After a 15-year relationship with ABC, showrunner Shonda Rhimes left the network for a nine-figure deal with Netflix.
Rhimes is the creator and executive producer of major ABC television hits including Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder. But according to Rhimes, she had begun to feel creatively stifled at the company leading up to her decision to leave.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Rhimes said she felt a constant push and pull over budgets, content, and advertising at ABC. Despite generating more than $2 billion for ABC, which is owned by The Walt Disney Company, Rhimes was growing restless and sensed that a breaking point was coming.
But Rhimes admits she was surprised by what the last straw turned out to be — a Disneyland pass. As part of her compensation package, Rhimes received all-inclusive Disneyland passes for herself and her nanny, so she could bring Rhimes’ children to the park. One day, Rhimes requested a pass for her sister, who would be accompanying the children to the park — the passes were not interchangeable, so Rhimes was unable to give her sister her own pass.
Rhimes reports that there was a considerable amount of back and forth with the company, and she was told, “We never do this,” more than once before they ultimately agreed to issue another pass for her sister. But when the group arrived at the gates of Disneyland, only one of the passes worked.
Rhimes said she called a high-ranking executive at the company to try to sort out the situation, to which the executive allegedly replied, “Don’t you have enough?” Rhimes hung up the phone and immediately contacted her lawyer, instructing them to find a way to get her over to Netflix or she would find new representation. And in August 2017, it became official — Shonda Rhimes left her long-time network of ABC for a nine-figure overall deal at Netflix.
Now, more than three years after the deal was signed, Rhimes will soon release her first project for the streaming service — a documentary about director, choreographer, and philanthropist Debbie Allen which will drop on November 27th.
Do you watch any of the television shows created by Shonda Rhimes? Let us know which ones in the comments!
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