Shondaland Shocker! Shonda Rhimes jumps ABC ship to Netflix
Shonda Rhimes is moving Shondaland to Netflix.
The prolific executive producer of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder will leave the network that made her a household name to join Netflix, EW has confirmed. Rhimes has signed a multi-year deal to produce new series and other projects for the streamer, alongside longtime producing partner Betsy Beers, who will also move to Netflix.
“Shonda Rhimes is one of the greatest storytellers in the history of television,” said Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos. “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.”
Rhimes added: “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. Ted provides a clear, fearless space for creators at Netflix. He understood what I was looking for — the opportunity to build a vibrant new storytelling home for writers with the unique creative freedom and instantaneous global reach provided by Netflix’s singular sense of innovation. The future of Shondaland at Netflix has limitless possibilities.”
The move marks a split from ABC, where Rhimes launched her television career with Grey’s Anatomy. What does this mean for your favorite Shondaland series? The three current Rhimes shows — Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder — as well as midseason legal entry For the People and the upcoming Grey’s Anatomy spin-off will all still air on ABC. ABC Studios also has a pilot from The Catch and Wonder Woman‘s Allan Heinberg, which will stick with the studio.
“Our current shows will continue to thrive on ABC and Shondaland will be there every step of the way,” Rhimes also said in her statement. “I could not have asked for a better home to begin my career. I continue to be grateful to work with so many talented people – especially our studio gladiator Patrick Moran and our most powerful and brilliant champion Channing Dungey. Starting today, we are thrilled to begin creating new Shondaland stories with Netflix. Everyone at Shondaland is honored to expand both our audience and our creative identity with Ted and the entire team at Netflix.”
Rhimes’ legacy will continue on with ABC Studios, which also has a number of overall deals with many of the showrunners attached to the aforementioned Shondaland shows, meaning they will stay on with the shows and any development in the future will also stay with ABC Studios. The list includes Pete Nowalk from How to Get Away with Murder, Krista Vernoff for Grey’s Anatomy, Stacy McKee for the Grey’s spin-off, Don Todd and Paul William Davies from For the People, Mark Fish for Scandal, Mark Wilding for the Grey’s Anatomy spin-off, and Bill Harper for Grey’s Anatomy.
“We’re so proud of the work we’ve done with Shonda and Betsy throughout our long and productive relationship,” said Patrick Moran, president of ABC Studios. “From the worldwide success of Grey’s Anatomy to today, with five series (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, For the People, and the Grey’s spin-off), a pilot from Allan Heinberg and a number of projects in development, we will continue to shepherd that success together. The Shondaland imprint will always be an important part of ABC Studios and we wish them all the best in this new endeavor.”
Added ABC President Channing Dungey: “Shonda, Betsy and I started working together with the first episode of Grey’s Anatomy and those early days will forever remain one of the highlights of my professional life. We are happy to continue working with Shonda and her team at Shondaland on Grey’s, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, and the upcoming For the People and Grey’s spin-off. I’m proud to have given a home to what have become some of the most celebrated and talked about shows on television. 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’ departure will be a huge loss for ABC. The hitmaker singlehandedly boosted the network’s female demographic while helping the network survive the loss of Desperate Housewives by creating new zeitgeisty characters like Derek and Meredith, Olivia Pope, and Annalise Keating. Though Scandal and HTGAWM never achieved the ratings dominance enjoyed by Grey’s, they brought film stars and Emmy cred to the network, not to mention a whole programming block that was marketed as TGIT.
TGIT will return to ABC with a two-hour premiere of Grey’s Anatomy on Thursday, Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. PT, followed by How to Get Away with Murder at 10 p.m. ET. The final season of Scandal will bow Thursday, Oct. 5 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
Lynette Rice contributed to this report.