Shonda Rhimes is opening up about why she chose to leave ABC for Netflix back in 2017.
In an interview for The Hollywood Reporter, the producer said she constantly battled with the network, which is owned by Disney. Although she was making tens of millions of dollars for herself and over $2 billion for the network, they constantly butted heads on the content, budget and even an ad that she and the stars of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder” made for former presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.
“I felt like I was dying,” she said. “Like, I’d been pushing the same ball up the same hill in the exact same way for a really long time.”
A trip to Disneyland was Rhimes’ breaking point. As part of her contract, she was given all-inclusive passes to Disneyland for herself and her nanny. On this particular day, she needed one for her sister — who was accompanying the nanny on a trip with Rhimes’ three children.
The pass was not interchangeable, so Rhimes asked the network for an additional pass. “We never do this” is what she was told multiple times when asking for the small request.
Eventually, she was given another pass, however, when the nanny and her sister got to the park, the ticket did not work. Rhimes then called a “high-ranking executive” who asked her, “Don’t you have enough?”
The executive’s question infuriated Rhimes. She then called her legal team and told them to get her to Netflix or she would find new representation.
Later that year, she signed a $150 million deal with the streaming giant. Before signing the deal, she told Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s co-CEO, about her expectations moving forward. “The first thing I said was, ‘You’re not going to get another ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ — not ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ in a cornfield, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ on a baseball field or ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ at an airport. That’s just not happening,’” Rhimes recalled. “He said, ‘I’d never expect it to.’”
Rhimes is set to drop her first two projects for Netflix later this year.