Ellen Pompeo is branching out.
The Grey’s Anatomy leading lady has landed her first on-air series via her ABC Signature-based production company, Calamity Jane. The actress will star in and exec produce an untitled orphan project for Hulu.
In related news, Pompeo will scale back her time on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and appear in only eight of the expected 22 episodes in season 19. She will continue to be the show’s primary narrator for the bulk of the episodes but her on-screen commitment will consist of only eight episodes. Sources say there are no plans for this to be the final season of Grey’s, despite rumors over the past few years that the long-running show’s end is near.
Pompeo has been open about her desire to do more than Grey’s, which has produced more than 400 episodes and ranks as TV’s longest-running primetime medical drama.
Hulu says the drama is “inspired by the story of a Midwestern couple who adopts what they believe is an 8-year-old girl with a rare form of dwarfism. But as they begin to raise her alongside their three biological children, they slowly start to believe she may not be who she says she is. As they question her story, they’re confronted with hard questions of their own about the lengths they’re willing to go to defend themselves, falling into a battle that’s fought in the tabloids, the courtroom, and ultimately their marriage.”
In addition to starring, Pompeo exec produces alongside her Calamity Jane production company exec Laura Holstein. Katie Robbins (The Affair) created the series and serves as writer and EP. Erin Levy (Mad Men) serves as showrunner and exec produces. Mike Epps, Dan Spilo, Niles Kirchner and Andrew Stearn serve as non-writing exec producers.
The series comes as ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy has continued to be a ratings winner ahead of its 19th season. Pompeo has continued to ink new deals to return to the Shonda Rhimes drama but has also been vocal about the show’s endgame. Rhimes, who created and exec produces the series, has also said that the medical drama will run for as long as Pompeo wants to do it and that there is no Grey’s Anatomy without the star’s Meredith Grey.
Pompeo landed her overall deal with ABC Signature years ago as part of a massive payday that made her television’s highest paid actress. Since then, she has had multiple projects put in development. This untitled orphan drama is the first that she has been attached to star in and is also the first one to get an on-air commitment.
Since signing on to star in Grey’s two decades ago, Pompeo has become a global superstar as the medical drama airs in more than 200 territories across the world. She also exec produces Grey’s, which streams on Hulu, and its firefighter-focused spinoff Station 19.
Pompeo is repped by CAA, John Carrabino Management and Hansen Jacobson. Robbins is with UTA< Aaron Kogan Management and Jonathan Shikora. Levy is with WME.