Who Owns TGIT ABC Shonda

#TGIT on ABC: Shonda Rhimes' Tweets Call Tagline Ownership Into Question

Did Shonda Rhimes announce a time of death — or at least a months-long coma — for ABC’s “#TGIT” marketing campaign?

For the first time since 2013, ABC’s primetime Thursday lineup this fall will not be entirely furnished by Rhimes’ Shondaland production company. With Scandal on an extended hiatus and not premiering Season 6 until midseason, ABC is comfortably nestling between Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away With Murder the real life-inspired freshman drama Notorious, which stars Piper Perabo (Covert Affairs) and Daniel Sunjata (Graceland) and, more notably, is a Sony Pictures Television/ABC Studios co-production, counting Josh Berman (The Blacklist) among its exec producers.

That lineup invites the question: Will ABC promote the 1-2-3 punch of Grey’s Anatomy, Notorious and HTGAWM as “#TGIT”?

Or more to the point, can they?

Rhimes Davis Washington PompeoRhimes herself strongly suggested that a lineup with a non-Shondaland show in the mix does not qualify as #TGIT, by tweeting on Thursday night (after both Grey’s and The Catch aired their season finales), “This is the final night for #TGIT until 2017! See you for #GreysAnatomy and #HTGAWM in the fall!”

The prolific producer seemed to reiterate her point with a second tweet: “#TGIT returns with #GreysAnatomy #Scandal and #TheCatch next year! #Shondaland.”

Leading up to this month’s Upfronts Week (during which the broadcast networks presented their 2016-17 scheduled to ad buyers), ABC scheduling chief Andrew Kubitz told Ad Age, “We see Thursday night as a viewership opportunity, with either couples or women by themselves who want to sit down and escape and have fun and drink their red wine and have some popcorn. Right now, Shonda shows are the ones that are resonating with that [group], but that doesn’t mean any other show we are developing now or in the future can’t fit within that TGIT brand” — suggesting, at least, that a non-Shonda show could get folded into the campaign.

'Notorius' isn't a Shondaland production

The freshman Thursday drama Notorious is not a Shondaland production

Meanwhile, just days prior to Rhimes’ aforementioned pair of tweets, TVLine asked recently installed ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey if “#TGIT” by definition is “all Shondaland shows,” or could the campaign be applied to a lineup that included an outlier such as Notorious? She responded, “We have not even really started talking about our marketing plan for the fall yet, so I would say, ‘Stay tuned.'”

ABC first launched “#TGIT” (as in “Thank God It’s Thursday”) in fall 2014, when the series premiere of How to Get Away With Murder made for an attractive Shondaland trifecta that also solved a years-long Thursday lead-off problem (by moving veteran medical drama Grey’s to 8 o’clock) and seized upon the Scandal cast’s live-tweeting frenzy. At the time, ABC marketing VP Marla Provencio told the Los Angeles Times, “[#TGIT] showed that people can come to one show and stay the whole night if there is something that has a true natural flow.”

But need that “natural flow” spout forth from the same production shingle?

ABC could have maintained an all-Shondland Thursday lineup this fall, given that The Catch (a cat-and-mouse drama starring Mireille Enos and Peter Krause) was renewed for Season 2 and Still Star-Crossed (a Rhimes-produced follow-up to the story of Romeo and Juliet) was among the network’s new pick-ups.

Dungey, though, has said that due to its period setting and requisite extra production time, Still Star-Crossed was “always” earmarked for a midseason launch (and most likely not on Thursday), while The Catch will return at midseason to offer viewers the “consistency” of a Grey’s/Scandal/The Catch Thursday combo, as just concluded this month.

ABC had no further comment beyond Dungey’s statement. A spokesperson for Rhimes, meanwhile, declined to comment beyond last week’s tweets.

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59 Comments
  1. Lauren says:

    My head started to hurt halfway through this article. Who cares? Also, methinks ABC can do whatever they want when they’re marketing their line up on Thursday, and Shonda Rhimes can’t say anything about it. But of course, they bow down to her, so nevermind.

