Shonda Rhimes Leaving ABC For “A Clear, Fearless Space For Creators” At Netflix
In surprising TV industry news, it’s been announced that Shonda Rhimes and her production company, Shondaland, will be taking their talents from ABC to Netflix, ending her contract (which was supposed to finish in June 2018) early with the network.
According to Variety, Rhimes inked a multi-year production deal with the streaming giant that will allow her to produce new series that are in an array of genres and can vary in length as far as being released as a limited series or a recurring one. Basically, she will have the flexibility and freedom to flex her creative chops in a way that broadcast, network TV just can’t provide.
“Shondaland’s move to Netflix is the result of a shared plan Ted Sarandos and I built based on my vision for myself as a storyteller and for the evolution of my company,” said Rhimes in a statement about the move and Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos. “Ted provides a clear, fearless space for creators at Netflix.”
However, that doesn’t mean that Rhimes’s classics, like the “TGIT” lineup of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal (filming its final season), and How to Get Away With Murder, are going to be out at ABC too. ABC president Channing Dungey said in a statement that those series will remain in their lineup on Thursday nights. “I’m proud to have given a home to what have become some of the most celebrated and talked about shows on television,” Dungey said. “With the launch of a new season upon us, fans can rest assured that TGIT remains intact and will be as buzzed about as ever.”
Rhimes is reportedly also going to continue writing some episodes for the last season of Scandal and will be very much involved in bringing the popular series to an end at ABC. She still has another show on the way for the network, a new law drama called For the People, which is set to debut later this year, as well as a reported Grey’s Anatomy spinoff. However, recent Shondaland projects that haven’t fared well at the network include The Catch, cancelled after two seasons, and her latest effort, Still Star Crossed, which didn’t do well in the ratings game either. As for Netflix, they’ve been carrying episodes of her TGIT hits in the U.S. and in some markets globally for years.
You could say this is quite the counter to ABC, owned by Disney. They announced last week that they would be pulling Disney and Pixar movies from Netflix in 2019 and would be starting their own streaming services, including an ESPN service and one that will have a whole host of Disney-related content. But this deal has reportedly been in the works for some time now, way before last week’s news broke. Sarandos is ecstatic that Rhimes will be bringing her talents to Netflix after 15 years with ABC.
“Shonda Rhimes is one of the greatest storytellers in the history of television,” he said. “Her work is gripping, inventive, pulse-pounding, heart-stopping, taboo-breaking television at its best. I’ve gotten the chance to know Shonda and she’s a true Netflixer at heart — she loves TV and films, she cares passionately about her work, and she delivers for her audience. We’re so excited to welcome her to Netflix.”