Shonda Rhimes has ended her successful run at ABC and making a move. Netflix announced Sunday night that the prolific series creator has signed a multi-year deal with the streaming service to produce new projects.
The news comes after a Wall Street Journal report was published just after midnight ET.
Betsy Beers, Rhimes’ longtime producing partner, will also be moving to Netflix. According to WSJ, 30 Shondaland employees will be joining them.
“Shonda Rhimes is one of the greatest storytellers in the history of television,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix. “Her work is gripping, inventive, pulse-pounding, heart-stopping, taboo-breaking television at its best.”
Rhimes told the Wall Street Journal that part of her reason for moving was to be free of the restrictions of network television, such as appeasing advertisers and other censorship regulations.
“I’m thrilled by the idea of a world where I’m not caught in the necessary grind of network television,” she said, adding that working with Netflix provides “larger creative freedom.”
“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 said in a Netflix press release.
A person close to ABC told TheWrap that the three shows currently on the network — “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder” — along with the “Grey’s” spinoff in pre-production and the upcoming legal drama “For the People,” will stay with ABC Studios.
They also said that showrunners currently on Shondaland shows will stay with ABC and their deals remain in place.
That means fans of the Shondaland slate won’t have to get a Netflix subscription. They’ll continue to air on ABC (and also on the streaming service).
“We’re so proud of the work we’ve done with Shonda and Betsy throughout our long and productive relationship,” ABC Studios president Patrick Moran said in a statement. “The Shondaland imprint will always be an important part of ABC Studios and we wish them all the best in this new endeavor.”
“I’m proud to have given a home to what have become some of the most celebrated and talked about shows on television,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said.
This is the most recent big deal for Netflix. The service also just nabbed the Coen Brothers’ anthology “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” and bought Millarworld, the comics publisher behind “Kingsmen” and “Kick-Ass.”