Filming was postponed in March due to the pandemic and cut short by four episodes. But according to Variety, ABC's medical drama will begin shooting season 17 this month. Ellen Pompeo, who plays Meredith Grey, tweeted at the beginning of August that the cast and crew planned to resume production, but now it seems that the plans are official, with the first two episodes kicking off filming as early as next week.
The exact air date of the next season is still unknown, especially in light of the fact that when ABC recently announced a fall programming schedule that didn't include Grey's in its usual Thursday slot. However, despite the pause, writers have continued their extensive research and planning for the season nonetheless, which will be themed around COVID-19.
The plan is to start in a few weeks but don’t have an exact start date but @msdebbieallen is prepping! https://t.co/hyDmyD88kP— Ellen Pompeo (@EllenPompeo) August 5, 2020
In a panel interview with the Television Academy in July, Grey's executive producer Krista Vernoff, along with a few members of the cast, said that the team had — as they do for every season — met with real-life doctors in order to find inspiration for the often realistic plotlines that drive the doctors at the Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. This time around, however, the meetings felt much more "like therapy," as these doctors have had to deal with the horrific realities of the unrelenting virus. But as tough as the topic is to tackle, Grey's isn't a show to shy from the challenge.
"We're going to address this pandemic for sure," said Vernoff. "There’s no way to be a long-running medical show and not do the medical story of our lifetimes."