A few months ago, one of the biggest names in television, Shonda Rhimes, signed an overall deal with the streaming giant Netflix.  This was probably one of the most epic moves in media history, a move that has officially shifted the television landscape as we know it.  During the 2017 Vanity Fair Summit, the powerhouse producer opened up about the decision to leave ABC and move to Netflix, her longtime home network of a decade-and-a-half.

“There no broadcast standard and practices” or length requirements,” Rhimes said. “I can make something that is an hour and a half and I can make something that is 15 minutes long. There’s no ‘we want to see more of this because that’s what you’ve done before.’ It’s an open road.”

She insisted that it wasn’t the traditional network formula that drove the change. “It’s not like we left it behind,” Rhimes said. “I have six shows that are happening over at ABC. It really was about doing something new and trying something new. After being someplace for 15 years, she said, acknowledging her appreciation for network television, “I reached a point where I could solve problems in my sleep. There was nothing new in terms of the challenges. I thought when you reach that point where you’re that comfortable it’s time to try something new. There’s a totally open road that Ted [Sarandos] has provided and an absolute clear lane to do whatever I want. They are very excited to go where I want to go.”

Rhimes also discussed the importance of ownership and knowing your value.

“It’s important to have a stake in what you make,” she said. “I think that that’s been a problem since the beginning of time.” Rhimes noted that Grey’s Anatomy has made about $2 billion for Disney, adding. “I don’t have $2 billion.”

“I think of myself as more of a businesswoman, and I have had to learn what’s important and what is not in terms of not getting screwed financially,” she said. “There’s a lot of people in this town that don’t know what the value of their work. … What’s important is to plant a flag, get a stake and build that up.”

She also touched on the hot-bottom issue of inclusion and lack of the accurate representation in the world of Hollywood.

“It’s an obvious fact that the world looks like what it looks like, which is I don’t walk out and see a sea of white men, Rhimes said. “That’s not how the world looks to me, and that’s certainly not interesting.  There’s a problem with the idea that a movie that stars a white guy is a movie but if it stars a female then it’s a female-driven movie, or if it stars a black person, it’s a black film. There is something inherently ignorant about that.”

Rhimes has not yet revealed any information as to which projects she will be working on at Netflix; however, we are almost certain that it will be groundbreaking and anxiously await more news on what’s to come from Shondaland!



About The Author

Founder, HBR Media

K. Nicole Mills is the Founder of HBR Media. She transitioned from Wall Street to television and film development, and has worked at NBCUniversal, Universal Pictures, and Showtime Networks. She currently develops digital programming for premium networks. Reach out anytime! info@hbrmedia.org

Related Posts