Shonda Rhimes is taking her talents to Netflix. The writer, producer and all-around creative badass is turning network TV on its head yet again with a new multi-year deal that will see her produce a new series and other forthcoming projects for the streaming service. In a statement released Sunday night, right around the time HBO's crazy busy Sunday schedule kicks into high gear, Netflix announced that Rhimes will be bringing herself, her Shondaland production company and longtime production partner Betsy Beers to the platform.
“Shonda Rhimes is one of the greatest storytellers in the history of television,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos in the statement. “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.”
For those of us who need a little stability during these wild times, it was clarified that Rhimes' award-winning series Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder will remain at ABC, where the showrunner got her start 12 years ago. But Rhimes' creative future lies exclusively with Netflix.
"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. “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 implications of a change like this are huge. Chief among them is, what effect will Shonda's move have on the diversity of network TV? Rhimes is one of the most outspoken critics of the very white, very male media landscape, and she singlehandedly changed prime-time television by creating not one, but two popular scripted shows led by black women.
While Rhimes will still be in the entertainment arena, there's no doubt that this move is about to have a resounding impact on television—this will either open the door for another woman or person of color to enter the space and begin making their own creative characters and storylines, or... remember the very white, very male thing I mentioned earlier? That's how we end up with things like HBO's upcoming, ill-advised show Confederate. Diverse TV gods, help us all.