After seven seasons and over 120 episodes, ABC's political drama Scandal is coming to an end this week. According to The Hollywood Reporter, creator Shonda Rhimes hopes the show can continue to open doors for diverse television long after it's gone off the air. As only the second network television drama to have a black woman as its lead since 1974's Get Christie Love!, Scandal made history when it debuted in 2012.
Since then, diverse shows like Black-ish, Atlanta, and Fresh Off The Boat have all done well despite the archaic Hollywood notions that people of color can't pull in the same viewership as their white counterparts. Both Rhimes and Scandal star Kerry Washington played significant roles in adding some much-needed diversity to the primetime schedule, and Rhimes just hopes her work with the show has shifted that narrative for shows in the future.
"Now it feels very normal and obvious that women of color can lead shows, so hopefully that is something that Scandal has done," Rhimes told THR on a conference call recently. "Hopefully we've created a world in which we've stopped seeing these characters on television and it's a magical anomaly that they're there and there's an otherness to them.… Hopefully we've made a dent in that."
With fans including Barack and Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey, Scandal has certainly made a huge dent in popular culture. The show has even been credited with being one of the earliest adopters of cast and fan live-tweeting during broadcasts. As Rhimes makes her big move to Netflix, the end of Scandal means one less show she created specifically for ABC. But with the continued success of one of her other shows, including the procedural drama How to Get Away with Murder, Rhimes' legacy of putting black women on network television will continue to last well into the future.
The Scandal series finale airs this Thursday at 10 p.m. on ABC.