Thursday Night Belongs To Shonda: ABC Turns Over Its Entire Primetime Block To Rhimes’ Shows
Shonda Rhimes has signed a four-year contract extension with ABC Studios, solidifying her position with the company. And if that weren’t enough to prove just how valuable she is to the organization, ABC has turned over its entire Thursday primetime block to Rhimes programs. This fall, Grey’s Anatomy will move to 8pm, what’s usually called the “family hour”; Scandal will air at 9pm; and Rhimes’ new show, How to Get Away With Murder will take Scandal‘s old 10pm slot. The announcement was made today at the network’s upfront presentation to advertisers.
Rhimes follows in the footsteps of Aaron Spelling, another producer who was given an entire evening back in the 80s with TJ Hooker, The Love Boat and Fantasy Island.
ABC has made a number of changes for the coming television season, bringing in names like Viola Davis and Tracee Ellis Ross to headline its new programs. According to ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee, diversity is part of the overall strategy for the network.
“We do think America has changed. We saw that in the election cycle, we see it in everything that’s happening. [To air these shows is] perfectly appropriate for a network like this; and, in fact, I think it’s the right thing to do now,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. The magazine notes that Lee is not normally one to speak very openly. However, the network had a fourth place finish and perhaps Lee feels like now’s the time to speak up.
Lee also noted the “social media savvy” of ABC’s fan base.
So it looks like Thursday night is going to be a lock come the fall. Everyone will be home, in front of the TV, tweeting frantically all evening.