It’s no surprise that Meredith Grey makes bank. Grey’s Anatomy is now well into its fourteenth season and a true testament to the TV sense of Shonda Rhimes, the show’s famous creator. But how much dough are we talking exactly? How much does Ellen Pompeo make per episode, anyway?
You might remember that the Grey’s Anatomy star was in the news earlier this year when she gave an interview to The Hollywood Reporter that, among other things, touched on her pay over the years and how Patrick Dempsey, her McDreamy co-star, was used as leverage against her in salary negotiations — for years.
In fact, she recalled a time when she asked to be paid just $5,000 more than Dempsey, on principle. She was, after all, the Grey in Grey’s Anatomy. They turned her down. But, we’ll go ahead and spoil this for you, she didn’t give up.
“For me, Patrick [Dempsey] leaving the show [in 2015] was a defining moment, deal-wise,” the actress shared. “They could always use him as leverage against me — ‘We don’t need you; we have Patrick’ — which they did for years.”
So, how much does Ellen Pompeo make per episode?
In the end, the opportunity came for Pompeo to fight for herself: Shonda Rhimes jumping ship from ABC to Netflix. When Rhimes made it clear she was going to take her hands off the day-to-day work behind the hit show, the Grey’s start saw her chance. “If you’re moving on to Netflix and you want the show to go down, I’m cool with that,” she told Rhimes. “But if you want it to continue, I need to be incentivized. I need to feel empowered and to feel ownership of this show.”
Rhimes ultimately fought for the actress who has brought life to Meredith Grey for almost fourteen entire seasons. The result? An increased paycheck, a producer credit on Grey’s Anatomy and a co-executive producer role on an upcoming spinoff.
Now beloved Meredith Grey is raking in $20 million a year. So how much does Ellen Pompeo make per episode? That would be an eye-popping $575,000 per Grey’s episode. Oh yeah, and that came with a seven-figure signing bonus, too. Looks like waiting for the perfect moment was well worth her time.