Shonda Rhimes didn’t waste any time in addressing what was on everyone’s mind in the first Shondaland newsletter.
Emailed to subscribers on Friday, the first in a series of newsletters that will be blasted out ahead of the launch of Shondaland.com was written by Rhimes herself, who began the piece by discussing her decision to end Scandal next year. ABC confirmed the news at its Upfronts presentation earlier this week, and in this newsletter, Rhimes admits that part of her was glad she wasn’t there for the announcement.
“I didn’t have to actually face it. The decision I made. This decision to end a thing I love. This decision to turn the lights out on a place I call home,” she writes. “I was glad I didn’t have to make it real by being there on that stage with my cast. Ending Scandal. This is a big huge roaring deal in my world. It’s scary to make a change.”
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Deciding to end Scandal in season 7, she explains, was the result of her turning to her Shondaland partner Betsy Beers and saying, “What if we don’t let Scandal go on forever?”
“It had begun to occur to us that — warning, warning: swagger alert — shows written by me don’t seem to… end. Every show I’ve created has gone more than 100 episodes. People keep watching. The network is happy. And that’s awesome,” she wrote. “But what happens if we let all the shows go on and on without end? What if we just hang on so long that people don’t say WHY are you ending, but WHEN? What if we don’t let anyone say WHEN?”
From there, the newsletter pivots into explaining the origins of Shondaland.com, her forthcoming lifestyle site where she will, among other things, “chronicle the end of one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.” The email basically reads like a Meredith Grey monologue — the points are belabored, there’s a lot repetition — but in a good way. For fans of Shondaland TV shows, it’ll feel familiar, which is basically the point of the site as well.
“And here’s the thing. The idea of this place? Is that here you will find a place to hang out. To spend time with your people. With your tribe. Your gladiators. Your warriors. Your friends who love their wine or popcorn or cereal or tequila. With your fellow citizens of Shondaland. You may even find some new people to stand in the sun with. Some buddies to dance it out with. Or maybe you will find some inspiration or exultation or relaxation. Maybe you’ll just get a good laugh,” writes the prolific TV producer. “Because Shondaland.com is not about the shows. It’s about the community of people who watch the shows. It’s a place to be – more than just on Thursday night. So maybe you will come here on a really bad day and you will discover the most important thing: that you are not alone. Not in Shondaland.”
As she explains, the newsletter series’ main function is to tease the site, which launches in the fall, and will contain interviews, essays, and “all the badass things you should be talking about.”
You can sign up for the upcoming Shondaland newsletter at shondaland.com.