‘Scandal’ creator Shonda Rhimes ditches ABC for Netflix in new multi-year deal

shonda rhimes shondaland
Jay Goldman

Hit TV series producer Shonda Rhimes is moving her production company Shondaland from ABC to Netflix, striking a multi-year deal to produce new series and other projects for the streaming site.

Rhimes is best known for her mega-hit TV series Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder, all of which air on ABC. But it seems the lady with the knack for making hit TV series, many focusing on powerful women as central characters, is ready for a change. Alongside Rhimes, her long-time producing partner Betsy Beers will be making the move as well.

Netflix already has an existing relationship with Rhimes: How to Get Away With Murder, which stars Oscar and Emmy Award winning actress Viola Davis as high-powered lawyer Annalise Keating who leads her team of law students, often into questionable territories, streams through the service outside of the U.S. And medical and political dramas Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, respectively, are available on Netflix in many regions. All three shows will continue to air on ABC once their new seasons begin, presumably still as ABC’s Thursday night lineup, which fans and the network lovingly call TGIT. But it appears Rhimes wants in on the streaming original action with any new ideas.

Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix, calls Rhimes “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.” He adds that she is a “true Netflixer at heart.”

Rhimes says the move is part of a shared plan between herself and Sarandos, built on her vision for herself as a storyteller and the evolution of her company.

“Ted provides a clear, fearless space for creators at Netflix,” she said in a statement. “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.”

Rhimes expressed her thanks to ABC for serving as a platform through which she could begin her 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.”

In addition to the three aforementioned shows, other titles under the Shondaland umbrella include Private Practice, a Grey’s Anatomy spin-off that aired from 2007-2013, For the People, an upcoming ABC series starring Britt Robertson and Ben Rappaport, and an untitled Grey’s Anatomy spinoff that will center around a group of firefighters. Not everything Rhimes has touched has turned to gold, however. Her series The Catch was canceled after just two seasons.

There’s no word yet as to when we might see the first project from Shondaland on Netflix, and no financial details were disclosed.