In what is being reported as a shocking move, prime-time drama juggernaut Shonda Rhimes‘ Shondaland is jumping ship from ABC Studios to Netflix.
“Shondaland’s move to Netflix is the result of a shared plan [Netflix CCO] Ted Sarandos and I built based on my vision for myself as a storyteller and for the evolution of my company,” Rhimes said in a statement obtained by Entertainment Weekly. “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.”
Rhimes reportedly felt that she had accomplished everything she could after 12 years with ABC and, according to Deadline, she had been feeling restless. The producer also had been seeking opportunities to break new ground as a creator. With one year left on her four-year overall deal with ABC, the industry website reported she negotiated an early exit to nab a similar deal with the movie streaming giant.
Since launching her television career at ABC with “Grey’s Anatomy” more than a decade ago, Rhimes has gone on to develop a slew of other hit programming for the TV network. “Scandal,” which is beginning its final season this fall, and “How To Get Away With Murder” are included in that lineup, and the upcoming legal drama “For The People” and a “Grey’s Anatomy” spin-off are currently in development. These series will continue Rhimes’ relationship with the Disney-owned network, whose parent company she began working with when she wrote the screenplay for 2004’s “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.”
“Our current shows will continue to thrive on ABC and Shondaland will be there every step of the way,” Rhimes said, according to EW. “I could not have asked for a better home to begin my career. 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.
“Starting today, we are thrilled to begin creating new Shondaland stories with Netflix. Everyone at Shondaland is honored to expand both our audience and our creative identity with Ted and the entire team at Netflix.”
Rhimes’ ABC departure comes more than a year after her Shondaland stars Viola Davis and Kerry Washington scored their own production deals with Netflix.