Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder. These four television shows all have one thing in common: Shonda Rhimes. She is the writer, creator, and executive producer of each of these shows.
Shonda Rhimes was born in Chicago in 1970 to Vera and Ilee Rhimes. She is the youngest of six; she has two older brothers and three older sisters.
Rhimes has said from an early age that she loved storytelling, and that, paired with her time volunteering at a hospital in high school, sparked her interest in hospital environments (hint hint).
After high school, Rhimes attended Dartmouth College where she double-majored in English and film studies. After Dartmouth, she moved to Los Angeles to be close to a sibling and studied screenwriting at the University of Southern California. Rhimes went on to earn her Master of Fine Arts Degree from USC.
After school, Rhimes was a screenwriter with no work, but that changed when she was asked to write for “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.” In 2003, Rhimes wrote a pilot about female war correspondents, but ABC did not pick up the script.
However, on March 27, 2005 Rhimes’ luck changed, and the first episode of Grey’s Anatomy aired. Rhimes is the creator, executive producer, and head writer of this show, and it is still running today on ABC.
Grey’s Anatomy originally aired on Sunday nights, but because the network had confidence in the show and in Rhimes, they moved it to Thursday nights, which is the most competitive night on TV.
The show is centered around the life of Meredith Grey, a woman working at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital
Rhimes’ success did not stop at Grey’s Anatomy though. She created and produced Private Practice, a spin-off of Grey’s Anatomy. Private Practice chronicles the life of Dr. Addison Montgomery in a Los Angeles private practice.
Rhimes’ next hit show on ABC was Scandal, which first aired on April 5, 2012. This show’s main character is Olivia Pope, a political crisis management expert.
Rhime’s latest TV show is How to Get Away with Murder, and the main character is Annalise Keating, who is a very successful defense attorney and a criminal law professor.
The common denominator in all of these hit television shows is that the main characters are women in powerful positions.
Rhimes said in a recent interview with ABC News that she is trying to set an example for her three daughters by writing about strong, smart women. She wants them to grow up knowing that, as women, anything is possible for them.
Rhimes, along with being the executive producer and head writer of four ABC television shows, owns her own production company called Shondaland. Shondaland produces Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder.
All four of these shows air back-to-back on Thursday nights on ABC, and the Associated Press called Rhimes’ entire night of television “unmatched in TV history.”
Rhimes has the awards to back up the Associated Press’ statement. She has a Golden Globe and has won multiple awards from the Writer’s Guild of America, Producer’s Guild of America, and the Director’s Guild of America. In total, Rhimes has won 11 awards for her work.
Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder can all be seen every Thursday night on ABC from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Keeley Gould is a third-year student majoring in English and minoring in journalism. She can be reached at KG787739@wcupa.edu.