One 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.
Bad news for ABC — better news maybe for Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey: Sandra Oh has announced she’s leaving Grey’s Anatomy at the end of the ABC drama’s upcoming 10th season. “It’s been a great privilege to play the character of Cristina Yang on GA and I am both sad and excited to see where this, her final season will take her,” Oh said in this afternoon’s statement, calling it an emotional and “deeply creative decision” to leave.
Pompeo and Dempsey’s contracts also are up at the end of the coming season, and ABC presumably won’t want any more of the series majors to exit. That’s always a good bargaining position. Dempsey made news the recent Summer TCA Press Tour, when he told a ballroom full of press — while promoting a car-racing show for Velocity network called Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans – that his passion in life is car racing, and acting is what he does to support that habit. Some mention may have been made of the redundancy of Grey’s storylines. Eyebrows around the room shot up. And a few days later, at the Press Tour, the reporters asked ABC programming chief Paul Lee if Dempsey was leaving and/or Grey’s was toast after this season. Lee responded, emphatically — as did ABC today in the wake of Oh’s announcement — that ABC intended to have the steamy doc drama on the primetime lineup “for many years.” At that time, Lee said he would not discuss possible cast changes — the press assumed he was talking about Dempsey — because he didn’t want to be yelled at by show creator Shonda Rhimes.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Patrick Dempsey admitted this morning that working as an actor in a long-running series like ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy can’t hold a candle to the excitement of being a race car driver. Dempsey was at TCA to promote the testosterone-encrusted Velocity network’s documentary miniseries Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans, which depicts the actor training for and competing in the famed 24-hour race. It premieres August 28. He made it clear during the session that, as Grey‘s comes up on 10 years and 200 episodes, it gets tougher and tougher to motivate himself on the set. “Work on a TV show doesn’t change,” Dempsey said. “In a race, it changes constantly, every lap, every corner, every moment of that day. And that’s very exciting. And it keeps me alive. And then I can go back to work and enjoy it. … There’s a purity to (racing) that’s missing from the work I do as an actor,” he said.
As for Grey’s? “I’m not the creator, I’m not the writer, so it’s a trade. And that’s fine,” he said. “But when you’ve been on a show (for nearly 200 episodes), it’s about surviving. You find ways to turn yourself on with the material you’re given. … For me at this point, there’s not a lot of homework that …
From neurosurgeon to barista? Patrick Dempsey plays a doctor on Grey’s Anatomy, but he has stepped up to help a different kind of patient. The actor announced today he won an auction for Tully’s Coffee, a bankrupt coffee chain based in Seattle, where Grey’s is set. Even though the show is filmed mostly in LA, Dempsey has cultivated a fondness for Seattle. Dempsey’s Global Baristas agreed to pay $9.15 million for Tully’s. With adjustments the total is closer to $10 million, Tully’s CEO Scott Pearson said. Dempsey prevailed over Starbucks and other rivals, boasting about it on Twitter last night: “We met the green monster, looked her in the eye, and…SHE BLINKED! We got it! Thank you Seattle!” Dempsey has been visiting Tully’s shops today in Seattle. A federal bankruptcy judge still has to confirm his bid and a hearing is scheduled next week. Tully’s has 47 company-owned stores with about 500 employees plus 70 franchise locations. Dempsey’s statement said he decided to bid for Tully’s a week before Christmas, after learning that other bidders had plans to close many of the company’s stores. He’ll be spending more time in Seattle. “He plans on being very engaged and involved,” Pearson said. “This is a 20-year-old company that needed a kickstart, and Patrick’s really provided that.”
EXCLUSIVE: The Red Riding Hood star and the Grey’s Anatomy star are set to be unexpected parents in Wonderful Tonight. The romantic comedy with Amanda Seyfried and Patrick Dempsey will be directed by Christine Jeffs from a script by J. Mills Goodloe. Wonderful Tonight follows a one-night stand that not only leads to a baby but a stand-off between the two sudden parents about what they want from each other and themselves. Martin Shafer and Liz Glotzer will produce for Castle Rock Entertainment with Donna Roth and Susan Arnold. Myriad Pictures’ President/CEO Kirk D’Amico will serve as Executive Producer. Myriad is handling the financing and worldwide rights to the film. They will be pre-selling Wonderful Tonight this week at AFM this week. Christine Jeffs and Patrick Dempsey are repped by UTA. Amanda Seyfried is repped by Innovative Artists.
‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Stars Patrick Dempsey, Ellen Pompeo, Sandra Oh And Justin Chambers Close Deals To Return
EXCLUSIVE UPDATED: Big news for Grey’s Anatomy fans. I’ve learned that all original cast members whose future on the ABC medical drama had been up in the air amid contract negotiations, have re-upped for two more seasons. That includes Ellen Pompeo, Patrick Dempsey, Sandra Oh, Justin Chambers as well as James Pickens, Jr. and Chandra Wilson.
With the uncertainty surrounding the core quartet, Grey’s Anatomy creator-showrunner Shonda Rhimes had written the upcoming eighth season finale in a way that would leave the door open for them potentially departing Seattle Grace. The new contracts with Pompeo, Dempsey, Oh, Chambers, Pickens Jr. and Wilson pave the way for Grey’s to be renewed for a ninth season, something that already was all but guaranteed.
HOLLYWOOD, CA (August 3, 2011) – Worldwide box office receipts for TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON, have hit $1 billion, Paramount Pictures announced today. To date, the third installment of the hit Transformers franchise, and the first shot in 3-D, has grossed $338 million in U.S. (through Monday) and $663 million internationally (through Tuesday).
“TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON is the first billion dollar grossing movie in the history of Paramount Pictures, marking a substantial milestone in the 99 year life of this legendary studio,” said Brad Grey, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Paramount Pictures. “We are grateful for the extraordinary work of Michael Bay and his film-making team, executive producer Steven Spielberg, and everyone at Paramount around the globe who played a part in helping make this latest TRANSFORMERS one of the 10 highest grossing films worldwide of all time.”
EXCLUSIVE: Summit Entertainment has hired Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan to adapt and direct Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, based on the 1992 John Gray book that highlights the vast differences between men and women, and attempts to bridge the differences. Elfont and Kaplan will turn the title into a romantic comedy, with BermanBraun’s Lloyd Braun and Gail Berman producing.
Gray, whose book has sold over 50 million copies in 45 countries, details the vast gender differences and make suggestions on how to find common ground. Despite that apparent gulf between the sexes, Elfont and Kaplan have done pretty well. They have been creatively collaborating since they met at NYU. They most recently scripted the Amy Adams-Matthew Goode romantic comedy Leap Year, the Patrick Dempsey romantic comedy Made of Honor, and the Ben Affleck-James Gandolfini comedy Surviving Christmas. They’ve directed Can’t Hardly Wait, and Josie and the Pussycats. They are both repped by CAA and Benderspink.