Shonda Rhimes: Male TV Execs Bashed ‘Grey’s Anatomy‘ for Starting With Two People Having Sex the Night Before Work

In the pilot episode of “Grey’s Anatomy,” Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) wakes up next to Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey) in her living room after a night of hooking up. Meredith frantically gets up to head to her first day of work at Seattle Grace Hospital. Little does she know that Derek is essentially her boss. Creator Shonda Rhimes revealed on the “9 to 5ish with theSkimm” podcast (via Insider) that a room full of old male television executives gave her a hard time for starting her show this way.

“I remember getting called into a room full of old men and they brought us in to tell me that the show was a problem because nobody was gonna watch a show about a woman who would sleep with a man the night before her first day of work,” Rhimes said. “And they were dead serious.”

Rhimes somewhat understood where the male executives were coming from since before “Grey’s Anatomy” aired “there had never been a show in which there was a lead character who owned her sexuality” on network television, but she added, “These guys don’t know anything about what’s happening in the world right now but they’re the people making the decisions.”

Betsy Beers, Rhimes longtime business partner, was in the room during that meeting and stood up for Rhimes when one of the male executives asked who would watch a show where the lead character has sex the night before her first day of work.

“I said, ‘That’s me, I did that,’” Beers said.

“They could not get out of that room fast enough,” Rhimes added.

In the book “How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy,” pilot director Peter Horton revealed the original opening of “Grey’s Anatomy” was a bit more provocative as it more explicitly showed “Ellen lying naked on the couch.”

“We had a very tight lens that was out of focus, going over all the curves of her body,” Horton said, adding that he somewhat “regrets” not leaving the shot in.

One can only imagine how the male television executives would’ve reacted to such a shot. “Grey’s Anatomy” is currently in the middle of its 19th season on ABC.

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