It would be hard to understate how important producer Shonda Rhimes has become to ABC in recent years. Beginning with Grey’s Anatomy in 2005, Rhimes and her Shondaland production company have been responsible for a large portion of ABC’s programming, presiding primarily over the network’s entire Thursday night block. Now, though, Rhimes is packing her bags and moving to Netflix.
On Sunday night, Netflix announced that Rhimes had signed a massive new multi-year deal with the streaming giant.
Shondaland, which has grown into a huge powerhouse production company in recent years, will now function as a fully-fledged division of Netflix’s own in-house studio.
Don’t worry, though: Rhimes will continue to work on her existing ABC shows, including Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder.
In addition, Shondaland has an upcoming show called For the People, a pilot called Adult Behavior, and another new Grey’s Anatomy spin-off in the works at ABC.
Working with Netflix will allow Rhimes to take her shows beyond the strict boundaries set by broadcast networks, something insiders say Rhimes was eager to do.
Rhimes still had one year left on her ABC contract, but the Netflix deal was so lucrative, she was able to negotiate an early exit.
Netflix has been working hard in recent years to recruit top talent to its studio, often poaching successful producers and writers from other networks.
Though Rhimes is by far the highest-profile “get” for the streaming company, they’ve also managed to bring on Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman, Weeds‘ Jenji Kohan, and sitcom mastermind Chuck Lorre.
How To Get Away With Murder, Scandal, and Grey’s Anatomy are said to be among the most popular series on Netflix, so it’s not surprising to see them pursue a deal with Rhimes. She leaves after a 15-year relationship with ABC’s parent company Disney, starting with her script for the 2004 The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.