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Top 10 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets About Grey's Anatomy

VO: Lisa Yang WRITTEN BY: Spencer Sher

Even diehard fans won’t know all of these juicy secrets! For this list, we’ll be looking at the most interesting little-known facts about this popular medical drama. Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Behind the Scenes Secrets About Grey's Anatomy.

Check out the voting page for this list and add your picks: https://www.WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20Behind%20the%20Scenes%20Secrets%20about%20Grey's%20Anatomy Special thanks to our user douceyfor suggesting this idea!

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Script written by Spencer Sher

Top 10 Behind the Scenes Secrets about Grey's Anatomy


Even diehard fans won’t know all of these juicy secrets! Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Behind the Scenes Secrets about Grey's Anatomy.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the most interesting little-known facts about this popular medical drama.

#10: The Cast Was Given Homework

It stands to reason that if you’re cast in a show about doctors you should brush up on your medical knowledge. Showrunner Shonda Rhimes goes one step further, however. She regularly hands out homework to the cast so they can properly portray their characters, particularly during scenes that involve surgery. Although there’s always a medical advisor present to make sure the scenes are as authentic as possible, some of the actors have taken it upon themselves to visit actual hospitals, while others have actually shadowed surgeons during their shifts. In fact, Isaiah Washington has followed surgeons around for 48 hour stints! Now that’s dedication.

#9: The Reason Behind Erica Hahn’s Departure

Anyone who’s watched “Grey’s Anatomy” has undoubtedly wondered: what the hell happened to Erica Hahn? The character, played by Brooke Smith, abruptly decides to leave Seattle Grace in season five episode “Rise Up”, never to be seen again. While there have been plenty of rumors as to why Smith was let go Shonda Rhimes claims it was due to the character lacking the “magic and chemistry” to follow through on longer character arcs. It’s hardly the first time drama has sprung up due to a cast member leaving the show. Katherine Heigl also left in tense circumstances, and when she expressed interest in returning, was politely but firmly declined.

#8: Kate Walsh’s Spin-Off Upset Castmates

With its large cast of dynamic characters “Grey’s Anatomy” has always appeared poised for a spin-off or two and in 2007 it finally happened. Kate Walsh’s character Dr. Addison Montgomery left to start her own practice in the appropriately titled “Private Practice”. Now you’d think that Walsh’s cast mates would be happy for her but sadly that was reportedly not the case. One source told Star magazine that, “The rest of the cast seemed instantly resentful,” and that “They each thought they’d be the one chosen to get their own show”. Geez, jealous much?

#7: The Writers Were Good at Keeping Secrets

When it comes to spoilers you can never be too careful; and if you’re an actor on “Grey’s Anatomy” that means you might not know the fate of your character until a day or two before your scene. Shonda Rhimes has been leaving audiences wondering what will happen next for years, crafting brilliant cliffhangers and surprising twist endings that keep fans clamoring for more. A prime example is the first season’s revelation that Dr. Derek Shepherd is actually married. Ellen Pompeo didn’t find out herself until she was getting ready to film the final episode!

#6: The Reason the Show Originally Revolved Around Interns

Audiences were first introduced to the world of “Grey’s Anatomy” through the eyes of a group of interns fresh out of medical school. The decision to present the medical drama from their perspective and not from that of Seattle Grace’s higher ups was a conscious one on the part of showrunner Shonda Rhimes. According to her, “There’s something really horrible about not knowing what you’re doing for a living.” You can say that again! 15 seasons later and it seems she knew how to hook audiences.

#5: Meredith Was Originally Supposed to Date Burke

After watching Meredith and Derek’s on again off again relationship for the better part of the show it’s difficult to imagine her being with anyone else. However, Rhimes had originally planned for Meredith to end up with Preston Burke, not McDreamy. Now, Preston is great and all, but you simply can’t top the swoon factor of Dr. Derek Shepherd. The real reason the union never came to be however was that Meredith Grey actress Ellen Pompeo was already in an interracial relationship in real life and felt that being in one on TV would be “too close to home”. So Rhimes simply paired Burke with Cristina instead. Problem solved!

#4: The Show Used Color Blind Casting

“Grey’s Anatomy” boasts one of the most diverse casts on television and according to executive producer Betsy Beers it’s 100% intentional. The goal was always to ensure that the best actor got the part, so “Shonda was really insistent about the idea that we cast the character with no preconceived notion as to what they should look like or be like.” According to Rhimes, when she approached the network with this idea they said, “Go for it.” Their faith in her casting abilities was well-founded.

#3: It Wasn’t Supposed to Be Called “Grey’s Anatomy”

Most showrunners will run through a few names before ultimately settling on a title that best suits their program, and Shonda Rhimes was no different when it came to naming her brain child. It may be difficult to imagine the iconic ABC show being called anything else, but the original plan was to simply call it “Surgeons”. We know what you’re thinking and yes, it’s kind of bland. Fortunately, others felt the same way, and decided to go with the much more interesting and catchier title that we know and love.

#2: ABC Made Shonda Rhimes Change Some Scenes

Nowadays Rhimes is considered one of the most influential women in the entertainment industry. She’s been the driving force behind some of television's biggest shows and her work on “Grey’s Anatomy” has earned her two Primetime Emmy Award nominations. However, during the show’s first season the network asked her to make changes to the show on more than one occasion. In the season one episode “The First Cut is the Deepest”, for example, Rhimes had Alex and Cristina racing to see who could deliver the most bad news to patients. ABC wasn’t impressed, and the episode instead shows Alex and Cristina delivering good news, while Cristina suffers through the hugs of relieved patients.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Most of the Episodes Are Named After Popular Songs

Rhimes Was Inspired by “Sex and the City”

#1: Patrick Dempsey Was Afraid of Shonda Rhimes

According to Patrick Dempsey, during his first meeting with Rhimes, she did little more than stare at his face. Honestly, who can blame her? At first, Dempsey thought that meant she hated him, but later realized she was just figuring out what role he was most suited for. Rhimes actually loved him, and in fact said that while shooting the pilot, she and executive producer Betsy Beers would admire him on set and think “Look at his dreamy eyes!” It wasn’t they who came up with the nickname that eventually made it into the show - “McDreamy”,
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