‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Among Shows Paused Due To Omicron

by Suzanne Halliburton

Grey’s Anatomy became one of several ABC shows the network placed on pause Wednesday because of the Omicron variant sweeping through the country.

Besides Grey’s Anatomy, production for its spinoff Station 19 along with The Rookie also was paused to contend with Omicron. All three shows are produced in Los Angeles.

The cast and crew of Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19 were scheduled to report to work, Jan. 10. The studio pushed the return back by two days. Such a delay likely won’t impact the show for the spring season. TV Line reported that no one is sure how long The Rookie will be delayed.

TV Line, which quoted an unidentified source, reported that ABC Signature, the studio that produces all three shows, asked for the delay out of “an abundance of caution.” So far, there have been no Covid outbreaks on either of the three shows.

ABC also paused production on General Hospital, the network’s last remaining soap opera. In fall 2021, General Hospital terminated two actors who refused Covid vaccinations.

Grey’s Anatomy Went Heavy On Pandemic Plot Last Season

Grey’s Anatomy is in its 18th season on ABC. Writers incorporated Covid into its storyline for season 17. A pandemic seems like an obvious topic for a show about doctors and their patients. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) had such a bad case of Covid, that she was in ICU on a ventilator. Meredith, while in a coma, dreamed of past characters on the show, all of them dead, including her husband Derek (Patrick Dempsey).

But in season 18, show writers moved on from the pandemic and Grey’s Anatomy went back to its normal drama. At the end of each episode, there would be a card telling the audience that the world still was very much in a pandemic.

Last month, some shows based in New York altered production schedules. Saturday Night Live had its Christmas show using only four actors. A number of Broadway shows temporarily closed. The famous Rockettes also canceled a number of its holiday shows.

Now, Omicron is impacting TV production on the West Coast. And Grey’s Anatomy isn’t the only long-time show that’s placing an Omicron pause on production. Over on CBS, NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles extended the show’s holiday break until February.

However, production is continuing with the NCIS: Hawai’i crossover featuring NCIS cast members Katrina Law and Wilmer Valderrama. That episode is on the schedule for March 28. NCIS: Hawai’i, unlike the other two NCIS franchises, films in Hawaii, not California.

Grey’s Anatomy broadcast its Christmas episode — It Came Upon a Midnight Clear — Dec. 16. The next scheduled episode is Feb. 24. Station 19 also wasn’t scheduled for another new episode until Feb. 24.