Really, though, they’ve already received the best lesson in numbers from Mom. Because after years of trying to work with costar Patrick Dempsey to negotiate a joint top-tier deal (“He was never interested,” she told THR) she glimpsed her window of opportunity when he exited the drama in 2015. “They could always use him as leverage against me—’We don’t need you; we have Patrick”—which they did for years,” she explained.
Absent McDreamy, ABC was extra incentivized to hold onto the Grey in Grey’s. And when Pompeo’s team slid her a list of stats that showed how the show, which still garners some 12 million viewers, had earned parent company Disney nearly $3 billion, “You start to feel like, ‘OK, maybe I do deserve a piece of this.'”
Asked to name her terms, Pompeo told Rhimes, “It’s got to be a ton of money. And it has to help me with my producing because producing is something I really enjoy. That’s my creativity now.” The result: She netted $575,000 per episode along with a signing bonus and some $7 million in backend deals, plus office space and pilot commitments for her production company Calamity Jane.