Nellie Andreeva

Ellen Pompeo Patrick Dempsey Grey's AnatomyOne of TV’s favorite couples will remain intact. After lengthy but pretty straightforward negotiations, Grey’s Anatomy stars Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey have signed new two-year contracts to return to the veteran medical drama — paving the way for an 11th-season renewal, which is considered a formality. While fellow original cast member Sandra Oh announced in August that she would depart the show at the end of her current contract in May and Dempsey made some ambiguous comments around the same time that he might be ready for a change, it became clear going into the fall that no other original Grey’s Anatomy cast members were expected to follow Oh out the door. Negotiations focused on the two leads, Dempsey and Pompeo. With their contracts done, the spotlight is expected to shift to re-signing the remaining Grey’s players whose contracts are up at the end of this season: Justin Chambers, James Pickens Jr. and Chandra Wilson. Unlike two years ago, when negotiations with the entire original cast went down to the wire and Grey’s creator/showrunner Shonda Rhimes had to write a Season 8 finale in a way that would leave the door open for them potentially departing Seattle Grace, she wanted an early resolution this time that would help writers better craft the stories for the remainder of this season.

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.

For all of Deadline's headlines, follow us @Deadline on Twitter.