Late Sunday night, Netflix announced that it had signed a $10 million a year, multi-year agreement with Shonda Rhimes, the mind behind some of Disney/ABC’s primetime hits. It comes on the heels of Disney’s decision to cut ties with the company starting in 2019 with the debut of Disney’s own streaming service.
The “How To Get Away With Murder” and “Scandal” creator’s contract with the Disney-owned TV network later this year. According the to The Los Angeles Times, ABC execs tried to keep her with multiple monetary offers, but she already made up her mind to make the shift.
Rhimes decision came most likely came from a combination of money offered and the creative freedom for her and her production company. “[It’s a] clear, fearless space for creators,” she said of Netflix in a statement.
The streaming service has made it clear that it wants to create original content for its over 100 million global subscribers. Rhimes’ statement of her new collaborative partners proves that Netflix is serious and is willing to devote the resources and even flexibility for creators to produce shows that fit a certain format (e.g. Netflix shows are nearly 1 hour of uninterrupted show time with no commercials. It’s all done intentionally to support its new generators of content-turned-business.
ABC isn’t losing all of its Shondaland shows, however. As previously announced at this year’s Upfront presentation, the network will still air the final season of “Scandal” and air two new shows starting this fall. All future shows now will only be viewable with a subscription to the streaming giant that’s also looking to become a production giant, too.
“Shonda Rhimes is one of the greatest storytellers in the history of television,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, said in a statement. “Her work is gripping, inventive, pulse-pounding, heart-stopping, taboo-breaking television at its best. We’re so excited to welcome her to Netflix.”