What Shonda Rhimes’ Jump To Netflix Means For ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘How To Get Away With Murder’ & ‘Scandal’ Fans

Netflix shook up the Hollywood landscape Sunday night (Aug. 13) when it announced that it had wooed mega-producer Shonda Rhimes away from ABC with a four-year production deal. The agreement ends Rhimes’ successful 15-year relationship with ABC Studios — a partnership that fostered the creation of hit dramas like Grey’s Anatomy, How To Get Away with Murder and Scandal.

According to Variety, Rhimes informed ABC Studios some time ago that she intended to exit the network after her current deal expired in June 2018. Shortly afterwards, the two negotiated an agreement for her to leave early.

Rhimes’ Netflix deal will reportedly offer her the chance to broaden her horizons and experiment with genres and formats that are not available within the strict confines of the broadcast television. Netflix allows showrunners to break free from traditional episode lengths and be more creative with content, something that Rhimes has expressed an interest in doing.

In a statement, Rhimes said that “the opportunity to build a vibrant new storytelling home for writers with the unique creative freedom and instantaneous global reach provided by Netflix’s singular sense of innovation” was her aim.

“The future of Shondaland at Netflix has limitless possibilities.”

But while Shondaland’s jump to a streaming network may make creative sense for Rhimes, what will it mean for the marquee shows that she currently produces for ABC, namely Grey’s Anatomy, How To Get Away with Murder and Scandal?

The answer is fairly simple with Scandal. The popular political thriller is due to end after its upcoming seventh season ends in 2018, so Rhimes’ deal will have no impact on the series.

As for long-running ABC stalwart Grey’s Anatomy, Rhimes will reportedly continue to share showrunning duties with Betsy Beers and newly re-signed Krista Vernoff–who was the head writer for the show’s first seven seasons–for Season 14, which premieres in September. Meanwhile, she will continue to serve as a co-executive producer, along with Beers, Bill D’Elia and creator Peter Nowalk, on the Viola Davis showcase, How To Get Away with Murder. She will also continue to develop an already in the works Grey’s Anatomy spin-off with ABC.

The cast of ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ [Image by Jason Merritt/Getty Images]

Rhimes’ continued involvement means that fans of her ABC hits will likely notice few changes to their favorite shows–at least for the immediate future. Meanwhile, Deadline reports that Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How To Get Away with Murder are already among the most-streamed shows on Netflix worldwide, and Rhimes’ new deal with the streamer likely means that her series will be a constant presence on Netflix for years to come.

So for now, fans of Rhimes’ ABC programs can relax with the knowledge that their favorite shows are in safe hands and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, despite her departure for Netflix.

Grey’s Anatomy Season 14 returns to ABC at 8 p.m. on Sept. 28, 2017.

How To Get Away with Murder Season 4 returns to ABC at 10 p.m. on Sept. 28, 2017.

Scandal Season 7 returns to ABC at 9 p.m. on Oct. 5, 2017.

What do you think about the announcement that Shonda Rhimes is moving from ABC to Netflix? Tell us in the comments below.

[Featured Image by Mike Coppola/Getty Images]

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