    • Shaw says:

      Just one simple question. Why do you hate this WOMAN who is hiring and empowering so many other woman. In a Male.dominated world? I don’t understand it at All. Would you weather it be the same men that’s at cbs that says a show is to womanly for TV.

      • Lauren says:

        What are you even talking about? How did this become a feminist issue?

        • Shaw says:

          Because every time this WOMAN name is mentioned on this website, there is nothing but Hate never, a this WOMAN is doing great things or but, oh course they bow down to her. And trust you’re not the only one I keep asking this same question every time I see the BS thrown at this WOMAN for becoming successful. And empowering other woman I hope I you’re life you become good at something so other woman can put you down too…..

          • Lauren says:

            Yes, you’re right. I saw a successful woman in the media and I disliked her immediately for that reason. I specifically like to put down women for being successful and doing great things. I hate women.

          • bigdede says:

            LOL you’re so full of bull. People may hate Shonda because of how she treats her fans. She expects fan loyalty but she shows none herself. She needs to be more worried about Scandal and HTGAWM dropping ratings then some TIGT tag. Scandal has lost 4 million fans. That should be the issue.

          • grazelled says:

            I mostly dislike Shonda because of her power trips and how she treats those who work in her shows and somehow cross her. Another reason she’s earned my contempt is that the writing for the shows that have her name attached to them tend to depend on shock value and sexual situations instead of great storylines with substance. Oh btw I am a woman and I hate the way this WOMAN deals with those she believes have crossed her. For example Patrick Dempsey…X-d out in an awful episode SHE wrote herself.

          • Angie Marie says:

            Stop trying to make this a feminist issue. Shonda Rhimes is a WOMAN, but she is not GOD and she is not right all the time. She treats her fans like crap and she has no respect for them at all. The people who work for her seems to fear her more than respect her. Fear of losing their jobs if they don’t show complete loyalty, even when her writing is terrible.

      • Kp says:

        Woman = singular, women is plural so it would be “so many other women.” Your start and stop of sentences is so grammatically incorrect it makes me weep. Weather is what happens outside, wether would be the correct choice. “To” or “too”, your choice should have been too. And if that was one simple question, then this is one simple criticism. If you want to smackdown someone attempt to use the English language properly. And FYI not all of us woman bow down to shondaland….some of us may even find it and her nauseating.

      • Lucifer says:

        Lauren: Wow, I can’t believe Shonda’s nerve…

        Shaw: Why do you hate successful women so much? Just wondering

  2. robandco says:

    ABC would be stupid to not use TGIT in the fall. If ABC’s marketing team had the idea then Shonda should eat it and let them use it. The brand may not be as strong as it was when it started but it sure still is a nice one.

  3. Steven says:

    Shonda does not own the term TGIT, ABC does and they would be idiots not to continue with that marketing ploy.

  4. grazelled says:

    Wait is this still ABC or SBC. Did Shonda buy the American Broadcasting Co. if not they can do anything they want on any night. Seriously an article about TGIT rights? I knew the woman had a big ego but really are the execs at ABC such wimps?

    • Wendy says:

      Disney, who owns ABC, could simply crush her if they wanted to. At this point she is making them money, so they will be willing to work with her. However they have shown that they are willing to just buy out their partners and take over. Have to see how it shakes out.

  5. Kia says:

    I’m no expert but TGIT translates to Thank God it’s Thursday, no where does it say Shonda Thursday, so if ABC wants to keep using even with non-Shonda show, why not? That seems to me like such a petty thing.

  6. Jake L. says:

    The more interesting question is how Notorious will fit in between Grey’s and HGTAWM, regardless of who the executive producer is. From the trailer, it doesn’t look particularly interesting to me, and right now I’m planning to watch Grey’s and Murder only.

  7. Brian says:

    ABC would be morons to not use TGIT to still sell Thursday nights this fall. From the looks of it, that new show Notorious, which i’m not hearing much about, is going to need this gimmick to help it out.

  8. SG says:

    It’s TGIT, not TGISh, sorry Shonda.

