TV Show Salaries & Earnings: Grey’s Anatomy

Forever a Classic or Time for It to End?

Let’s be real, who hasn’t heard or read about Grey’s Anatomy before? If you can say “me” or know someone who can, we are up to help you learn a thing or two about it because, honestly, you can’t just go around being ignorant about this TV show. 

After starting in 2005 and still airing, Grey’s Anatomy is pretty much part of the U.S. culture and signature series at least 70% of Americans follow every year, and let’s not talk about it worldwide. 

Of course, if you don’t know, you just don’t, and we won’t bury you for that (yet). 

If you started to be interested recently, we get that it can be a lot to handle due to all the seasons you need to catch up with and how you have to avoid all types of spoilers with social media, memes, and all types of sources nowadays. 

But if you are here, that means you want to know at least the basics and get some additional info that can help, like how much the actors and actresses have made with it so far and how the series, after almost two decades, continues to be people’s favorite. 

Warning: this may take a while. 

Starting a Masterpiece: Grey’s Anatomy Production

When you have an idea, do you usually ditch it or decide to push until you get the results you want? 

You didn’t ask, but we are more of the second. 

Shonda Rhimes can identify with us since she is also part of the team after she decided that one of the projects she wanted to achieve was to make a show that she could enjoy all the time and keep one premise in particular: smart women competing against each other. 

Along with this idea, her obsession with surgery channels led her to decide to develop a medical drama with characters that could be relatable and completely real. 

Thanks to this woman’s hard work, we have Grey’s Anatomy nowadays to enjoy as much as we want, just as she wanted for herself.

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The story behind Grey’s Anatomy and how Shonda developed the entire concept of the series is quite complex considering that she took references from Henry Gray’s classic English medical textbook, “Gray’s Anatomy.” Can you notice the resemblance? You sure do. 

Also, she came up with several concepts when developing the pilot, and even when the series has 17 seasons to the moment of writing this, each one of them has represented a challenge. 

That being said, let’s move on with those involved in the production team. 

As executive producers, you will find Shonda and also Allan Heinberg, Andy Reaser, Betsy Beers, Debbie Allen, James D. Parriott, Jeannine Renshaw, Jeff Rafner, Joan Rater, and over other ten people for such a TV show. 

As producers, you have Ann Kindberg, Austin Guzman, Ellen Pompeo, Elisabeth R. Finch, and the list continues with the same number as the previous one. 

For production companies, many have been involved in the project to bring Grey’s Anatomy to our TVs and now streaming platforms.

Shondaland remains the primary production company behind the series. In contrast, others like The Mark Gordon Company, Entertainment One Television, Touchstone Television, ABC Studios, and ABC Signature have participated in several occasions based on the season. 

Meanwhile, Buena Vista Television was the initial distributor of the series from 2005 to 2007, until Disney-ABC Domestic Television took the role and remained in it. 

Following the Plot: Just a Medical Drama?

Many would find Grey’s Anatomy exhausting if we take the simple medical drama genre and don’t look deeper into it. 

However, the show also covers romantic drama, ensemble drama, and dark comedy in its genres, making it quite interesting regardless of your personal taste. 

We know it can be hard to be interested in it when you don’t know much or have watched a few episodes here and there without any particular order, but what if we let you know the particular or main plot? Here we go!

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Grey’s Anatomy is entirely based on the lives of surgical interns, residents, and attendings at the fictional Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital, which usually changes its name through the seasons of the series. 

The story follows the interns as they gradually develop into seasoned doctors through the mentoring of their residents and chiefs of surgery.

The plot usually focuses on doctors treating patients’ illnesses through complicated surgeries, but it also aims to show how competitive and praise seekers can be.

However, the story is centered around Meredith Grey (an aspiring surgeon during the first season) and her father, Dr. Ellis Grey. 

Each episode begins with Meredith Grey’s voice-over narration or that of a regular character, which foreshadows the episode’s theme. 

The story of the drama truly follows the basic concept of medical situations and how life at a hospital would be as a doctor and surgeon in specific. 

However, you will notice that it ends up being more than just illnesses and surgeries but rather about the characters’ lives and how their own drama unfolds.

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Budget, Earnings & Salaries – The Cast

Something we haven’t mentioned so far is the cast behind the success of the series in terms of acting and bringing to life characters that are either lovable or that most people hate. 

Well, we have had quite the challenge here since from a 17 seasons series; what can you expect? Exactly, a huge cast is involved. 

However, we will focus on those that are part of the main cast and participated in more than one season. In addition, we will do our best to provide their salaries per episode according to what has been reported. 

  • Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey: She probably sounds familiar since Ellen is also a series producer. Earning about $575.000 per episode, she is also paid $6 million per year from her share of syndication profits. 
  • Patrick Dempsey as Dereck Shepherd: Reportedly earned $400.000 per episode. 
  • Sandra Oh as Cristina Yang: She made about $350.000 per episode.
  • Justin Chambers as Alex Karev: He earned the same as Sandra Oh.
  • Jesse Williams as Jackson Avery: Earned about $260.000 per episode.
  • James Pickens Jr. as Richard Webber: Reportedly earns $125.000 per episode.
  • Chandra Wilson as Miranda Bailey: Gets paid the same as James.

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As for the series budget, it hasn’t been confirmed how much the production established for the new season. 

However, considering the salaries of most of the main cast and even the recurring and secondary ones, you can expect the budget to go over $2 million easily. 

Meanwhile, the details about how much the show makes for ABC are unknown, but it is presumed to be more than $400 million per season. 

7 Interesting Things to Know About Grey’s Anatomy

  • Only three members of the main season-one cast remain in the show. 
  • Every Grey’s Anatomy episode title is actually song titles except one. 
  • Ellen Pompeo is one of the highest-paid actresses in the industry. 
  • Some locations of the TV show are real. 
  • Writers for the show consult real medical professionals. 
  • The show wasn’t expected to last more than one season. 
  • The blood and guts on the show are real, but rather than human, they are cow organs.

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Written by Dame Cash

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