Patrick Dempsey on New TV Gig, Grey’s Anatomy’s ‘Remarkable’ 200th Episode, Season 11 Contract Talks: ‘It Would Be a Shame to End This’
As he approaches the decade mark with Grey’s Anatomy, Dempsey must soon decide whether he wants to continue playing Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd beyond the ABC hit’s upcoming 10th season or hang up his scrubs and pursue his true passion — racing — full time.
In the following Q&A, Dempsey offers an update on his current contract talks, reveals how (and when) he found out that co-star Sandra Oh was leaving, teases the show’s landmark 200th episode, and previews his other TV gig — the four-part Velocity docu-series Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans (premiering Wednesday at 10/9c).
TVLINE | What do you think your fans will be most surprised to learn while watching Racing Le Mans.
We don’t hide anything. We’re very open about the triumphs and we’re very clear about the mistakes. It shows the journey and the learning process. And it will hopefully bring some awareness to the history of racing in this country, and the importance of what Le Mans represents for endurance racing.
TVLINE | How involved in the editing were you?
Very involved. It’s hard to keep any kind of objectivity though. I don’t particularly enjoy the process because it’s me. There’s nothing to hide behind, other than the racing. But we have good discussions about what’s really right for telling this story and what the honest approach is.
TVLINE | What are some common misconceptions about racing and, in particular, racers?
I don’t think people quite understand road racing in this country. Oval racing and NASCAR have overwhelmed it. But road racing was a very big part of this country [starting] after World War II. People don’t really understand the depth of the history of road racing, and the kind of commitment and focus and luck and passion it takes to be able to win a race.
TVLINE | Would you at some point like to pursue racing full time?
I would love to. It depends on sponsorships. It depends on not being on a show. It’s kind of amazing, the [commitment] level I have right now with the amount of responsibility I have with the show and everything else.
TVLINE | Is creating a little more flexibility in your Grey’s schedule important to you as you consider signing on for Season 11?
Everything is open to a conversation at this point. Grey’s has been such a remarkable ride. Shonda [Rhimes] has been incredibly supportive. I enjoy Grey’s more than ever in many ways. Our relationships have grown considerably. We’ve all matured over the last 10 years. So it would be a shame to end this.
TVLINE | What was your reaction when you heard Sandra was leaving?
We found out right at the end of the table read for the 200th episode. She took the cast aside individually and said, “I’m going to leave the show.” With any member of the show, especially the original cast, it’s always sad to see someone leave.
TVLINE | How was the table read for Episode 200?
It was a blast. Everybody was really celebrating the achievement. There was openness and a joy in the entire room. It was a remarkable day.
TVLINE | Any teases about the episode?
We’re not allowed to talk about it. You know Shonda! [Laughs]
Dexter‘s daddy won’t be off the air for long.
James Remar has been tapped for a multi-episode arc on Grey’s Anatomy‘s upcoming tenth season, TVGuide.com has confirmed.
Details on Remar’s role were not available. As first reported by TVLine.com, Remar will appear early on in the season.
Remar has played Dexter’s (dead) adopted father, Harry Morgan, since Season 1. Remar, who is also known for his role as Richard on Sex and the City, has recently guest-starred on Wilfred, Hawaii Five-0 and The Vampire Diaries.
Grey’s Anatomy returns for a two-hour Season 10 premiere on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 9/8c on ABC.
Who do you think Remar will play?
Grey’s Anatomy: Shonda Rimes Talks How Much Longer Grey’s Anatomy Will Go, Future of Cristina and Owen
Anyone else wanting to crawl in bed and spoon Cristina Yang, Meredith-style?
After news broke that Sandra Oh will be leaving Grey’s Anatomy after the 10th season, fans are left wondering how much longer the series can survive.
Creator Shonda Rimes exclusively tells E! News that she believes ABC will keep the series going as long as she personally is engaged in the show, and possibly even after.
“I see the show going as long as I continue to be interested in the show,” Rimes tells me. “And then I don’t know about the network, because they might see it going after me. But as I see it, as long as I’m interested and have stories to tell, I’m excited about being there. And I feel like that is my thing. I don’t want to be somebody who does something in a mediocre manner or sort of doesn’t care. So as long as I’m really invested, I want to be there.”
Sandra Oh, Patrick Dempsey and Ellen Pompeo signed two-year deals in 2010 to take them through the 10th season. We are told Kevin McKidd (Oh’s longtime love interest, Owen) will stick around through season 10 as well, and possibly beyond. ABC does not comment on actor contracts.