  9. c-mo says:

    Comments like these make me like Shonda less and less every day! ABC better recognize soon that they cannot fill all of their timeslots with Shondaland shows because the minute she’s not happy, she will take her toys and go elsewhere…that’s what bullies do.

  10. sammy says:

    Shonda Rhimes has just proved you can be a genius in ur sjows but a crappy person otherwise. I have always gotten this better than ypu vibe off her and she comes across very b!tchy. She is so damn lucky that The Catch was given a second season. Had The Catch aired with that crap ratings last year it would hae went the same way as all other DOA shows. Also HTGAWM only got a season 3 order because Viola Davis went and got an award for her work. Lets be clear, Viola owns the show because she can make watching paint dry exciting. Not because of the writing. Season 2 was terrible compared to season 1 & it showed so she should just shut it… but knowing ABC they will bow to her majesty and do away with TGIT till next year. #dumbass. I am not a troll, these r my opionions and I am not the only one who shares these views.

  11. Guy says:

    ABC can do whatever they want since they created this hashtag, but methinks it would be wise to hold out till Scandal returns for a true marketing push. So in the end, she’ll probably get her way on this.

  12. katie says:

    Okay, I kinda hate her a little now. I mean, to me, it looks like she is saying, “Sorry, none of the writers of the new shows can hold a candle to my own writing and don’t deserve to even be in the same tagline as the blessings of television I have given y’all.” She’s a joke.

  13. Coe says:

    Feels like a non issue, TGIT was supposed to be like ABC Fridays. Sit yourself down and enjoy all the programming. Doesn’t matter who the showrunner is, the concept is stick with ABC, vs flipping channels.

    Unless ABC justs caves, I don’t see any leg to stand on. Drama for no reason

  14. Danny says:

    The Shonda Thursday juggernaut isn’t as hot as the media would have you believe. First, the 12-year-old “Grey’s Anatomy” (which is having a resurgence of sorts) is the network’s top-rated drama. “Scandal” took a hit in the ratings this year, meaning it’s vulnerable. Meanwhile, neither “How to Get Away with Murder” nor “The Catch” are ratings hits. The former still has some buzz, thanks to Viola Davis (expect more viewer backlash if Davis wins another Emmy, and has the gall to compare herself to a heroic slave who saved lives in the Civil War). But who talks about “The Catch”? ABC could have had another Thursday night hit if they returned “Secrets & Lies” (which start slow, ratings-wise, and built an audience, week over week) as a “#TGIT” entry rather than airing it on Sundays vs. football and “The Walking Dead.” Shonda has talent, for sure; “Grey’s Anatomy” will be her legacy. The other shows are side notes. ABC should have axed “The Catch” to show Shonda (who dismisses actors she dislikes – Tim Daly, Patrick Dempsey, etc.) she’s not the only showrunner in television.

    • Christian says:

      Greys, Scandal and Murder are all top 10 dramas. Check the rankings on deadline if you need proof. So take several seats, little boy, before I make you!

      • Lucifer says:

        Being a sassy diva with one-liners doesn’t help, that’s why there are people who dislike Shonda’s personality.

    • Brian Lanz says:

      Yes, The Catch needs to go. Secrets & Lies will be back in the fall on Sundays, in the timeslot now being left void by the cancellation of The Family. ABC should have renewed The Family for a second season and put Secrets & Lies in the Thursday night spot between Grey’s Anatomy and HTGAWM.

  15. Ames says:

    Thank goodness. We could all use a break from Shondra.

  16. Et al. says:

    Seeing as her latest show was a flop and abc only renewed it as a courtesy to her, she should return the courtesy by letting abc’s marketing team do what they want. Anyway, she’ll forget all about this once Gilmore Girls debuts and she can resume attacking Amy Sherman Palladino.

    • Lucifer says:

      Oh god, that one-sided feud was so painful to watch – especially when people defended Shonda.

    • Hb says:

      I am not a fan of Rhimes’ and love GG.

      However.

      Rhimes was on point with her criticism of ASP. And ASP’s response to the critique lacked self-awareness, as well as missed the point and showed her white privilege. I often found myself wondering why there weren’t more people of color in GG, but ASP’s response to Rhimes showed me why (see previous sentence).

