Shonda Rhimes: the name people all around the country don’t even realize they see on a weekly basis. Rhimes might as well be the queen of ABC right now, considering she owns a three-hour time slot every Thursday night.
Rhimes’ work is under a microscope, but what does the world really know about her? In her early life, Rhimes grew up in Illinois with five older siblings. She worked as a hospital volunteer during high school before attending Dartmouth College to begin studying English and film studies for her successful future.
To date, Rhimes has written and/or produced four major works, three of which are still on air. Two of the four, Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, are medical dramas that are modeled after her time working in a hospital. Rhimes is also in control of the two hit shows Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder.
Rhimes’ empire began when Grey’s Anatomy premiered in 2005; however, her name did not gain widespread recognition until Scandal premiered in 2012. She produces her hit shows through her own production company, Shondaland, whether she personally writes them or not.
September 24, 2015, Rhimes’ shows, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder, premiered their twelfth, fifth, and second seasons respectively. Not only does Rhimes’ control the Thursday time slot during the fall, after the shows premiered on the 24th, she also took over late-night television, appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.
With the facts out on the table, I think it is fair to say Rhimes’ is doing very well for herself. She has three hit shows currently on air, multiple on Netflix, and four in the process of being made. Many people attribute her success on the similarities found throughout her shows: An independent black female lead, LGBT representation, and threat of a favorite character to leave at any moment. But almost every writer has a niche or an agenda.
Whether her success is well known or not, one cannot deny the brilliance of Rhimes’ work. She never fails to keep viewers on edge, creating cunning lead characters and plot twists.