Shonda Rhimes, perhaps the most powerful producer in television, is ending a lengthy, decade-plus relationship with ABC, home of her hits Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, to head to Netflix, in a deal the Wall Street Journal (which broke the news) estimates will earn her $10 million per year.
Rhimes’s production company, Shondaland, will begin producing new series for Netflix, which has long been the streaming home of Shondaland reruns. Meanwhile, her current series will continue to air on ABC — in particular, the Thursday night bloc of Grey’s Anatomy (still one of TV’s most successful dramas), Scandal (heading into its final season), and How to Get Away with Murder.
Longtime Shondaland producing partner Betsy Beers will join Rhimes in the move to Netflix.
Notably, the series that Shondaland creates for Netflix may not be created by Rhimes herself. The producer frequently shepherds series from other writers she works with to the air. Her name may be attached as an executive producer, but the series themselves are typically created and run by other writers. (How to Get Away with Murder, for instance, is created and run by Peter Nowalk.)
“Shondaland’s move to Netflix is the result of a shared plan [Netflix’s] Ted Sarandos and I built based on my vision for myself as a storyteller and for the evolution of my company,” Rhimes said in a statement. “Our current shows will continue to thrive on ABC and Shondaland will be there every step of the way.”
The move is a blow to ABC, which has struggled to find drama hits not produced by Rhimes in recent years. It also reflects a longtime Netflix strategy of developing new series based on which older titles perform well in its library.
“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 told Variety. “With the launch of a new season upon us, fans can rest assured that TGIT remains intact and will be as buzzed about as ever.
The move is also the latest point of conflict between Netflix and Disney, which owns ABC and has vowed to pull many of its titles from Netflix once the current deal between the companies expires in 2019.
Vox will have more on this story as it develops.