In a surprise move, Netflix on Sunday announced that is has snagged Shonda Rhimes, the award-winning creator of ABC dramas like Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder to create new series for the streaming service.
Under the multi-year deal, Rhimes will move her Shondaland production company from ABC Studios to Netflix. Producing partner Betsy Beers will join her, too, as will 30 ShondaLand employees, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news.
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Rhimes makes $10 million per year at ABC, plus a portion of rerun and international sales, and has generated $2 billion for ABC over the years, according to the Journal; terms of the Netflix deal were not revealed.
"Shondaland's move to Netflix is the result of a shared plan [Netflix Chief Content Officer] Ted Sarandos and I built based on my vision for myself as a storyteller and for the evolution of my company," Rhimes said in a statement.
"Ted provides a clear, fearless space for creators at Netflix. He understood what I was looking for—the opportunity to build a vibrant new storytelling home for writers with the unique creative freedom and instantaneous global reach provided by Netflix's singular sense of innovation," she continued. "The future of Shondaland at Netflix has limitless possibilities."
Rhimes's existing shows "will continue to thrive on ABC and Shondaland will be there every step of the way," she said, which includes a new legal drama For The People and a Grey's spinoff, the Journal said. But going forward, Rhimes will "begin creating new Shondaland stories with Netflix [to] expand both our audience and our creative identity," she said.
Older episodes of Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder also stream on Netflix.
The move comes after Disney, which owns ABC, announced it would drop its films from Netflix beginning in 2019 to starts its own streaming service. It underscores the need for Netflix to produce its own content rather than rely on licensing movies and TV shows. It's had great success there already with shows like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things, and more. But it plans to spend big bucks on talent and content going forward to make sure its catalog is worth the monthly fee.