'Grey's Anatomy' Season 12 Casting News: Ellen Pompeo's Contract Is Up, Plus Caterina Scorsone Talks McDreamy's Exit

Perry Carpenter

Grey's Anatomy will be venturing into new territory as the series moves forward in the first season without Patrick Dempsey's Dr. Derek Shepherd. With that in mind, what's in store for the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial as the show gets ready for Season 12?

According to Zap2it, there may be another main character that is set to depart from the show. Meredith, played by Ellen Pompeo, could be the next character on the show to call it quits. The show has hinted in the past that Meredith's future might include a battle with Alzheimer's, and if this comes about in the new season, it might mark the end for her storyline.

To add further credence to the reports, Pompeo's contract is set to end after Season 12 of Grey's Anatomy, making it possible that she will not sign on for additional seasons. However, while Shonda Rhimes has declined to comment on the matter, she did reveal some information about what Meredith would be facing in the coming season.

"For Meredith, this journey is really about her coming into her own as a surgeon, figuring out who she is and who she wants to be," Rhimes told the Hollywood Reporter, adding that Meredith will be "standing on her own two feet and trying to be her own person for the first time without the support of Cristina and without the support of Derek."

Meanwhile, other casting news has surfaced concerning the upcoming season. Dr. Ben Warren, played by Jason George, will be a series regular moving forward. George made the announcement from his Twitter account, saying "Thank you @shondarhimes!! Ya'll R gonna have 2 deal w/me and the whole @GreysABC family [f]or a while now!"

Caterina Scorsone, who really became a focal character in Season 11, also recently opened up to Design & Trend about how close the cast is and how Dempsey's exit affected the cast.

"I think one of the incredible things about Grey's Anatomy is that it's been on for such a long time, so there is the opportunity to form relationships that are lasting and that grow and that change. So, I do think it's an incredibly close cast, just because we've had years to get to know each other. If you think about how close you are to your college friends, we've been together — some of us — for more than double that, and [we've] living together in as close quarters. We spend as many hours on set as we do with our families often times, so a lot of people have known each other for an extraordinary number of years, and that just builds a huge intimacy and closeness. I think that always — in terms of how that affects the acting — I think it's always going to be a bonus. Knowing that you've seen each other through things and through life and knowing that you've had each other's backs."

Season 12 of Grey's Anatomy will air Thursdays this fall on ABC.

[Image Courtesy: ABC]