Later this week, the popular medical drama series, “Grey’s Anatomy” returns for its twentieth season, and its spin-off series, “Station 19” is also returning for its seventh and final season.    In the past few months, many long-running shows, including “The Good Doctor”, “What We Do In The Shadows”, and “Good Trouble”, have also been cancelled by Disney as the company looks to reduce how much original content it creates for its linear channels and streaming services.

With so many series cancelled, many are wondering how and why Grey’s Anatomy has lasted twenty years.  To answer that question, you only have to look at how popular the show is.   The show is ABC’s most-watched show, and it’s constantly in the top ten shows on the Nielsen charts across all of the streaming platforms in the United States since previous seasons are also available on Netflix due to a long-running contract.   Internationally, “Grey’s Anatomy” is also the most-watched show on Disney+.

Only last week, the previous nineteen seasons were made available to stream on Hulu and Hulu On Disney+ in the United States, to allow Disney to take advantage of having its most-watched show available, though Disney had to trade non-exclusive streaming access to over a dozen older titles like “Lost” and “How I Met Your Mother” to get access to “Grey’s Anatomy”.

Recently, Meg Marinis, who has taken over as the showrunner on the popular series, spoke with Deadline ahead of the premiere of the new season, where she was asked about plans for a 21st season, to which she replied:

“I’ve not been informed that this is the last season so I’m going to keep going and telling stories as long as they let me.  We still have stories to tell. We receive a tremendous amount of support from the studio and the network and from Shondaland. So I’m going to keep going until they tell me to put that pen down.”

At the TCA event in Los Angeles last month, Craig Erwich, President of Disney Television Group, also explained why the show is so important to Disney.

“I think the show is as creatively strong as it’s ever been.  Not just the live [episodes] you are watching today, but it’s fueling growth for our streaming platform.”

Many shows rarely reach twenty seasons, but with the show still the most popular show on ABC, Netflix, Hulu and Disney+, it’s hardly surprising that Disney isn’t in a rush to pull the plug on one of its biggest hits.  While costs will no doubt continue to rise, it makes sense for Disney to prioritise its hits, and until viewership declines, I’d be surprised if it comes to an end soon.

“Grey’s Anatomy” returns for its 20th season on Thursday, 14th March 2024, at 9 pm on ABC, with new episodes dropping the next day on Hulu and Hulu On Disney+.  The new season will also premiere on Disney+ in the United Kingdom and Australia a couple of weeks later, on Thursday, 28th March 2024.   The previous seasons are available to stream now on Hulu and Hulu On Disney+ in the United States and on Disney+ around the world.

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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Twitter: Facebook:

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