"I'm constantly fighting for the show as a whole to be as good as it can be. As a producer, I feel like I have permission to be able to do that," she said. "I mean, this is the last year of my contract right now. I don't know that this is the last year? But it could very well could be."
Knowing full well what the reaction to that statement will be, she added, "There's your sound bite! There's your clickbait! ABC's on the phone!"
Pompeo has been with the show since its first season, which debuted way back in 2005. As the drama became the longest-running medical drama in primetime, Pompeo's profile and paycheck went up with it.
In 2018, she signed a two-year, $20 million contract that extended her deal through the show's sixteenth season. In 2019, she extended it another year, making the upcoming 17th season the last for which she's currently contracted. So far, ABC has not confirmed whether the show will be renewed for Season 18, though the network has made comments in the past that the series could very well continue without Pompeo.
"I don't take the decision lightly," she said of her options. "We employ a lot of people, and we have a huge platform. And I'm very grateful for it ... I'm just weighing out creatively what can we do. I'm really, really, really excited about this season. It's probably going to be one of our best seasons ever. And I know that sounds nuts to say, but it's really true."