ABC Loses Their Golden Producer Shonda Rhimes to Netflix
Recently the Walt Disney Company announced it would be pulling its movies and other Disney-branded exclusives from Netflix, aiming to launch its own streaming service in 2019. And now, though Disney CEO Bob Iger claimed they had a "good relationship" with Netflix (and are currently negotiating to keep some Disney films on Netflix), it would seem the platform is punching back.
The New York Times reports, "In a huge blow to ABC and Disney, the prolific television hitmaker Shonda Rhimes has signed an exclusive overall deal with Netflix." Betsy Beers, her longtime producer, will also be making the move.
Rhimes—the creator of ABC hits Grey's Anatomy, How To Get Away With Murder, and Scandal—commented on the multiyear deal in a statement:
"Shondaland’s move to Netflix is the result of a shared plan [Netflix’s chief content officer] Ted Sarandos and I built based on my vision for myself as a storyteller and for the evolution of my company. 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."
Shondaland shows currently airing on ABC will remain there, along with any currently in development, including the upcoming For The People, and a Grey's spin-off. Newly produced series will be developed for Netflix.
According to Variety, the deal has been in the works for a few months, and "Rhimes’ existing pact with ABC Studios had been set to expire in June 2018... It’s understood that Rhimes let the studio know some time ago that she intended to move on after the deal ended."
Rhimes has been a hitmaker for ABC, producing hour-long dramas for the network for 15 years. Netflix may allow her more flexibility, however—Variety noted that working with the streaming platform could give Rhimes "a chance to work in a variety of genres and formats that are beyond the scope of broadcast TV."