Saturday, 20 January, 2018

Netflix Strikes a Blow at Disney by Snagging Shonda Rhimes

The prolific showrunner behind 'Grey's Anatomy,' 'Scandal' and more has left her longtime home at ABC Studios for the streaming giant Leon Bennett Getty Images
Theresa Hayes | 14 August, 2017, 16:56

Shonda Rhimes is heading to Netflix and leaving ABC behind her.

Emmy victor Shonda Rhimes is taking her Shondaland production company to Netflix under a multi-year deal to produce new series and other projects, the company announced Sunday.

Betsy Beers, Rhimes' longtime producing partner, will also be moving to Netflix.

Netflix announced the surprising news on Sunday night in a statement, which included comments from Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos praising Rhimes as "one of the greatest storytellers in the history of television".

Our current shows will continue to thrive on ABC and Shondaland will be there every step of the way. Her production company will now become a separate division of Netflix's studio. I continue to be grateful to work with so many talented people - especially our studio gladiator Patrick Moran and our most powerful and brilliant champion Channing Dungey. She'd been at ABC since creating Grey's Anatomy in 2005, and her background with corporate parent Disney goes all the way back to writing the sequel to The Princess Diaries. That deal was set to expire next June, but according to Variety, Rhimes and ABC have been in discussions for months about an early exit.

Within the past week Netflix has managed to coax talk show legend David Letterman out of retirement, snatch up the (somewhat middling) comic publishing house Millarworld for new exclusive programming, and snagged Academy Award winning writer-directors Joel and Ethan Coen for a new Western series.

In the statement released by Netflix, Rhimes had nothing but kind words for ABC, sharing, "I could not have asked for a better home to begin my career".

Said Beers, "I am a huge fan of the talented team and incredible programming at Netflix". At ABC has also been developing yet another Grey's Anatomy spinoff and a new legal drama For the People, slated to air this fall.

Netflix just landed a big blow in its battle with Disney, luring the hitmaker behind top shows such as Grey's Anatomy and Scandal to the platform. "With the launch of a new season upon us, fans can rest assured that TGIT remains intact and will be as buzzed about as ever", she said. The exec's contract with Netflix is also set at four years. It's the BAMTech service that will provide the foundation for Disney's new streaming offering.