Shonda Rhimes Says She Felt Like She Was “Dying” During Her Time With ABC

Writer and producer Shonda Rhimes walked away from ABC and found a new home with Netflix after 15 years with the network, after feeling like she was “dying” creatively. The 50-year-old who garnered success producing the hit ABC series “Grey’s Anatomy” says that she was no longer being fulfilled.

“I felt like I was dying,” Rhimes told The Hollywood Reporter during her recent sit down. “Like I’d been pushing the same ball up the same hill in the exact same way for a really long time.” But it wasn’t the workload that motivated Rhimes to head to Netflix.

It was a situation regarding a few Disneyland passes that was the final straw for Rhimes. 

The world renowned creator had been given one all-inclusive pass to the theme park and a second one for her nanny back in 2017. However, she wanted to send her sister to the park to accompany her teenage daughter, while her nanny would tend to her younger children. The network told Rhimes that she could not give her pass to her sister to use. She was eventually issued an additional pass, but once her daughters arrived at the park in Anaheim, only one of the passes was active. When she reached out to an exec to rectify the situation, she was told “Don’t you have enough?” She immediately contacted her lawyer and demanded that they figure out a way to work out a Netflix deal for her. Rhimes was done with ABC. 

Fast forward three years later. The nine-figure Netflix deal came to fruition with two projects gearing up to be released, a documentary about the life of actress/philanthropist Debbie Allen, which is set to be released on November 27th followed by “Bridgerton,” a drama which will debut on the streaming service December 25th.  

While she is happy to work on the new projects, she was very blunt with the streaming giant that she would not be duplicating her award winning work on “Grey’s Anatomy” 

“You’re not going to get another Grey’s Anatomy—not Grey’s Anatomy in a cornfield, Grey’s Anatomy on a baseball field or Grey’s Anatomy at an airport, that’s just not happening.” she told Netflix’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos. 

Sarandos is not worried about what Rhimes has in store. He is assured that her immense talent will attract viewers, no matter what the subject matter.

“Shonda knows how to entertain, knows how to get people thinking and knows how to craft a story better than anyone I’ve ever dealt with.”


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