Upcoming Grey's Anatomy Season to Include Coronavirus Pandemic

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The upcoming season of Grey's Anatomy will tackle the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a panel discussion that’s part of the Television Academy’s Quaranstreaming: Comfort TV That Keeps Us Going, currently streaming on YouTube, executive producer of the hit ABC drama Krista Vernoff shared that the current global health crisis will be part of the show’s upcoming season 17.

"We're going to address this pandemic for sure. There’s no way to be a long-running medical show and not do the medical story of our lifetimes,” explained Vernoff, who added that “a lot of doctors” often come into the writer’s room to share their stories.

Vernoff shared that by talking to doctors, they get to hear their funny or crazy stories. This year, however, the visits have “felt more like therapy,” she said.

“The doctors come in — we’re the first people they’re talking to about these experiences they’re having. They are literally shaking and trying not to cry,” she shared. “They’re pale and they’re talking about it as war — a war that they were not trained for.”

Vernoff teased that the character Owen, played by Kevin McKidd — who was also part of the panel discussion, is “actually trained for this in a way that most of the other doctors aren’t,” teasing a potential storyline for Owen and his handling of the virus.

She later added that it’s been a really “painful” experience to listen to the doctors share what they’ve seen with coronavirus.

“It’s a lot. I feel like our show has an opportunity and a responsibility to tell some of those stories,” she said.

Shooting for the 17th season has not yet begun and comes on the heels of season 16 concluding earlier than the show had anticipated. The season finale — which was supposed to air on May 16 — aired instead on April 9, in light of production having to stop due to the pandemic.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly back in April, Vernoff said that the show was expecting to have four more episodes of the season, so for the upcoming season, they’ll “have to reset.”

“We certainly can't just shoot what was going to be [episode] 22 and make it the premiere because it wasn't designed as a premiere... So for sure we're going to have to reconsider a lot of things,” she told the publication.

Tags: Navigating the Pandemic, Overcoming Adversity, Pop Culture

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Rose Low

Rose Low is a writer based in New York, with a background in social media strategy and reporting. She has a Masters from NYU and a love for romantic comedies. See Full Bio

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