Rhimes in 2008
|Born||Shonda Lynn Rhimes
January 13, 1970
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Alma mater||Dartmouth College
USC School of Cinematic Arts
|Occupation||Producer, screenwriter, director|
Shonda Lynn Rhimes (born January 13, 1970) is a screenwriter, director, and producer. Rhimes is best known as the creator, head writer, executive producer and showrunner of the medical drama television series Grey's Anatomy, its spin-off Private Practice and political thriller series Scandal. In May 2007, Rhimes was named one of TIME magazine's 100 people who help shape the world. Rhimes was an executive producer for the medical drama series Off the Map which aired on ABC for one season in 2011. Rhimes serves as executive producer for ABC's new legal series How to Get Away with Murder, which debuted September 25, 2014.
Rhimes was born in Chicago, Illinois to Vera, a university administrator and Ilee Rhimes, a college professor. Her mother attended college while raising six children and earned a Ph.D. in educational administration in 1991; her father, who has an MBA, is currently the chief information officer at the University of Southern California.
Rhimes lived in Park Forest South (now University Park, Illinois), with two older brothers and three older sisters. She has said she exhibited an early affinity for storytelling and that her time spent as a hospital volunteer while in high school sparked an interest in hospital environments. She attended Marian Catholic High School in Chicago Heights, Illinois, before enrolling at Dartmouth College, where she majored in English and film studies and earned her bachelor's degree in 1991. At Dartmouth, she joined the Black Underground Theater Association and divided her time between directing and performing in student productions and fiction.
She wrote for the college newspaper. After college, she relocated to San Francisco with an older sibling and worked in advertising at McCann Erickson. She subsequently relocated to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California to study screenwriting. While at USC, Debra Martin Chase hired her as an intern and Rhimes credits her early success in part to mentors like a prominent African-American producer, who hired her as an intern at Denzel Washington's production company Mundy Lane Entertainment. Chase would later serve as a mentor to Rhimes and work together on The Princess Diaries 2. Rhimes was ranked at the top of her class and earned the Gary Rosenberg Writing Fellowship. She obtained a Master of Fine Arts degree from the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
Career beginnings: 1995–2004
After graduation, Rhimes found herself an unemployed scriptwriter in Hollywood. To make ends meet, Rhimes worked at a variety of day jobs, including as an office administrator, and then as a counselor at a job center that taught mentally ill and homeless people job skills. During this period, Rhimes worked as research director on the 1995 Peabody Award-winning documentary, Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream (1995). Rhimes made her directorial debut in 1998 with the short film Blossoms and Veils starring Jada Pinkett-Smith and Jeffrey Wright. A feature script Rhimes wrote was purchased by New Line Cinema. This was soon followed by an assignment to write the acclaimed 1999 HBO movie Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. It earned numerous awards for its star, Halle Berry.
In 2001, Rhimes wrote Crossroads, the debut film of pop singer Britney Spears. Despite being panned by critics, the film grossed over $60 million worldwide. She then moved on to Disney’s sequel to its popular 2001 movie The Princess Diaries. Though 2004's The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004) did not score at the box office like its predecessor, Rhimes later said that she treasured the experience if for nothing else – the opportunity to work with its star, Julie Andrews. In 2003, Rhimes wrote her first pilot, about young female globe-trotting war correspondents, for ABC, but the network turned it down.
Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal and other projects: 2005–present
Rhimes is the creator and is currently the executive producer and head writer of Grey's Anatomy. The series debuted as a midseason replacement on March 27, 2005. The series focuses on the surgical staff at the fictional Seattle Grace Hospital, (later to be named Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital) in Seattle, Washington. The series features an ensemble cast with Ellen Pompeo serving as titular character Meredith Grey, who provides narration for a majority of the series' episodes. On May 16, 2006, ABC announced plans to relocate Grey's Anatomy from Sunday evenings to Thursdays to anchor the network's Thursday evening programming, by airing Thursdays at 9 p.m.
In 2007, Rhimes created and produced the Grey's Anatomy spin-off series Private Practice, which debuted September 26, 2007, on ABC. The show chronicles the life of Dr. Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) as she leaves Seattle Grace Hospital for Los Angeles to join a private practice. The series features an ensemble cast, including Tim Daly, Amy Brenneman, Audra McDonald and Taye Diggs among others. The first season was shortened due to writers' strike and consists of only nine episodes. In May 2012, ABC picked up Private Practice for the 2012-13 television season with 13 episodes. The series finale was aired January 22, 2013.
