Is Grey's Anatomy on Life Support? Why Keeping this Series Alive is a No-Brainer

30 March, 2021

In light of recent reports that Grey’s Anatomy - TV’s longest ever running medical drama - might not be renewed for an 18th season, we took a look at its US and global audience demand during the show’s current (and potentially final) season.

Season 17 Premiere:

Grey’s Anatomy saw higher US demand for the beginning of Season 17 than it did during the debuts of the previous 4 seasons of the show.

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Ten days into its season 17 run, Grey’s Anatomy was:

  • 79% more in-demand than at the same time in Season 16
  • 84% more in-demand than at the same time in Season 15
  • 110% more in-demand than at the same time in Season 14

This growing increase in audience demand for the series over time is a remarkable feat for a show that has been on the air for nearly two decades.

This recent success could have been the result of pent-up demand for the series following its longer than normal hiatus (due to COVID). In fact, Grey’s Anatomy’s potentially risky choice to face the pandemic head on in its storyline clearly paid off with audiences.

US and Global Demand - Last 30 Days

During the last 30 days, Grey’s Anatomy has averaged 28.9x more demand than the average show in the US, peaking at 38.0x above the average show.

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  • Its 30 day average places it in our ‘Outstanding’ category of demand, achieved by just 2.7% of all shows.
  • Its peak demand places it in the ‘Exceptional’ category of demand, only achieved by .2% of all shows.
  • Grey’s Anatomy has ranked as highly as the ninth most in-demand series in the US across all platforms over the last 30 days.

Globally, the show is doing even better!

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  • Over the last 30 days Grey’s Anatomy has averaged 40.8x more demand than the average series globally, peaking at 52.1x the average show globally.
  • Both of these rankings place it the Exceptional demand category.
  • Grey’s Anatomy has ranked as highly as the fifth most in-demand series globally across all platforms over the last 30 days.

Station 19 Crossover:

Grey’s Anatomy’s March 2021 mid season premiere - a cross over event with spin off Station 19 - significantly lifted demand for both shows. US demand for Grey’s Anatomy was 33.1x the average show the day after the episode, with Station 19 getting 18.9x the average.

This surge put each series in the top 10 fastest growing series globally for the week of Mar 10-16, 2021. Station 19 was the second fastest growing show in the US (+44.2%) and the fifth fastest growing show globally (+33.7%) during the week of crossover episode (Mar 10-16, 2021).

Grey’s Anatomy was the ninth fastest growing show globally that week. It didn’t crack the top ten fastest growing shows in the US, but that’s likely because its demand was already so high to begin with.

The popularity of Grey’s Anatomy clearly lifts up the demand of its spin-off series Station 19. This suggests that on top of exceptional audience demand, Grey’s Anatomy has strong franchisability.

Grey’s Anatomy Outpacing Other Medical Dramas and Other Long Running Dramas:

Over the last year, Grey’s Anatomy clearly stands out both in the US and the world when compared to other medical dramas.

  • Grey’s Anatomy (32.7x average) has been in Exceptional demand for the past twelve months, and is nearly twice as in demand as the US’s second most popular medical drama, The Good Doctor, during the same time period.

  • Grey’s Anatomy has performed even better globally over the last twelve months, with 47x the demand of average show worldwide.

When looking at the trailing twelve month performance of US TV’s other longest airing broadcast dramas (with 7 or more seasons), Grey’s Anatomy once again rises to the top.

US Demand for Longest Running US Dramas (Mar 23, 2020-Mar 22, 2021)

  • Grey’s Anatomy's longevity stands out here, as the most in-demand of these long-running dramas over the last twelve months, beating out other perennially popular dramas and franchises such as Law & Order: SVU, NBC’s Chicago franchise, and the NCIS franchise.

Bottom Line:

17 years into its run, Grey’s Anatomy remains a worldwide powerhouse show that consistently delivers exceptional audience demand both in the United States and around the world, outperforming its competition in the medical drama and longest running broadcast drama fields.

Demand data-wise, renewing Grey’s Anatomy for an additional season seems like a no-brainer.

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