Shonda Rhimes Signs Multi-Production Deal With Streaming Giant Netflix

Credit: Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

As if news these days didn’t make us feel like we’re in an episode of the Twilight Zone, or Black Mirror already, here comes a shocker that could very well be the final nail in the coffin that is broadcast television.

With many major networks breaching out into digital, and Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu fighting for the number one spot at the streaming Olympics, it was only a question of time until major producers and creators would make the move to the interwebs.

After Disney announced that it would take its content off Netflix and start its own streaming service in the upcoming year, Netflix is now striking back by taking one of Disney’s biggest fish.

Shonda Rhimes has signed a multi-production deal with Netflix, stating that her production company Shondaland will begin producing new series for the streaming giant, while she will continue to be involved in her current slate of broadcast programs, such as ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy or How to Get Away with Murder.

With this new deal, Rhimes  puts an end to her long-standing relationship  with Disney-owned ABC. What would ABC look like without hits like Scandal, or Rhimes’ longest-running program Grey’s Anatomy, whose syndication licences have undoubtedly paid for the production cost of the series by now – twice, at least.

In a statement Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix called Rhimes “one of the greatest storytellers in the history of television”. We can’t help but agree, whole-heartedly.

“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.”

Shonda Rhimes herself said that the deal was born out of a “shared plan” she and Sarandos have for Netflix, “based on [her] vision for [herself] as a storyteller and for the evolution of my company”.

She added that Netflix offered the creative space for that. It’s hard to deny that the streaming service does offer more creative freedom in regards to genre, length of the series, and even the duration of single episodes. It will be interesting to see what the duo comes up with in the future. We will be there to watch.

The only positive thing for fans of ABC’s TGIT programming is that Rhimes will continue to oversee her projects for the time being. Not all is lost in Shondaland!

Verena Cote
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