Rimes tells us that Owen and Cristina, a fan-favorite couple who split in the ninth season finale, will be “grappling with what it means that that they broke up. And it will be emotional.” And by season’s end, Cristina will get “the exit she deserves.”
Rimes speaks passionately about what’s in store for season 10, telling us: “I’m really excited about all our stories. We’ve got some really big stories happening and the two-hour episode premiere is going to be amazing. Callie (Sara Ramirez) and Arizona (Jessica Capshaw), it’s going to be emotionally, really strong. Owen and Cristina just broke up. Meredith (Pompeo) just had a baby. And then the overarching story of what’s happening with the storm, because I think it’s important to continually challenge our doctors in terms of what they are doing and what they can do.”
Rimes adds that the two-hour premiere, slated for Sept. 26 on ABC, will “pick up right where we left off.”
Of course, Grey’s is no stranger to shocking cast departures. Over the years, T.R. Knight, Isaiah Washington, Katherine Heigl, Chyler Leigh and Eric Dane all have left the series for various reasons. This is the first time we have known so far in advance that a major character is leaving. From the first-season cast, Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey (who recently revealed his “one reason” for staying on the show, his documentary series, Racing LeMans), Chandra Wilson and James Pickering and Justin Chambers remain.
Sandra Oh has decided to leave Grey’s Anatomy when her contract expires at the end of the ABC hit’s upcoming 10th season, TVLine has confirmed.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, which first broke the news, Oh said, “Creatively, I really feel like I gave it my all, and I feel ready to let her go. It’s such an interesting thing to play a character for so long and to actually get the sense that she wants to be let go as well. [Cristina] wants to be let go, and I am ready to let her go. We have to start the process, story-wise, for the Grey’s writers to think of why she’s going to go.”
Series creator Shonda Rhimes, meanwhile, promises Cristina will get “the exit she deserves.”
Oh is one of six Grey’s actors facing expiring contracts in May. Fellow “originals” Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Justin Chambers, James Pickens Jr. and Chandra Wilson will also be deciding their GA fates in the coming weeks and months (Pickens’ may be decided for him in the season premiere, when we learned if Richard survived the finale).
“I spoke to [ABC Studios] and asked really clearly that I know sooner rather than later,” Rhimes told TVLine last month. “Last time they kept me guessing up until almost the last minute, which was really stressful. This time I asked to know much sooner, so that we could plan for it.”
As Grey’s Anatomy heads into its 10th season, there’s a very real chance that we could say goodbye to some of our favorite characters as several of the original cast members’ contracts will be up at the end of the season. Still, executive producer Shonda Rhimes says that doesn’t mean it’ll spell the end of the series. TVGuide.com hit up Rhimes again to get her thoughts on possibly saying farewell and what the future holds for the Grey Sloan Memorial docs this season.
If last season was about seeing our favorite doctors as attendings, what would you say this season is about for them?
Shonda Rhimes: Now that they’ve all reached this wonderful place in their lives where they know what they’re doing, they’ve gone from embracing being attendings to having ownership of the hospital. It’s not just that they’re trying to figure out what it is to be attendings and figure out what that means, but in a lot of ways, we have the struggle of, they are now the board of directors at the hospital. It’s ownership of the hospital on top of everything else.
How will Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek (Patrick Dempsey) handle that responsibility now that they also have kids?
Rhimes: Meredith is juggling an incredible amount of things. She’s one of the board members of the hospital, she’s an attending trying to make a name for herself, she’s got two small children, she’s married, she’s the caretaker of everybody in her life. So, for her, there’s a lot to balance. It’s something they’re going to try to figure out. Meredith and Derek are trying to figure out what this is going to mean for both of them. It’s never going to be a simple thing.
ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee mentioned there is a possibility of you writing some series regulars out this season. How are you preparing for figuring out the end game for some cast members?
Rhimes: What’s nice is I’ve been through this before because we had to try to prepare for it at the end of Season 8. Having been through it before, I have a different attitude about it. I’ve asked very clearly that I’d like to know things sooner rather than later so that I can plan. Every last one of the originals that we have left is very special to me, and if we’re going to have anybody exit, I really wanted the time to plan and write and execute really fitting and beautiful ends for those characters.
Are you looking at Season 10 as the final season?
Rhimes: Nobody sees Season 10 as being our final season, so no.
What steps will Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) take to deal with her PTSD?
Rhimes: I don’t know that Arizona realizes that she has PTSD that needs to be dealt with head-on at this point in time.
Will Callie (Sara Ramirez) try to help Arizona with that?
