-episode order. Katie Robbins (“The Affair,” “The Last Tycoon”) is writing and executive producing, with Pompeo set to executive produce under her Calamity Jane production banner.

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