After Disney hit Netflix where it counts by announcing last week that it was pulling its future programming off the streaming platform, Netflix has fired a significant volley at Disney’s ABC, signing Shonda Rhimes away from the network.
Rhimes has been one of ABC’s most consistent ratings engines for years, funneling a lineup of successful drama programming to the network that has included “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” “How to Get Away With Murder” and “Private Practice.” Her Shondaland banner already has “For the People” in the works, along with an untitled “Grey’s Anatomy” spinoff.
Now Rhimes and Shondaland, along with Rhimes’ longtime producing partner Betsy Beers, move to Netflix with a multiyear deal to produce new series and other projects.
“The move further unites Rhimes with Netflix,” the streaming service said in announcing the signing Sunday. “While Shondaland’s award-winning series such as ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘Scandal’ and ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ air in the U.S. on ABC — and will continue to — ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ streams everywhere else in the world on Netflix, with ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and ‘Scandal’ available on Netflix in many regions as well.”
Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer for Netflix, commented in the announcement: “Shonda Rhimes is one of the greatest storytellers in the history of television. Her work is gripping, inventive, pulse-pounding, heart-stopping, taboo-breaking television at its best. I’ve gotten the chance to know Shonda and she’s a true Netflixer at heart — she loves TV and films, she cares passionately about her work, and she delivers for her audience. We’re so excited to welcome her to Netflix.”
Rhimes added: “Shondaland’s move to Netflix is the result of a shared plan 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. The future of Shondaland at Netflix has limitless possibilities.”
Rhimes exited ABC with some kind words for the network. “Our current shows will continue to thrive on ABC and Shondaland will be there every step of the way,” she said. “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.”