Rhimes: I don’t know that Callie is in an emotional position to feel like she could help Arizona at this moment in time. I have now just given you more than I’ve given anybody else about Callie and Arizona!
Can they come back from the infidelity?
Rhimes: I think they can. I love these two actresses. They’re so good in this relationship and how they work together. It’s going to be a challenge, and they’re going to have a really challenging, complex time dealing with what’s going on. That’s going to be a journey for them. Whether or not that journey brings them back together or makes them realize that they should be a part, no matter what they’re joined by a child. They’re joined by a shared history, and they’re joined by a hospital that they’re both board members and part-owners of. So, it’s not going to be that easy.
Will Cristina (Sandra Oh) and Owen (Kevin McKidd) actually take steps towards moving on?
Rhimes: Cristina and Owen are going to face the challenge of what happened at the end of last season in a very Cristina and Owen fashion.
What can you tell us about how Alex (Justin Chambers) and Jo (Camilla Luddington) are navigating their new relationship?
Rhimes: Alex obviously has some residual relationship issues from many of his past relationships. But I also wanted this season to have a lot of fun in it, and I wanted it to be funny. Alex and Jo are really charmingly funny together, so we’re having a lot of fun with them as we begin.
Can the same be said for Bailey (Chandra Wilson)? Is she still struggling or will we see her back to form this season?
Rhimes: We watched Bailey get pulled out of where she was when she had to operate on Meredith, which was a really big moment in terms of having a cathartic change on her, which was great. She’s got other challenges this season that we will see.
Grey’s Anatomy returns with a two-hour premiere on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 9/8c on ABC.
Yes, the forever-tested twosome gradually found their footing after Callie ignored Arizona’s wishes and amputated one of her wife’s legs in the wake of the plane crash. But then in the season finale, everything the couple built came crashing down when Arizona’s impetuous indiscretion with Dr. Lauren Boswell was outed.
“It was just devastating. Heartbreaking,” Sara Ramirez recalls of the gut-punch Callie sustained. “I mean, it’s everything you don’t want to have happen, for anyone.”
Adding insult to emotional injury: For Callie, this was the second time someone she was wed to cheated on her. (Thanks, George! Oh, and R.I.P.) As such, series creator Shonda Rhimes says, “Callie has got some stuff to deal with” — as does her Mrs. “Arizona’s not necessarily holding a grudge because Callie cut off her leg; that’s not really what it’s about,” Rhimes teases. “She got over [that] and sort of moved on, but never dealt with any of the underlying issues. There has to be something else going on there.”
While you mull that mystery, here’s what we do know: As Season 10 opens (with a two-hour premiere airing Sept. 26), barely any time has passed since the events of the superstorm-soaked finale, and the doctors of Grey+Sloan Memorial are now receiving the casualties of a resultant mudslide. And that’s on top of the assorted emotional storms still brewing indoors.
“Callie’s reeling from hearing that her wife is still very, very angry and hurt,” Ramirez shares. “So essentially they regress back to Step 1, to where they started in Season 9. It’s like, ‘Ugh, we’re back at the beginning,’ so there is a lot of work that needs to be done.”
But while these two doctors can work miracles reassembling bone or repairing little humans, Ramirez is uncertain if they have what it takes to recuperate from this double whammy of infidelity and resurfaced resentment.
“We’re going to see in the first few episodes Callie being reactive and acting out, dealing with her own feelings about what’s happening,” Ramirez says. And she won’t necessarily leave this volatile matter behind closed on-call room doors.
“Callie doesn’t hide it from the hospital, how she’s feeling,” Ramirez reveals with a small chuckle. “No, she lets it be known!”
Grey’s Anatomy Boss Shonda Rhimes on Possible Exits of ‘Originals’ Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Etc: It’s Different This Time Around
Mirroring what she went through two years ago, the Grey’s Anatomy boss has been tasked with plotting out a season — the ABC hit’s 10th — that may or may not be the last for original castmembers Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Sandra Oh, Justin Chambers and Chandra Wilson.
But as Rhimes explains to TVLine, the behind-the-scenes cliffhanger is “much less stressful than it was last time,” mainly because ”I’ve been through it before and, as with anything, if you had the experience of having done it already you know how to approach it. Whereas last time I was like, “I have no idea how to approach this.” This time I feel like I get how to approach it and how to tell story.”
Also, Rhimes doesn’t expect contract negotiations to go down to the wire like they did in 2012. “I spoke to [ABC Studios] and asked really clearly that I know sooner rather than later,” she shares. “Last time they kept me guessing up until almost the last minute, which was really stressful. This time I asked to know much sooner, so that we could plan for it.
