8 Facts You Never Knew About ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

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To all those mourning the end of the MerDer relationship on Grey’s Anatomy, we’ve got some news for you: The on-screen pairing nearly didn’t happen.

In a 2013 interview with the NY Post, Grey’s star Ellen Pompeo revealed that though Meredith was always supposed to date McDreamy, she wasn’t necessarily supposed to date Patrick Dempsey’s McDreamy. Instead, show creator Shonda Rhimes wanted Isaiah Washington, who was ultimately cast as Dr. Preston Burke, to portray Dr. Derek Shepherd.

“You know they wanted Isaiah Washington to be my boyfriend,” Pompeo said. “I said I wanted that Dempsey kid.”

It’s one of many surprising facts about the hit ABC drama, which has sustained its share of behind-the-scenes tossups during its 11 seasons on the air.

Take a look at seven more things you probably never knew about Grey’s Anatomy below:


1. Justin Chambers was not originally part of the series.

While fan favorite Alex Karev (Chambers) has been a regular cast member for all 11 seasons of the medical drama, he initially wasn’t even in the pilot. The writers decided to add his character in through reshoots because they thought George O’Malley needed a male counterpart as a companion.

We guess George and Alex never got the memo that they were intended to be BFFs.


2. Kyle Chandler really didn’t want to be killed off the series.

When asked during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter if there was a character she wished she hadn’t killed off, Rhimes admitted she would have spared Friday Night Lights alum Kyle Chandler, who played bomb squad member Dylan Young in season three.

“I probably wouldn’t have blown up Kyle Chandler,” Rhimes said. “We were filming the episode and [Chandler] was pitching me ideas on how he could stay.”

Don’t feel too bad for Chandler though, the actor returned to the show as an apparition for two episodes in season four.


3. Patrick Dempsey was terrified of Shonda Rhimes when he first auditioned.

During a cast interview at the Paley Center, Dempsey admitted that he thought Rhimes hated him during his audition, to which the acclaimed show creator replied, “Honestly, the entire time he was in the room I was like, ‘Oh my god. He’s so dreamy.”


4. Shonda Rhimes’ love of the Discovery Channel helped inspire the setting for Grey’s Anatomy.

“My sisters and I would call each other up and talk about operations we’d seen on the Discovery Channel,” Rhimes told Oprah. “There’s something fascinating about the medical world — you see things you’d never imagine, like the fact that doctors talk about their boyfriends or their day while they’re cutting somebody open. So when ABC asked me to write another pilot, the OR seemed like the natural setting.”


5. Grey’s Anatomy was almost titled Complications.

While Grey’s Anatomy was the original title of the series, it was briefly changed to Complications while being developed. Thankfully, ABC reverted back to Grey’s by the time the show hit the air.


6. Sara Ramirez got to choose which ABC show she wanted to star on.

ABC producers were so enamored with Ramirez’s performance in the Broadway show Spamalot that they allowed the actress to literally choose which series she wanted to work on.

“They said, ‘Be on our network. Pick a show,'” Ramirez recalled on The Oprah Winfrey Show. “They sent me every show they had and Grey’s Anatomy was my favorite, and I said, ‘That’s the one I want to be on.'”


7. Rob Lowe was originally considered for the role of Dr. Derek Shepherd.

Lowe passed on the role in favor of another medical drama — CBS’ Dr. Vegas.

“Year after year after year, all of ABC’s new dramas flopped. CBS was on a hot streak that continues to this day,”Lowe wrote in his memoir, Love Life. “Although Grey’s was a much better script, I chose Dr. Vegas. The odds were just too stacked.”

The season finale of Grey Anatomy airs tonight at 8/7c on ABC.

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