      On top of not addressing a valid critique, ASP went a step further and tried to bring in a feminist argument of women needing to support women. In the same breath using a de facto male perspective (i.e. Competition) and something about women who hate men are sad (WTF?).

      And if ASP’s GG revival is again lacking in diversity? I hope Rhimes isn’t the only one tweeting at ASP about that very important and valid critique.

      • Hb says:

        And I only mention GG because Bunheads was not my cup of tea and didn’t watch.

      • Lucifer says:

        I wrote a reply to this a few days ago, but I forgot to post it so I’ll just skip right to the point; Shonda is in no position to be throwing stones in terms of who is a more “progressive” writer and who has more “privilege.”

  17. Didn’t they use #TGIT last year after HTGAWM ended last year and a long ago cancelled replacement kicked off?

  18. peterwdawson says:

    Thursdays are still Thursdays, regardless of if a Shondaland show is airing or not, so using TGIT is kind of a non-issue. Still calling Thursdays spending time in Shondaland, sure, since it now would lack one of said shows, would be mired a bit, but it’s still Thursday.

  19. Brian Lanz says:

    Are we still promoting The Catch? What a stupid waste of time. I love HTGAWM and to think The Catch lives up to the expectations of #TGIT is a serious over-statement. I got disinterested in it pretty much after I wasted 2 hours in the first 2 weeks it started airing. Please take The Catch off and put great shows like The Family back on.

  20. Alex says:

    What a tragedy!

  21. A fan of TV says:

    Sounds like Shonda’s power tripping again, sorry. Unless there’s a contract of sorts that states the contrary (though if that were true then either side would have said as much by now). TGIT is hardly Shonda-specific, not least because it borrows from ABCs own TGIF nostalgia.

  22. Sade Stuart says:

    .i understand not using the tgit tagline cause what if the show in the middle doesn’t live up to the hype

  23. Tony says:

    While I think ABC should be allowed to use the tagline, I won’t join in on the Shonda bash fest. I get the feeling this is just one more excuse people need to hate on the woman. Whether or not she gets her way, I thinks she’s at least earned the right to express her opinion. And yes, if this were a male show creator/producer (a Dick Wolf or Aaron Sorkin), it wouldn’t even be a discussion

  24. Ram510 says:

    Shonda needs to calm down. If Shonda was really that concerned about having an all Shondaland night then she needed to find a way to have Scandal have a full season. The Catch just isn’t strong enough and pretty much got a pity renewal. I’m sure The Catch will come back mid season, bomb and will be quickly forgotten.
    Notorious probably won’t be a huge hit either, it looks like leftover scraps from USA

  25. Why is this such an issue? I don’t see why we should care so much.

  26. awnb95 says:

    Saw a preview for Notorious. It looks to me like a lame show trying to be another Scandal just with news.

  27. Anna says:

    Lmao, there is so much hate for this woman. Y’all are tripping. Didn’t she just tweet that the full TGIT lineup that has been going for the past few years won’t be airing until January? I don’t see any comment about how ABC can’t use that marketing if they want. She was just confirming that one of the shows will be on hiatus.

  28. Felicity A says:

    TGIT is an ABC brand not a Shonda Rhimes brand. Nowhere in the term TGIT is the word Shonda….unless she she’s herself as the “god” in Thank God it’s Thursday.

  29. Raine martinez says:

    Gosh, tgit is my getaway !!! I’m chronically ill so that night is MY night to eat takeout drink a soda and take my anxiety early!!! After all, I’m at the edge of my seat ALL night long!!! Love Shondland and all those shows!! Please don’t ever stop!! 🌌🌛🌹😊

  30. tata8608 says:

    I hope Shonda Rhimes never stops writing! All if her shows are the best on TV! Yes she empowers women! If ABC were to drop her shows, they would lose the majority of their viewers!

  31. Jane says:

    Put the canceled ABC show the Family back in the Thurs. Night lineup. Many viewers want it back!!!!!!