"She's pushing to get a raise from her current $20 million to $25 million a year," explains the insider, who says the iron-willed actress, 51, has the upper hand. Despite a strong start this season — the show's 17th — ratings have been dropping.
"Network execs are concerned the series can't bounce back without re-signing her," says the insider, who points out that Pompeo was also instrumental in luring back former cast members Patrick Dempsey and T.R. Knight for guest appearances this year.
Dempsey revealed that Pompeo suggested he come back to the show during a catch-up last summer. His November episode topped the night's ratings chart.
"It's hard to put a price tag on all that, but the bottom line is you can't have Grey's without Ellen," continues the insider. "Plus, she's one of the toughest negotiators in Hollywood, so the odds are in her favor."
Grey's Anatomy is the longest-running medical drama on TV, and Pompeo has led the show since 2005 for all of its 17 seasons — and even revealed that her padded paycheck was part of the reason why she's stayed on the series for so long.
“I made a decision to make money,” Pompeo dished last year on an episode of Spotify’s “Jemele Hill Is Unbothered” podcast.
“For me, personally, a healthy home life was more important than career,” added Pompeo, who has been married to Chris Ivery since 2007 — the two share children Stella, 11, Sienna, 6, and Eli, 4. “I didn’t grow up with a particularly happy childhood. So the idea that I have this great husband and these three beautiful children [and] a happy home life was really something I needed to complete.”