The International Television Academy announced it will honor showrunner, writer and producer extraordinaire Shonda Rhimes with its International Emmy Founders Award. The International Emmy Awards recognizes excellence in global television, as well as individuals who have made a unique contribution to the global television landscape. Rhimes is only the third woman to receive a Founders Award since the creation of the honorary award in 1980. Previous winners are Oprah Winfrey, who received the award in 2005, and television producer/co-creator of “Sesame Street” Joan Ganz Cooney, honored in 1990 for creating the production company Children’s Television Workshop.
Of this year’s honoree Academy president-CEO Bruce Paisner noted, “Shonda Rhimes is in a league of her own. Not only does she have an entire night of primetime on ABC in the United States, but her groundbreaking shows and iconic characters are avidly followed by over 300 million viewers worldwide, in 67 languages.”
Rhimes credits include “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” “How To Get Away with Murder” and most recently, “The Catch.” Her shows are so popular that ABC has dedicated an entire three-hour block of Thursday night programming to Shondaland shows, under the TGIT (Thank God It’s Thursday) moniker.
Paisner stated, “Not only does she have an entire night of primetime on ABC in the United States, but her groundbreaking shows and iconic characters are avidly followed by over 300 million viewers worldwide.”
Indeed, Rhimes has been responsible for some historical moments on television. “Scandal” was the first show to star a black female lead (Kerry Washington) in 40 years when it debuted in 2012. Rhimes is also well-known for her efforts in creating diverse, compelling characters in a predominantly white, straight, male TV landscape.
Of her successes Rhimes said, “I am continually amazed by the global reach of television and have been so fortunate to have fans of my shows around the world.”
Rhimes is not only a triumph in television. The prolific showrunner most recently found a new medium: books. Her self-help memoir “Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person” was released last year and has become a New York Times best-seller.
The International Emmy Awards will take place November 21 in New York.
[via The Hollywood Reporter]