Art will imitate life during Grey’s Anatomy‘s upcoming 17th season, which plans to tackle the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re going to address this pandemic for sure. There’s no way to be a long-running medical show and not do the medical story of our lifetimes,” showrunner Krista Vernoff confirmed in a Television Academy panel, which will stream in full on Tuesday night.
More from TVLine
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Director: That Daisy/Sousa Moment Was 'A Lovely Treat for Agent Carter Fans, As Well'
- Stumptown Taps Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. EP as New Co-Showrunner for Season 2
- The Resident to Include Coronavirus Storyline in Season 4 Premiere
Vernoff said she and the Grey’s writers are currently crafting Season 17 stories, and they’ve been speaking directly with doctors who have been on the front lines of the outbreak.
“The doctors come in, and we’re the first people they’re talking to about these types of experiences they’re having,” she revealed. “They are literally shaking and trying not to cry, they’re pale and they’re talking about it as war — a war that they were not trained for. And that’s been one of our big conversations about [Kevin McKidd’s] Owen [who served in the Army], that he’s actually trained for this in a way that most of the other doctors aren’t.”
“I feel like our show has an opportunity and a responsibility to tell some of those stories,” Vernoff continued. “Our conversations have been constantly about how we keep alive humor and romance while we tell these really painful stories.”
Due to the real-life outbreak, Grey’s Anatomy has not begun production on Season 17, nor does it have an official return date. Per ABC’s fall/”fall” schedule, however, Grey’s will once again air on Thursdays at 9/8c when it (eventually) comes back.
EW.com first reported Vernoff’s confirmation of the coronavirus storyline. Are you intrigued by the news? Hit the comments.
Launch Gallery: <i>Grey's</i>: Burning Questions for Season 17
Best of TVLine
- 2020 Renewal Scorecard: What's Coming Back? What's Already Cancelled? What's on the Bubble?
- The Emmys' Most Memorable Moments: Laughter, Tears, Historical Wins, 'The Big One' and More
- The Emmys' Most Memorable Moments