35 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Until Right Now

9 min

Out of all the medical dramas on TV, Greys Anatomy is one of the most popular series to date. The series is already on its 14th season and, while some characters have left us, still delivers cutting edge and emotional storylines we all connect with.
While you may be one of the biggest fans of the show, we bet there are some things you didn’t know about it.

35. Shonda Rhimes came up with the show because she was obsessed with medical shows.

In an interview with Oprah, Rhimes said that she used to be obsessed with medical shows on “Discovery Channel.”

 “My sisters and I would call each other up and talk about operations we’d seen. There’s something fascinating about the medical world—you see things you’d never imagine, like the fact that doctors talk about their boyfriends or their day while they’re cutting somebody open. So when ABC asked me to write another pilot, the OR seemed like the natural setting.”

34. The show was not set in Seattle originally.

Rhimes originally wanted the show to be set in her hometown of Chicago, but didn’t want the show to seem exactly like the other hit medical series, E.R.

33. There’s a novel about the show and all of the hot gossip about the characters.

In 2006, the producers of the show released a two-part novel based on the point of view of two small characters; Joe the Bartender and Nurse Debbie. The book is written in a blog form and contains behind-the-scenes secrets and info. on the characters.

32. The original name of the show was not ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’

In fact, originally, Rhimes had called the show ‘Complications.’

31. All of the original interns undergo surgery in the show.

At one point or another throughout the series, the original 5 interns–Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, Alex Karev, George O’Malley, and Isabel Stevens–all undergo surgery (despite being surgeons themselves).

Meredith undergoes a liver donation for her father, Cristina has an ectopic pregnancy, Alex gets shot, George gets hit by a bus, and Izzy gets diagnosed with cancer. All of these events in one way or another required surgery.

30. Alex Karev wasn’t supposed to be in the show.

Justin Chambers says he was brought on after they shot the pilot and his character wasn’t even supposed to exist. Chambers said:

The role of Dr. Karev…they shot the pilot before I came on. The character wasn’t even created yet, I don’t think. They sent the pilot to New York where I live and I saw it and loved it and I went out to L.A. to try to win the part and auditioned and got the role. So that’s how Alex came about.”

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29. Miranda Bailey was written differently prior to casting.

Before casting the role of Miranda Bailey, her character was described as a short, white, blonde female–based off of Rhimes’ mother.

28. The idea behind ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ came out of one conversation.

Rhimes told Oprah that the idea behind the show came from a casual conversation with a doctor.

My show is more personal [than E.R.]. The idea for the series began when a doctor told me it was incredibly hard to shave her legs in the hospital shower. At first that seemed like a silly detail. But then I thought about the fact that it was the only time and place this woman might have to shave her legs.

27. Isaiah Washington originally auditioned for the role of Derek Shepherd.

Instead of playing Dr. Burke, Washington said he auditioned for the neurosurgeon and McDreamy, Derek Shepherd. But, Rhimes had something else in mind for him.

It didn’t work out, and it went exactly the way it was supposed to go. Four days later, I get a call after I was passed over from Shonda saying, ‘I really wanted you in this piece so would you be interested in playing a recurring character?’

26. He also learned (in real life) all of the surgeries he performed on the show.

Rhimes told Oprah that Washington followed surgeons in hospitals around to actually learn what they were doing in the OR.

I think if he stopped at an accident on the street he’d know exactly what to do. He has pulled shifts at hospitals where he follows the surgeons around for 48 hours.

25. Ellen Pompeo didn’t audition for the role of Meredith Grey.

While other cast members had to audition for their parts, Rhimes specifically asked Pompeo to play the part of Meredith Grey for the pilot.

I didn’t audition for Meredith Grey; I was offered the part by Shonda and the network. Shonda Rhimes wasn’t really ‘Shonda Rhimes’ at the time. It wasn’t a big deal—it was just another pilot. My agent said, ‘Just do the pilot and make some money—these things never go.’ And then 12 years later…yup!”