Shonda Rhimes Network

Shonda Rhimes Is Up to Something — But What? We Have Some Theories...

Five years. That’s how long it’s been since we’ve witnessed the arrival of a new Shonda Rhimes TV show. Sure, we’ve seen a number of Shondaland-branded series, like How to Get Away With Murder and The Catch, debut, but one created and written by Rhimes herself? You’d have to go all the way back to 2012 and the premiere of a little show called Scandal for that.

So, what’s the holdup?

The buzz in some industry circles is that she could be waiting to unleash her next Grey’s Anatomy or Scandal for a very special occasion — like the launch of her own Shondaland-branded network or Netflix-style streaming platform or, at the very least, an independent studio (following in the footsteps of fellow Grey’s EP Mark Gordon). “She’s definitely planning something,” notes one longtime producer. “And my guess is it involves having ownership of her shows.” 

As another insider notes, rumors that Rhimes would “break off and pull an Oprah” began circulating late last year when, in the span of two months, Shondaland made a slew of high-profile hires — all in newly created positions — including a Head of Production (Sara Fischer), a Director of Branding (Sandie Bailey), a VP of Marketing and Communication (Kristen Andersen) and a VP of Strategy and Development (Chris DiIorio).

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Another telltale sign: Earlier this month, Rhimes started building a viewer database on Shondaland.com, while also hinting that the site would soon be home to original content — but the nature of that content remains unclear. The buzz is she may be fashioning it as a lifestyle/editorial destination, equal parts Goop and Huffington Post.

“You are never alone in Shondaland,” read the message, which appeared directly above the sign-up form. “It’s where all the badasses live. The ones who stand up for themselves. The ones who do what they want and say what they want and dance how they want and wear what they want. And you don’t give a crap what anyone else has to say about it. Shondaland is for the warrior in all of us. Shondaland is for the mighty, the competitive, the smart, the daring, and the bold. Add your voice. Join the tribe.”

As one longtime network exec shares, “She’s taking her brand to the next level — beyond just one night of programming on ABC.”

Of course, contractually speaking, Rhimes’ hands are tied until May 2018 when her current four-year, eight-figure pact with ABC Studios expires. And she continues to fulfill her end of the deal. Just last week, ABC announced it had picked up a new Shondaland drama pilot, written and created by Scandal scribe Paul Williams Davies. And the Romeo and Juliet-themed soap fka Still Star-Crossed remains on the horizon. But, again, in both cases, Rhimes is involved solely as an executive producer.

A  Shondaland spokesperson declined to comment for this story. A rep for ABC also had no comment.

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15 Comments
  1. Edil says:

    I really really hope Alfred Enoch is involved in any new show she makes/or is involved in.

  2. Andrew Hass says:

    Even though she’s contractually tied to ABC until next year, i’m sure there’s ways Shonda Rhimes could work around it.

  3. MK says:

    I will take all the Shonda I can get on any platform!!

  4. jj. says:

    very interested to see what she has up her sleeves. Shonda is one of the few creators who can create buzz and build a viewership based on her name alone. While I don’t tend to watch her shows past a couple of seasons, she definitely knows how to build a following and I could see a ‘Shondaland’ channel/streaming service doing quite well

  5. c-mo says:

    I hope she does do her own channel and then I can avoid all of her shows without avoiding an entire network channel I have previously enjoyed.

    • Tasha says:

      That’s silly. Why do you need to avoid an entire network? Her shows aren’t on them every minute of the day or every day of the week for that matter.

    • Jamie says:

      You go out of your way to avoid an entire network when literally all of her shows are only on one night a week? Lmao your life sounds sad.

  6. Sami says:

    1. An independent studio sounds most plausible here. Given how writers from her shows have gone on to create their own shows under the Shondaland label, means there could be shows she could sell to other networks other than ABC there.

    2. Her own network or streaming service is rather far fetched. I don’t think there’s enough content there for either and Oprah is well, Oprah!

    She may not have come up with a new big hit because at times droughts happen.

    Either way, given that Ausiello made a whole post about it, there’s def sth in the air. And it’s probably about to come to light very soon too.

  7. ZinniQ says:

    Oh not another of her awful shows, please, NO!

  8. HTGAWMFan says:

    You go, Shonda!

  9. Trogdor777 says:

    Always thought it would be cool if Sandra Oh got her own feature to lead. There seems to be a major mutual respect level between the two. Drama and comedy chops, and not many humans can dance it out like that woman!