Shonda Rhimes Reveals Incident over Disneyland Pass Pushed Her to Ditch ABC
Shonda Rhimes is opening up about an incident that played a part in her ABC exit.
Prior to her groundbreaking deal at Netflix, Rhimes, 50, had spent 15 years at the network, creating shows like Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder. Despite her massive success, Rhimes said in a candid interview with The Hollywood Reporter that she began to feel restricted by the pace and constraints of network TV — but that wasn't the only thing that pushed her to ditch the broadcasting company.
According to Rhimes, the final straw came when she had planned a day for her family to attend Disneyland. Rhimes had been given an all-inclusive pass to the park, one of the perks of her ABC relationship, and had negotiated for a second pass to give to her nanny, she said. However, on the day her family was scheduled to visit the attraction, Rhimes realized her sister would need a pass as well, she explained to THR. (Rhimes wasn't accompanying her family that day, and her sister couldn't use her pass because they aren't interchangeable.)
Rhimes said that she got pushback and was told, "We never do this." Eventually, she did get the extra pass — but said that it failed to work once her family arrived at Disneyland. Rhimes then dialed up a "high-ranking executive," hoping the situation could be quickly handled.
During that conversation, Rhimes told THR that she was allegedly told, "Don't you have enough?" in reference to the passes. She said she then hung up the phone with executive — after thanking him for his time — and phoned her lawyer, demanding that they find a way to get her to Netflix.
A rep for ABC did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
Rhimes' move to the streaming service was announced in August 2017. Ahead of the transition, Rhimes said she made her goals clear to Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos when the two spoke in the fall of 2016.
"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,'" she recalled. "And he said, 'I'd never expect it to.'"
"And then I said, 'I just want to be in a place where I can make stuff and no one's going to bother me or make me feel like I'm beholden,' and he was like, 'That sounds great to me,'" she continued.
The acclaimed showrunner is currently working on at least 12 projects, including the period drama Bridgerton. Based on Julia Quinn's best-selling novels, it will be the first Shondaland series to hit Netflix on Dec. 25.
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