In Depth

Women in Television: Shonda Rhimes

Who: Shonda Rhimes, creator and executive producer, ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice”

Women in TV

Why: The year started off on a picket line and not in a writing room for Ms. Rhimes, one of the more prominent showrunners who chose their writer roles over their producer duties during the Writers Guild of America strike. But Ms. Rhimes put her downtime to good use. The post-strike episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy” gave fans what they wanted: Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey) back together. Spinoff “Private Practice” got a do-over, too, with the first episode essentially becoming a new series pilot.

The strike, said Ms. Rhimes, “was a chance to step back and for the first time since this whole ride started think about what I was doing and if I still wanted to be doing it.” She added: “It’s a rare moment in time when you get to step away from something you’ve been working so furiously at for so long, and see it for what it is.” She liked what she found, although she gave up some duties on “Private Practice” to concentrate on the writing. “I think there were times last year where I said, ‘My God, what am I doing?’ but I really needed to do it, creatively and spiritually, for myself.”

What: Had Ms. Rhimes actually decided to chuck it all, becoming a librarian in Vermont was the fallback position. “It’s my secret dream,” she said.