From ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ to ‘The Bridgerton Chronicles’: Shonda Rhimes, the strongest showrunner on the small screen – 03/17/2022, 08:30 AM


A look at the career of screenwriter and producer Shonda Rhimes. photo credit: Instagram screenshot @shondarhimes

Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Murder, The Bridgerton Chronicles… What do these series have in common? Shonda Rhimes. For almost 20 years, the writer and producer has established herself as one of the most influential figures in the entertainment industry. While his latest creation, Reinventing Anna, is available on Netflix from Feb. 11 and new shows of Lady Whistledown are expected on March 25, it’s a look back at the rise of one of the showrunner’s most preeminent.

Hit Series for ABC

On March 27, 2005, ABC (a subsidiary of the Disney group) aired a pilot episode. Grey’s Anatomy , a series depicting the professional and sentimental daily life of doctors at a Seattle hospital. It was an immediate success, with 22 million viewers watching the last episode of the first season. A masterstroke that propelled 35-year-old screenwriter Shonda Rhimes to the big leagues. She becomes the first black female showrunner (the person responsible for overseeing the writing and production of a program) for a prime-time nationally broadcast series.

Grey’s Anatomy is one of ABC’s longest-running series, with the network announcing in January that it had ordered a 19th season. Shonda Rhimes stepped down from copyright in 2017, but continues to produce the series through her company Shondaland.

In 2012 she did it again with Scandal , a series about the corridors of power, starring Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, a public relations professional who specializes in crisis management. The program will generate up to $100 million in ad revenue per season. Two years later, she launched a legal series Murder ( How to Get Away with Murder ) worn by Viola Davis. Since September 2014, Shonda Rhimes has ruled Thursday evenings, taking turns Grey’s Anatomy , Scandal as well as Murder airing on ABC. An unprecedented situation that will even spawn the #TGIT hashtag (thank god it’s Thursday – thank god it’s Thursday).

Wealth over $100 million

According to the magazine Forbes , Shonda Rhimes will be at the head of a fortune estimated at $135 million. In 2014, she renewed her contract with ABC for 4 years. Deal amount: $10 million per year. She also reportedly made a 10% profit when her three flagship programs were sold to streaming sites as well as other channels for rebroadcasting (called content syndication) for $1 million per episode. In 2017, it was estimated that the production company Shondaland had earned $2 billion since its inception through advertising, syndication, or overseas adaptation rights sales.

In 2017, Shonda Rhimes ended her contract with ABC to sign with Netflix. The amount of the transaction is estimated at 100 to 150 million dollars over 4 years. This allows him to continue producing his series for ABC while developing and producing exclusive programming for the streaming giant, whether it be movies, series or mini-series. Shonda Rhimes renewed her contract with Netflix in July 2021. Now it is expanding to new formats: video games, virtual reality or even live broadcasts.

Journal Forbes She recently ranked as the 18th highest paid person in the entertainment industry with an annual income of $81 million. She is now the highest paid female showrunner.

From The Chronicles of Bridgerton to the Invention of Anna

Bridgerton Chronicles this is the producer’s first collaboration with the platform. Based on the Julia Quinn saga, this romantic series paints a portrait of early 19th century London’s high society. The writing was commissioned to Chris Van Dusen. In the month since its launch in December 2020, it has been viewed by 82 million accounts. The series peaked at number one in 83 countries including France, the UK and the US. It was in the top 10 in all territories where the platform operates, except for Japan. Seasons 3 and 4 are in the works, and Shonda Rhimes is working on a Queen Charlotte spin-off.

On February 11, Netflix uploaded the series. Inventing Anna inspired by the true story of Anna Delvey, who robbed New York society by pretending to be a wealthy heiress. This is Shonda Rhimes’ first project as a designer since the end. Scandal 4 years ago.

From 'Grey's Anatomy' to 'Bridgerton Chromics': Shonda Rhimes, the most influential showrunner on the small screen (Photo: Instagram screenshot @shondarhimes)

From ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ to ‘Bridgerton Chromics’: Shonda Rhimes, the most influential showrunner on the small screen (Photo: Instagram screenshot @shondarhimes)

Book, website, podcast: The Shondaland Empire

In recent years, Shonda Rhimes has begun working in other media. In 2015, she published a book chronicling her professional career. Year Yes bestseller New York Times . In September 2017, she partnered with Hearst Group to create lifestyle website Shondaland.com. Finally, in 2019, she signed a three-year contract with iHeartMedia to launch Shondaland Audio and produce a series of podcasts.

One of the most influential African Americans in the digital age.

From 'Grey's Anatomy' to 'Bridgerton Chromics': Shonda Rhimes, the most influential showrunner on the small screen (Photo: Instagram screenshot @shondarhimes)

From ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ to ‘Bridgerton Chromics’: Shonda Rhimes, the most influential showrunner on the small screen (Photo: Instagram screenshot @shondarhimes)

Shonda Rhimes is considered one of the most influential African American women in the United States today, along with Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey. She marked the entertainment industry by applying the principle of ” colorblind casting ”, that is, the casting is indifferent to the skin color of the actors. Grey’s Anatomy is the perfect example. The showrunner is known for her characters of strong women, often women of color. She advocates for people of color to be better represented in the entertainment industry, and her contract with Netflix includes financial support from the platform in this regard.

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