Grey’s Anatomy budget cut: How will it affect the long-running medical drama?

Jake Borelli as Levi Schmitt.
Will Levi Schmitt get an ending? Pic credit: ABC

Grey’s Anatomy is a relic by broadcast TV standards, but the long-running medical drama is about to get another shakeup.

Deadline reports that the renewal for Season 21 came with a pretty big caveat — a reduced budget.

The longer a TV series is on the air, the more costly it is to produce episodes.

Broadcast TV has always been a numbers game, and with reduced ratings across the board, changes have to be made to make shows profitable.

The first significant change is Jake Borelli’s departure.

Borelli, who played Levi Schmitt, has been a series regular for five seasons.

Levi Schmitt may get an ending

While the actor is not returning as a series regular, negotiations are underway to bring him back for a multi-episode arc during Grey’s Anatomy Season 21 to give Levi a satisfactory conclusion.

Grey’s Anatomy Season 20 is already in the can, and the show doesn’t typically give characters off-screen goodbyes, so the good news is that we will get an ending for Levi.

It’s unclear whether any other cast members will depart. Still, actors will be getting reduced episode guarantees, a strategy already employed by Dick Wolf’s Law & Order and One Chicago universes.

The decision means that the cast’s per-episode fees will not be reduced, but they will appear in fewer episodes overall.

Grey’s Anatomy’s budget cut is terrible news for Station 19 fans

Grey’s Anatomy typically has storylines utilizing its entire cast due to its hospital setting, so we may have mentions of characters doing things in other parts of Grey Sloan Memorial to explain their absences.

With the budget cuts, hopes have probably been dashed for cast members from Station 19 to move over to Grey’s Anatomy.

The focus will likely be on how to tell smaller stories with a smaller cast to save money.

The Station 19 cancellation remains a big surprise because the series was a solid performer in the Thursdays at 8/7c slot before it was buried at 10/9c.

Then again, the network also canceled The Good Doctor after seven seasons. Despite experiencing a downturn in the ratings, the show is still a decent performer.

Grey’s Anatomy is a massive show worldwide

Numbers on broadcast are no longer the barometer for success; the networks consider the numbers across multiple platforms.

Grey’s Anatomy is a successful show worldwide, so it can survive with softer linear ratings than some of the other shows because it makes money internationally.

Grey’s Anatomy Season 20 will wrap up on Thursday, May 30. We’ll have to keep watching to see if the finale sets up any more cast exits.

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursdays at 9/8c on ABC. Stream full episodes on Disney+ and Hulu.

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7 days ago

Perhaps The Rookie is being delayed due to cast issues. Jenna Dewan is pregnant, and the baby is due this summer. Nathan Fillion is making a movie this summer and who knows what else he’ll be doing. Postponing the premiere of The Rookie’s 7th Season will make it easier on those two. The network had something in their statement that other events would interfere with the airing of episodes. So seeing Season 7 without long between episodes will great.