×

‘Grey’s Anatomy’: Patrick Dempsey Officially Leaving After 11 Seasons

The doctor is officially out. Patrick Dempsey is leaving “Grey’s Anatomy” after 11 seasons on the Emmy-winning medical drama.

Dempsey played the lead role of Dr. Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd on ABC’s popular series.

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead, if you have not watched the April 23 episode of “Grey’s Anatomy,” titled “How to Save a Life.”

Dempsey’s character was hit in a car crash on the April 23 episode, leaving his wife Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) deciding to take him off life support.

While Pompeo is still under contract through the unconfirmed 12th season, Dempsey will exit Shonda Rhimes’ show for good, even though his deal also runs through the 2015-16 season.

“Derek Shepherd is and will always be an incredibly important character — for Meredith, for me and for the fans,” Rhimes said in a statement. “I absolutely never imagined saying goodbye to our McDreamy. Patrick Dempsey’s performance shaped Derek in a way that I know we both hope became a meaningful example — happy, sad, romantic, painful and always true — of what young women should demand from modern love. His loss will be felt by all. Now, Meredith and the entire ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ family are about to enter uncharted territory as we head into this new chapter of her life. The possibilities for what may come are endless. As Ellis Grey would say: The carousel never stops turning.”

Rumors of Dempsey’s departure have been swirling recently. This season, his storyline sent him to take a job in D.C., cutting his screen time significantly. The actor also spoke on record about exiting the series, telling the Portland Press Herald in November that he’d be leaving “very soon.” Before the fatal episode aired on Thursday, an Entertainment Weekly article confirming Dempsey leaving the show leaked, further fueling the fire.

Today, ABC pushed back next week’s April 30 episode of Rhimes’ political thriller “Scandal” to accommodate a special two-hour edition of “Grey’s,” which will likely serve as a farewell to Dempsey. The promo for next week’s episode features Pompeo, in character, telling her cohorts that Derek is dead.

“After 11 seasons on ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ Patrick Dempsey is moving on to pursue other interests,” ABC said in a statement. “Dr. Derek Shepherd is an iconic character and we’ve been proud to be the home of McDreamy and the ‘Mer/Der’ love story. The devotion of ‘Grey’s’ fans throughout the years has been a testament to the creative mind of Shonda Rhimes and Dempsey’s talent. McDreamy will be greatly missed, and we wish Patrick the very best in his future endeavors.”

Dempsey is not the first regular to exit “Grey’s.” Katherine Heigl, Isaiah Washington, T.R. Knight, Eric Dane, Chyler Leigh and, most recently, Sandra Oh, also departed the series.

“Grey’s Anatomy” has not been picked up for season 12 yet, but averaging 11.6 million viewers this season, the renewal is a lock.

More TV

  • The Ultimate Guide to 2019 Comic-Con

    The Ultimate Guide to 2019 Comic-Con Parties and Activations

    Hollywood is heading down the California coast to San Diego because It’s time for 2019 Comic-Con International. The annual cosplay celebration officially kicks off tomorrow, July 18, with a preview happening tonight. Here, Variety gives you a guide to this year’s parties and activations. Make sure to check back for updates. Wednesday, July 17Amazon Prime [...]

  • Ken Ehrlich Jane Ortner Education Award,

    Grammy Awards Producer Shuffle: Ben Winston to Take Over From Ken Ehrlich in 2021

    As Variety reported in December, Ben Winston will take the reins of the Grammy Awards as executive producer in 2021 after longtime telecast leader Ken Ehrlich completes his 40th ceremony next year. Winston has become a prolific producer for CBS and other outlets since he moved to the U.S. nearly five years ago to launch [...]

  • Sarah Wright Takes Charge of Sky

    Sarah Wright Takes Charge of Sky Cinema After Management Shuffle

    Sarah Wright, Sky’s top acquisitions exec, will take on responsibility for Sky Cinema after a management shuffle at the pay-TV giant. Wright fills a role vacated by Ian Lewis, who recently left Sky after 20 years. He was one of several Sky staffers to leave after its takeover by Comcast. As director of Sky Cinema [...]

  • Jodi Long Running for SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer

    Jodi Long Running for SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer on Matthew Modine Slate

    Veteran actress and union activist Jodi Long is running for secretary-treasurer of SAG-AFTRA as a member of Matthew Modine’s progressive Membership First slate. She is facing Camryn Manheim, who announced her candidacy on July 9 as part of the Unite for Strength slate for the re-election of union president Gabrielle Carteris. Unite for Strength and United [...]

  • BAFTA Backs BIFA’s Unconscious-Bias Training for

    BIFA’s Unconscious-Bias Training Rolls Out to BAFTA Voters, Wider Industry (EXCLUSIVE)

    The British Independent Film Awards is opening up its unconscious-bias training to BAFTA voters and, more widely, to anyone who judges the work of others in the film and TV business in the U.K. With the makeup of award-nominee and -winner lists under close scrutiny, BIFA introduced its unconscious-bias training last year. Its voters, jurors, [...]

  • New U.K. Film and TV Studio

    New U.K. Film and TV Studio Proposed for Leeds, in Northern England

    With studio space in high demand, a sizable new film and TV complex has been proposed for Leeds, the city in northern England that is fast becoming a major U.K. media hub outside of London. It has already been selected as the base for Channel 4’s new national headquarters, and companies such as pay-TV giant [...]

  • Jody Madden Replaces Craig Rodgerson as

    Jody Madden Replaces Craig Rodgerson as CEO of VFX Firm Foundry

    Jody Madden has been upped to CEO at U.K.-based VFX outfit Foundry. She steps up fromchief product officer and replaces Craig Rodgerson, who joined the company in late 2017. Foundry was bought by U.S. tech firm Roper Technologies earlier this year in a £410 million ($509 million) deal. The London-based business provides software and technology [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content