“If one of the Originals is going to be leaving I want to give them the beautiful exit they deserve,” Rhimes adds. “I don’t want to be kept guessing about what’s going to happen.”
ABC entertainment president Paul Lee conceded to reporters Sunday at the Television Critics Assoc. press tour in Beverly Hills that Revenge “stumbled a bit” in its mythology-heavy second season, adding that new showrunner Sunil Nayar (who replaced series creator Mike Kelley) will “bring to us a slightly less complicated” storyline in Season 3. “The first episode back is a fantastic episode starting with a magnificent hook.”
Other highlights from Lee’s exec session:
NASHVILLE | Lee defended Nashville‘s super-soapy Season 1 car crash climax, calling the twist a “sweet cliffhanger… There’s an impending doom that leads you toward the car crash that is very Nashville.” In Season 2, Connie Britton’s Rayna will “really drive plot,” Lee added. “That particular rivalry with Connie and Hayden['s characters] is coming to a head. We’ve only seen a couple of outlines and a script, but we’re really happy with it.”
ONCE UPON A TIME IN WONDERLAND | On the decision to launch the Once spin-off in the fall as opposed to at midseason as a bridge between the first and second half of Once Season 3, “We just fell in love with it. We were looking to build a real block on Thursday of empowered women… This is Alice like you’ve never seen Alice before. She’s a truly kickass Alice.”
DANCING WITH THE STARS | On Maksim Chmerkovskiy returning for the next cycle, “Maks is part of the family; he may well be back [next season].” As for how the competition series will manage with no more results show, Lee would only say that Monday’s two-hour telecasts would “build to a climax at the end” and still involve some combo of judge and viewer votes.
HAPPY ENDINGS | Lee called the beloved comedy’s untimely cancellation “very upsetting,” but noted that the show failed to “attract an audience on its own” after it moved out of the post-Modern Family slot. “We never found in the places that we put it [that] we could [bring] an audience to it. We couldn’t find its sea legs away from a strong lead-in, so that’s how we ended up on that decision.”
GREY’S ANATOMY | The long-running medical soap is not heading into its final season, Lee maintained. “[Shonda Rhimes] is planning a number of [season's] out… We would like to see it on the network for many years to come.” Lee declined to comment on the future of original castmembers like Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey (whose contract expire in May), saying, “If I commented on who is coming in and out, I think Shonda would yell at me.”
CASTLE | When asked about Nathan Fillion’s recent unauthorized “day off” from Castle in the midst of a contract squabble with ABC, Lee deflected, “Nathan and Stana [Katic] are fantastic actors. We feel super-optimistic” about Castle‘s future.
SCHEDULING | ABC detailed its split-season schedule for its heavy hitter dramas, revealing that Nashville will return from its winter break on Feb. 26, Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal will resume their runs Feb. 27, and Once Upon a Time and Revenge will come back March 9 — with all of the above finishing their seasons with few or no repeats. (Lee told TVLine that midseason programs such as Tricia Helfer’s Killer Women will fill those midseason gaps.) The new reality series The Quest, meanwhile, will at least temporarily replace Once Upon a Time in Wonderland (Thursdays at 8) starting Jan. 2, while Resurrection will take over for Betrayal (Sundays at 10) on March 9.
The doctors are in — and they’re staying.
Grey’s Anatomy has formally handed series regular promotions to Camilla Luddington, Gaius Charles, Jerrika Hinton and Tessa Ferrer — who play Interns Jo, Shane, Stephanie and Lea, respectively — ahead of the show’s 10th season, TVLine has confirmed.
The only intern not to receive an upgrade is Tina Majorino, and that’s only because she’s committed to TNT’s new drama Legends.
The decision to promote the quartet was foreshadowed last December when ABC added series regular options to their contracts. While the legal move didn’t guarantee the actors would be made series regulars in Season 10, it at the very least suggested Shonda Rhimes was considering such a possibility.
Baby did a bad, bad thing — but does that make Grey‘s Anatomy doc Arizona Robbins a bad person?
Visiting TVLine’s Times Square offices, Jessica Capshaw spoke candidly about Arizona’s on-call room romp with perky, pretty Lauren (played by Hilarie Burton) and the fallout scenes to come in tonight’s superstorm-tossed Season 9 finale (ABC, 9/8c).
Describing the storyline as “incredibly risky and edgy,” Capshaw admits, “It totally upset the apple cart for me,” and yet it creates “fertile ground for what we want from our TV sets” — that is, juicy drama.