In 2010, Rhimes created a new pilot for ABC called Inside the Box, a female-centric ensemble drama set in a Washington, D.C., network news bureau. The lead character was Catherine, an ambitious female news producer, who with her colleagues pursued "the story" at all costs while juggling their personal animosities and crises of conscience. It was not picked up by the network.
In 2011, Rhimes served as executive producer for the medical drama, Off the Map, which was created by Grey's Anatomy writer, Jenna Bans. It focused on a group of doctors who practice medicine at a remote clinic in the Amazon. The series was officially cancelled by the ABC network on May 13, 2011. In May 2011, ABC ordered Rhimes's pilot script Scandal to series. Kerry Washington stars as Olivia Pope, a political crisis management expert who is partially based on former Bush administration press aide Judy Smith. The series debut aired on April 5, 2012.
In December 2013, it was announced that ABC had ordered to pilot the ShondaLand production How to Get Away with Murder. Actress Viola Davis joined the cast as the lead character in February 2014. It was officially picked up to series on May 8, 2014. Rhimes recently appeared as herself in the 5th episode of Season 3 of The Mindy Project, which aired October 14, 2014.
In 2015, Rhimes was in the process of developing a pilot called The Catch, based on the Kate Atkinson novel, which columnist Cindy Elavsky described as a "thriller ... about a woman who is about to get married ... and about to get conned." Mireille Enos will star.
ShondaLand is the name of Rhimes' production company. It and its logo also refer to the shows that Rhimes has created, and is also commonly used to refer to Rhimes herself. Shows which are included in ShondaLand are:
- Grey's Anatomy (2005-present)
- Private Practice (2007-2013)
- Scandal (2012-present)
- How to Get Away with Murder (2014-present)
Thank God It's Thursday
In 2014, ABC programmed its entire Thursday primetime lineup with ShondaLand dramas Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder, then branded the night as "Thank God It's Thursday" (or "TGIT"). This echoes ABC's former TGIF branding of its Friday night family sitcoms and even NBC's Must See TV promotion of formidable Thursday night television hits in the 1990s. Thursday is an especially important night for American television networks because it is the last chance for advertisers of weekend purchases like movies and cars to reach a large TV audience, and networks schedule highly rated programming for the night to attract those advertising dollars. The Associated Press called Rhimes' reign of an entire night of network television "unmatched in TV history".
Actors within ShondaLand
Some actors appear on more than one "ShondaLand" show. Characters can be recurring in one series while a main character in another.
|Actor||Grey's Anatomy||Private Practice||Scandal||How To Get Away With Murder|
|Darby Stanchfield||Tess Milford||Abby Whelan|
|Sarah Drew||April Kepner||Judy|
|Katie Lowes||Blood Donor||Kendra||Quinn Perkins|
|Jeff Perry||Thatcher Grey||Cyrus Beene|
|Kate Burton||Ellis Grey||Sally Langston|
|Joshua Malina||Seth Hammer||Jason||David Rosen|
|Bellamy Young||Kathy||Kathy||Melody "Mellie" Grant|
|Scott Foley||Henry Burton||Jake Ballard|
|Liza Weil||Alison Clark||Andi||Amanda Tanner||Bonnie Winterbottom|
|Tom Verica||Michael Norris||Sam Keating|
|Kate Walsh||Addison Montgomery||Addison Montgomery|
|George Newbern||Stan Mercer||Brian Reynolds||Charlie|
|Dan Bucatinsky||Jeffrey||James Novak|
|Paul Adelstein||Cooper Freedman||Cooper Freedman||Leo Bergen|
|Kelly McCreary||Maggie Pierce||Clare Tucker|
|Nazanin Boniadi||Amrita||Adnan Salif|
|Jerrika Hinton||Stephanie Edwards||Hannah|
|1995||Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream||No||No||No|
|1998||Blossoms and Veils||Yes||Yes||No|
|1999||Introducing Dorothy Dandridge||No||Yes||No|
|2004||The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement||No||Yes||No|
|2009||Inside the Box||No||No||Yes|
|2009||Seattle Grace: On Call||No||No||Yes|
|2009||Seattle Grace: Message of Hope||No||No||Yes|
|2011||Off the Map||No||No||Yes|
|2014–present||How to Get Away with Murder||No||No||Yes|
Shonda Rhimes has won a Golden Globe award and was nominated for three Emmy Awards. She has also won awards from the Writer's Guild of America, Producer's Guild of America, and Director's Guild of America. Below is a more complete list.
