Shonda Rhimes and Her Expanding Empire

On Oct. 16, television producer and Golden Globe recipient Shonda Rhimes announced an all new endeavor in her career. Shonda Rhimes’s production company, Shondaland, and iHeartMedia launched their newest partnership, which includes a three-year podcast deal. Under the arrangement, Rhimes is set to produce more than a dozen iHeartRadio original podcasts that will be available on the iHeartPodcast Network. 

With this recent venture, Rhimes’s empire has now created a new dimension recognized as Shondaland Audio.Rhimes will oversee development and Sandie Bailey, Shondaland’s chief digital and design officer, will manage day-to-day operations for the new podcast company.

Shondaland has already made strides in podcasting with Katie’s Crib, a show spearheaded by actress Katie Lowes, a.k.a. Quinn Perkins on Scandal. In this very intimate platform, Lowes divulges her experiences about the joys and challenges of motherhood. Now Katie’s Crib will become part of Shondaland Audio.

Rhimes’s career as one of television’s most successful producers rapidly gained momentum when ABC purchased medical drama Grey’s Anatomy in 2003. After ABC rejected one of her pitches about war correspondents, Disney chief Bob Iger suggested that Rhimes work on a medical series. As it turns out, America wanted the same. Now, seventeen years and 350 episodes later, Rhimes has built a widespread and loyal fanbase. 

Rhimes’s willingness to challenge society’s conventional norms, however, is ultimately where the success of her show writing lies. She constructs dynamic characters and unique storylines that lock viewers in each week. Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix contends that “her work is gripping, inventive, pulse-pounding, heart-stopping, taboo-breaking television at its best.” 

Shondaland eventually created two more powerful television series, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder, in 2012 and 2014 respectively. Together, Shondaland’s showsdominate Thursday nights on ABC Network. The iconic trio form the base of TGIT (Thank God it’s Thursday) nights, where fans tune in from all over the globe.

Courtesy: Janet Park

Through these series—each starring fiercely independent female characters—Rhimes has cultivated a creative environment where women are encouraged, included and heard. As CBS News reports, Rhimes said, “Be a person who pulls other women, new women, different women, into your circle. Widen your circle to hold more people. Lose your judgments of who someone is based on what you've heard or what you assume. Come together, work together, brag together, be powerful together. We should be lifting one another up because lifting someone up is what lifts us."

Courtesy: James White

While Rhimes has become a prolific and accomplished writer, she has remained steadfast in her authenticity and ability to hold her own voice as a writer. As executive producer under her newest podcast deal, Rhimes plans to continue this upward energy. Shondaland Audio podcasts will be available through iHeartMedia Network in 2020.

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