Recovering from the previous season finale’s plane crash and adjusting to the loss of a leg “took a lot of ‘holding on’” by Arizona, she says. So the ardent overtures by Lauren served as a “trigger” that made Callie’s wife decide, “‘I’m gonna lose control.’”
Also in this video Q&A: Capshaw previews the awkward aftermath for Arizona and Lauren, asserts how “brave” it is to tell this story, teases the “devastating” and “raw” scenes ahead for “Calzona” and reflects on the finale moment that, to this moment, still gives her goosebumps.
As Grey’s Anatomy heads towards its ninth season finale, it seems the impending super storm won’t be the only trouble for the Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital docs!
We already know Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) will face some problems on the baby front, but it’s the relationship front that has everyone worried. Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) may cheat on Callie (Sara Ramirez), Cristina (Sandra Oh) may have to break up with Owen (Kevin McKidd) again because of the baby issue and Alex (Justin Chambers) may finally find his person in Jo (Camilla Luddington). With so many futures up in the air, TVGuide.com turned to executive producer Shonda Rhimes to get the scoop:
Arizona and Callie:
Arizona is skating on thin ice after striking up a flirtation with Lauren Boswell (Hilarie Burton), a doctor from another hospital who is assisting with a GSM case and has it bad for Dr. Robbins, who happens to be married to Callie, lest anyone has forgotten. Remember, outraged fans: Happy people don’t make for good storytelling!
“From a storytelling perspective, they could be happy and hold hands and skip around, I guess, and that would be fine, but they would get two seconds of screen time. Or we could really present them with some really complex challenges and allow them to deal with them and to see some interesting things,” Rhimes says and adds that she’s been reading up on how people deal with grief and PTSD, something both Callie and Arizona have struggled with since the plane crash.
Unfortunately, Arizona cheating is a very real possibility, with Rhimes insisting this the situation won’t just amount to unrequited glances and promo trickery. “Have you ever known me to do that?”
“I don’t know where they’re going to end up out of this, I really don’t,” she continues. “But I do know that both Jessica and Sara and myself, we’re all really excited about it. It’s a very thrilling story for these characters and really complex. It allows for a lot of interesting growth, movement and change. It’s a journey and we’ll see where it goes. Where we’re heading this season is the culmination of the journey that we’ve been on all season long.”
Cristina and Owen:
With the introduction of Ethan, the son of two patients — one of which has died and the other of which is in a coma — Owen’s desire for children has bubbled up to the surface, something that caused him and Cristina to re-evaluate their marriage the first time around. But Rhimes stands by her decision to make Cristina uncompromising when it comes to children. So could they even find a compromise? “I don’t know,” Rhimes admits. “I don’t know what compromise you make when one person wants kids and one doesn’t.”
“I feel like we have a character who is a genius,” Rhimes continues. “She’s a surgical genius and she feels a hum when she’s performing surgery, and it makes her feel whole and she does not feel a need to have children. She feels very complete without it, and Owen does not feel the same way. I feel like that is a fundamental problem in their relationship, and they’ve been avoiding it for a million reasons, one of which was that she was in a plane crash and she was trying to pull herself together.”
Both Cristina and Owen will have a big decision to make in regards to their relationship, and Rhimes notes there’s a million different directions this could go. “Cristina could make the horrible mistake of deciding she’s going to have a kid for him,” she says. “Cristina could make the horrible mistake that she’s just going to walk away from him. He could make the horrible mistake of saying that he’s going to walk away from her or have a kid on his own. They’re going to have to face that and figure out what that means for them. This journey is going to be interesting because I do think no matter what that they truly love each other.”
Alex and Jo:
Last week’s episode left Alex in a very difficult and interesting position: After Jo told him to stay away, she showed up at his house bruised and beaten, presumably by Chest Peckwell (Charles Michael Davis), who she just moved in with. “We’re going to see some real interesting growth from Alex in the next episode,” Rhimes says. “Maybe it’s sideways growth and maybe it’s backwards growth, but it’s going to be a new side of Alex. He’s going to discover some stuff about himself and we’re going to discover some stuff about Jo.”
Alex, in particular, has had a rough time going through relationships during his tenure at GSM (formerly known as Seattle Grace). Mostly, he’s had a lot of crazy in his life — Rebecca (Elizabeth Reaser) and Izzie (Katherine Heigl). But there could be a real chance that Jo turns into Alex’s person. “Whether or not he’s going to have the courage to step up and feel his feelings is going to be really interesting,” she continues. “Maybe she’s his person, maybe not. That remains to be seen.”
Do you think Jo is Alex’s person? Should Cristina and Owen break up? How mad will you be if Arizona cheats on Callie?! Hit the comments!