It’s not often that a TV show is able to go on for more than a decade and remain strong contenders in primetime slots. “Grey’s Anatomy” is one of the current exceptions, with it currently on its 13th season and already confirmed for renewal for another year. Did you know that the ABC medical drama was supposed to be a midseason show and it aired for the first time on March 27 12 years ago?

The 9-episode pilot season of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

There wasn’t much hope for the Shonda Rhimes medical drama at first. It had just nine episodes to make an impression with viewers, and ABC decided to give it a midseason slot.

That premiere episode was aired on March 27, 2005 and the season wrapped up on May 22 of the same year, as the replacement for "Boston Legal."

Contrary to the trend, the ratings between the pilot episode and the second episode went up by more than 1.5 million, and remained high for the rest of the season. The season finale was the highest-rated episode out of the nine, with a total of 22.22 million viewers, just short of 6 million more people tuned in for that episode compared to the pilot episode!

A diverse cast and interesting premise

ABC instantly knew it had a hit and decided to renew “Grey’s Anatomy” for another season. This time it would air for the regular 22-episode primetime fall slot.

It helped that there was a diverse cast with a character for absolutely everyone out there. That character mixture hasn’t changed even 13 seasons later.

It also helped that there was certainly an opening for such a drama. Medical dramas are notoriously hard to create, but Rhimes found a place for it. Even now, the main show to compete with the drama is “Chicago Med,” which airs an hour later on NBC.

Arguably, the only reason that that drama has done as well as it has is because it is part of the “One Chicago” franchise with “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago P.D.,” and the new “Chicago Justice.”

Of the nine original cast members, only four remain. Two have died and three have left the hospital over the years, as the actors decided to move on.