Sometime during Scandal‘s feverish sophomore season, Shonda Rhimes became more than a brand — she became a powerhouse. Sure, she was already a known commodity from the wildly popular Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, but Scandal launched Rhimes into TV auteurdom and the larger discussions of prestige TV.
Rhimes’ operation at Shondaland produces pilots each season, and ABC is smart to stay in business with her. Not every show hits, but when they do, they become epic. This fall, she is taking her critical and ratings success for another ride with the Viola Davis-starring legal thriller How to Get Away With Murder, which will air after Scandal. That means one seventh of the network’s primetime scheduling is now dependent on Rhimes, who sadly remains a rare example of a female showrunner of color.
Yesterday, ABC released a "Thursday night Shondaland Preview," a sit-down between Rhimes and her three lead actresses: Ellen Pompeo of Grey’s Anatomy (Rhimes has said that this eleventh season with be all about Meredith), Kerry Washington of Scandal, and Viola Davis of Murder.
To be honest, there’s not much to the 2:30-minute spot, which leans heavily on Rhimes explaining that Murder is a "very sexy, fast-paced look at the law."
Still, as Jezebel notes, the video is a great reminder that the "Thank God It’s Thursday" block features:
- "A female showrunner with three programs on primetime network TV
- A woman of color showrunner with three programs on primetime network TV
- Two women of color starring in programs on primetime network TV"
Rhimes’ takeover resumes September 25, when Grey’s and Scandal return and Murder premieres.