The News

Shonda Rhimes Leaves ABC for Netflix

The queen of Shondaland is taking her creative genius to the streaming giant!

Behind some of the network’s biggest hits like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, Shonda Rhimes is calling it quits with ABC after more than 10 years of collaboration. Instead, the famous showrunner is said to have signed a multiple-year deal with Netflix for which she will create and produce new projects.

“Shonda Rhimes is one of the greatest storytellers in the history of television,” said Netflix’s chief content officer, 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.”

The move comes after Netflix featured Grey’s Anatomy in its library, which allowed the show (about to claim the title for the longest-running medical series on television alongside ER) to become ABC’s most-watched drama while already in its 13th season.

This next step in her career makes a lot of sense for Rhimes as she considers it an opportunity to produce shows with an almost total creative freedom, allowing for more originality. (It is a known fact that working for a network like ABC on prime-time programs can have its share of limitations due to censorship, which means writers have to hold back on scenes and language deemed too offensive for TV.)

“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,” explained Shonda Rhimes in a statement. “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.”

ABC will still own the Shondaland series Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, and all the others Rhimes worked on while she was still under contract with the network (which includes a new spinoff to Grey’s Anatomy and the upcoming legal drama, For the People).

The news can also be regarded as a counterpunch from Netflix to Disney after its recent decision to pull all of its productions (comprising Star Wars, Pixar and Marvel movies) from the platform and start its own streaming service. (ABC is part of Disney Media Networks, a primary unit of The Walt Disney Company.)