- 2003: Nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay for the 2002 Britney Spears film Crossroads.
- 2005: Won Grey's Anatomy won official selection for the American Film Institute's (AFI) TV program of the year.
- 2005: Nominated for a Black Reel Award in the category Best Screenplay, Adapted or Original for The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.
- 2006: Nominated for an Emmy Award for outstanding drama series
- 2006: Nominated for an Emmy Award for writing in dramatic series
- 2006: Won WGA award from the Writer's Guild of America.
- 2006: Nominated for Producers Guild Award for the "Television Producer of the Year Award in Episodic" for Drama in Grey's Anatomy
- 2007: Won Golden Globe for "Best Television Series, Drama" for Grey's Anatomy.
- 2007: Won Producers Guild Award for the "Television Producer of the Year Award in Episodic" for Drama in Grey's Anatomy
- 2007: Nominated for WGA award from the Writer's Guild of America.
- 2007: Nominated for an Emmy Award for outstanding drama series.
- 2007: Along with the cast of Grey's Anatomy, Rhimes was awarded the Women in Film Lucy Award in recognition of her excellence and innovation in her creative works that have enhanced the perception of women through the medium of television.
- 2007: Won an Image Award for "Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series" for the episode "It's the End of the World" on Grey's Anatomy.
- 2008: Nominated for Producers Guild Award for the "Television Producer of the Year Award in Episodic" for Drama in Grey's Anatomy
- 2008: Won "Outstanding Writing for a Dramatic Series" at the 39th NAACP Image Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium in California for the episode "A Change is Gonna Come" on Grey's Anatomy. In addition, Rhimes and fellow writer Krista Vernoff won an award for "Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series" for Private Practice.
- 2009: Won NAACP Image Award for the episode "Freedom" (Parts 1 and 2) for "Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series" on Grey's Anatomy.
- 2010: Won NAACP Image Award for episode "What a Difference a Day Makes" for "Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series" on Grey's Anatomy.
- 2011: Won NAACP Image Award for episode For the episode "Did You Hear What Happen to Charlotte King?" for "Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series" on Private Practice.
- 2013: Won TV Guide award in the "Fan Favorite" category for "Scandal"
- 2013: TV series Scandal wins official selection for the American Film Institute's (AFI) TV program of the year.
- 2013: Nominated for NAACP Image Award for "Scandal" episode "Sweet Baby"
- 2014: Won Directors Guild of American diversity award
- "Shonda L. Rhimes ’91 (Doctor of Arts)". Dartmouth College. June 8, 2014. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
- Oh, Sandra (May 3, 2007). "The TIME 100, ARTISTS & ENTERTAINERS". TIME. Retrieved 2007-05-05.
- "Profile". TVLine. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
- Paskin, Willa (May 9, 2013). "Network TV Is Broken. So How Does Shonda Rhimes Keep Making Hits?". New York Times Magazine. Retrieved May 9, 2013.
- Wilson, Stacey (June 26, 2011). "'Grey's Anatomy's' Shonda Rhimes Turns Up The Heat In New Series 'Scandal'". HollywoodReporter.com. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
- Shonda Rhimes profile, hollywood.com; accessed January 28, 2015.
- Maureen, Ryan (December 21, 2005). "Shonda Rhimes, creator of 'Grey's Anatomy' and a Chicagoan of the Year". The Watcher. Retrieved January 21, 2008.
- Hardwick, Zac (April 22, 2014). "Shonda Rhimes ’91, ‘Scandal’ producer, to address graduates". thedartmouth.com. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
- Rose, Lacey (October 8, 2014). "Shonda Rhimes Opens Up About 'Angry Black Woman' Flap, Messy 'Grey's Anatomy' Chapter and the 'Scandal' Impact". HollywoodReporter.com. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
- Moss, Corey (November 6, 2011). "Britney's heart into 'Crossroads,' outtakes from flick appear on Britney". MTV. MTV Networks. Retrieved July 15, 2011.
