'Grey's Anatomy' Star Ellen Pompeo to Make Directorial Debut

Grey's Anatomy Ellen Pompeo - H 2016
Courtesy of ABC

Ahead of its big TGIT return, ABC's Grey's Anatomy is making a little show history.

Leading lady Ellen Pompeo is poised to make her directorial debut on the ABC Shondaland medical drama, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Pompeo, who has toplined the Shonda Rhimes soap as Dr. Meredith Grey for more than 280 episodes, will step behind the camera for the first time in February. The episode will air later this year as part of Grey's Anatomy's 13th season. An airdate has yet to be determined.

The Grey's episode not only marks Pompeo's first time helming the series in which she stars, but it's also her first time directing ever.

Pompeo joins fellow Grey's co-stars Kevin McKidd (Owen) and Chandra Wilson (Bailey), who each directed multiple episodes of the drama from Rhimes and Shondaland partner Betsy Beers. Grey's executive producer and recurring star Debbie Allen (Catherine) also has been a frequent director as well, as has Tom Verica, who has frequently pulled double duty helming Scandal while recurring on fellow TGIT Shondaland drama How to Get Away With Murder.

Pompeo joins a growing roster of Shondaland actor-directors. Scandal leading man Tony Goldwyn previously directed a few early season episodes of Grey's before also stepping behind the camera on the Kerry Washington starrer. His fellow Gladiator Darby Stanchfield recently was tapped to helm a six-episode Scandal web series as part of a key initiative at Shondaland to foster growth and creativity. That project, called Gladiator Wanted, featured crew from every single department working in roles a step above their standard Scandal jobs.

"Our goal at Shondaland is to hire the best people and then keep them here, but in order to do that, we need to create opportunities for them to grow," Rhimes told THR of the promotions on Gladiator Wanted. "They have to continue learning and doing what they're passionate about — whether they are an actor that wants to learn how to direct or a PA that wants to take the next step. We love watching them grow and succeed, and this web series was the perfect way to do just that."

For Pompeo, the decision to direct comes as she has established herself as an active developer for Grey's producers ABC Studios. The actress has an overall deal with the studio for her Calamity Jane production company and has sold multiple projects to broadcast and cable networks.

"I'm not proud of everything Calamity Jane did, but she was one of the only women doing what all the guys did," Pompeo told THR last year about the inspiration for her company's name. "Production and producing in a very male-dominated field, and I feel like Calamity Jane out there — trying to ride with the big boys." 

Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.