Should Ellen Pompeo find it too consuming being a first time mother, Shonda Rhimes will be well-prepared for a story without her character on "Grey's Anatomy". Ellen is seven months pregnant and the sixth season production has just been kicked off, thus Shonda is making some selections of story lines to anticipate the actress' absence during maternity leave.
"It's going to be tricky," Shonda told EW. "Ellen is incredibly optimistic and somehow thinks she'll be back and ready to rock 'n' roll. [But] I have a child, so I know that that's not true. [So] we have a lovely story [on deck] that will take us into her maternity leave. And we have plans for some really interesting stand-alone episodes for [while she's gone]."
Shonda continued explaining that the sixth season will be the key season that will have to be ready when a character or two are gone. The creator said, "So we're looking at, How do we mess with that structure now while we have everybody and figure out ways in which, 'What would we do without Ellen? What would we do if we had an episode without Patrick Dempsey?' So season 6 is important. A lot of shows don't make it through season 6 because they don't know how to transition."
Still, Shonda admitted that she has not figured out how the show will go on without Meredith Grey, which is the centerpiece of the whole show. "I haven't even thought that far. That's the one blank spot I have in my head," she said, adding that at least there is another Grey, Lexie.
The production of the sixth season began on Wednesday, July 15. Katherine Heigl revealed in an interview with David Letterman that it was 17 hours of work and that it was "weird" without T.R. Knight on the set. The actor has asked to be released from his contract due to lack of screen time and unfavorable creative direction of his character.