If by chance you have never heard of Shonda Rhimes, you most likely have seen her shows on television: “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Private Practice, and Scandal. She is the creator, head writer, executive producer and showrunner for all three shows. In addition, Rhimes is the executive producer for the show, “How to Get Away With Murder”. Rewinding twelve years, Rhimes is sitting at home watching television with her adopted baby. This is when she decides to take over the world through television. What started off as what she calls “kind of a joke” has developed into a reality – a reality that is still growing.
Growing up in Chicago, her interests in storytelling were apparent when she told her own original stories into a tape recorder, giving it to her mother to transcribe. In high school, she would volunteer at hospital, which she would later say inspired her to write “Grey’s Anatomy”. Next, she attended Dartmouth College, where she earned bachelor’s degrees in film studies and English. But Rhimes’s education didn’t stop there as she earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts (top three schools in the country for filmmaking).
Even with such a prestigious degree in the world of cinema, Rhimes was an unemployed scriptwriter for a couple years. Instead, she worked jobs to make ends meet, a common struggle for artists. In 1998, things began to look up when Rhimes directed a short film, “Blossoms and Veils”, starring Jada Pinkett-Smith and Jeffrey Wright. Soon after sold the feature-length version to New Line Cinema, making it her first purchased script. She then went on to sell two other features such as “The Crossroads”, and the “The Princess Diaries”.
Moving on to television, “Grey’s Anatomy” was Rhimes’s first show. At its peak, so far, it an average of 19.44 million people tuning in per episode. Not only did she create it, and executively produce it, but even after eleven seasons of airtime, Rhimes is still head writer! Throw in “Private Practice”, “Scandal”, and “How to Get Away With Murder”, Rhimes shows have had an enormous following. For the latest season of “Scandal”, there was an average of 9.19 million viewers per episode, 10.9 million for “Private Practice”, over 14 million for “How To Get Away With Murder” (only one season so far). All shows are scheduled for more seasons. These shows are made under her production company, Shondaland. Rhimes has turned television primetime into Shondaland. And her shows always star powerful women who we view as real women.
Here is a link to nine inspiring quotes from the great Shonda Rhimes herself: