Shonda Rhimes Sets the Record Straight: ‘I am the Highest Paid Showrunner in Television’

Shonda Rhimes has been silent on the income she garnered after landing a new development deal from Netflix, but she’s not being quiet any longer.

During Elle magazine’s Women in Hollywood event Monday, Oct. 15, the “Grey’s Anatomy” creator made a bold declaration.

Shonda Rhimes

(Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for ELLE Magazine)

“I will not hide. I am going to brag. I am the highest paid showrunner in television,” she said in the second half of her speech. Her point was to urge women to toot their own horns and — as Oliva Pope of Rhimes’ “Scandal” would say — stand in the light.

“A little while ago in an inspiring article, Ellen [Pompeo] told the world she was the highest paid woman in dramatic television. She did not hide,” Rhimes said. “She bragged. She said she was powerful and she said she deserved it. And there was some blowback. And there should not have been. I have seen a thousand articles like that from men, but she’s a woman and she shouldn’t say things like that. She should hide. I was really mad on her behalf but then what did I go and do.”

She then turned her attention to Ryan Murphy, who revealed in a story for The Hollywood Reporter in April that he scored a five-year, $300 million deal with Netflix.

“Ryan Murphy, bless your amazingly talented heart. When Ryan, who is here, made his amazing deal with Netflix what did he do? He shouted his salary to the world and he did this gorgeous cover shoot for The Hollywood Reporter,” Rhimes explained. “He deserved every minute of it and I applauded him.”

Reports emerged about Rhimes’ own deal with the streaming giant, which initially claimed she’d be making $100 million to work with Netflix and pull away from long-time home ABC.

“When I made a deal with Netflix, I let them report my salary wrong in the press and I did as few interviews as possible,” Rhimes explained. “Then I put my head down and worked. In other words, I hid. I’m getting this award for inspiring other women and how can I inspire anyone if I’m hiding?”

“So, let me take a deep breath. And on behalf of women everywhere in the name of not leaving my sister hanging, I will brag. I got to say this is harder than I thought. I am the highest paid showrunner in television,” she declared.

Rhimes didn’t disclose the exact number for the multi-year deal she struck with Netflix and her production company, Shondaland. But being the biggest earner would mean she bests Greg Berlanti. The producer landed a four-year contract extension with Warner Bros. Television worth $400 million.

Even still, the TV juggernaut’s declaration made a mark on those who caught her remarks.

“You deserve every penny you make. You’re Fabulous. God Bless.”

“S/O to @shondarhimes showing that True Black Girl Magic!”

“Well deserved!”


Back to top