- Snetiker, Marc (2012-02-15). "Crossroads Tenth Anniversary". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner.
- "Crossroads Daily Chart View". Box Office Mojo. 2002-02-15. Retrieved 2002-02-15.
- "ABC Fall 2006 Schedule". Zap2it. 2006-07-11. Retrieved 2006-10-25.
- Andreeva, Nellie (March 4, 2009). "Indira Varma to star in ABC's 'Inside the Box'". HollywoodReporter.com.
- "Tweet on Shonda Rhimes's Twitter Account". Twitter. Retrieved November 28, 2014.
- Hanh Nguyen (May 18, 2010). "ABC's fall TV schedule, night by night". Zap2it. Retrieved May 18, 2010.
- Updated: "V" Canceled; "Brothers & Sisters", "Mr. Sunshine", "Detroit 187", "Off the Map", "No Ordinary Family" Canceled, Too, TV By the Numbers, May 13, 2011
- Chozick, Amy (May 13, 2011). "Shonda Rhimes on Owning Her Characters And Her New Show". The Wall Street Journal.
- Abrams, Natalie, "ABC Picks Up Charlie's Angels, Tim Allen Comedy, Cancels Brothers & Sisters, V", TV Guide, May 13, 2011.
- Seidman, Robert (January 10, 2012). "'Cougar Town' Tentatively Slated for March Return; 'Scandal' Premieres April 5, Bumps 'Private Practice' to Tuesdays at 10 + 'Don't Trust the B----...'". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved January 10, 2012.
- James Hibberd (January 13, 2012). "Shonda Rhimes period drama 'Gilded Lillys' gets pilot order". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
- Lesley Goldberg (January 13, 2012). "'Gilded Lillys': ABC Orders Shonda Rhimes's Period Drama Pilot". The Huffington Post. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
- "Thewrap.com". TheWrap. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
- Goldberg, Lesley (February 25, 2014). "Viola Davis to Star in ABC Drama 'How to Get Away With Murder'". HollywoodReporter.com. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
- Andreeva, Nellie (May 8, 2014). "ABC Picks Up Shonda Rhimes ‘How To Get Away With Murder’, John Ridley's ‘American Crime’, Comedy ‘Black-ish’ To Series". Deadline.com. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
- Elavsky, Cindy (March 12, 2015). "Celebrity Extra". King Features. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
- Lebeau, Jordan (September 22, 2014). "The Angry Black Women of ShondaLand: What The New York Times (and Slate) Got Wrong". Boston.com. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
- "About Us". The Shondaland Source. 2014. Retrieved September 23, 2014.
- Abrams, Natalie (21 August 2014). "See how ABC is promoting Shonda Rhimes' Thursday takeover". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
- McFarland, Melanie. "On TV: Thursday night throwdown". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
- Moore, Frazier. "Shonda Rhimes Lays Claim To Thursday Nights On ABC". Associated Press. Retrieved September 28, 2014.
- "Shonda Rhimes adopts second baby girl". Essence. April 7, 2012.
- "Shonda Rhimes' Twitter". September 18, 2013.
- Sundberg Seaman, Kelly (April 21, 2014). "TV Producer Shonda Rhimes ’91 to Speak at Commencement". Dartmouth College. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
- Wilson, John (February 10, 2003). "23rd Annual RAZZIE Award® Nominations". Razzie Awards. Golden Raspberry Award Foundation. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
- "AFI AWARDS 2005". Retrieved September 28, 2014.
- "Golden Globe Awards". Retrieved September 28, 2014.
- Past recipients > Lucy Award, wif.org, nd.
- "AFI AWARDS 2013 accessdate=September 28, 2014".
- Shonda Rhimes at the Internet Movie Database
- 'Grey Matter' Writer's Blog on ABC.com
- Interview with Shonda Rhimes on the Tavis Smiley show
- Writer's Guild of America profile
- NYTimes profile, September 18, 2014
- Shonda Rhimes Video produced by Makers: Women Who Make America