Shonda Rhimes is best known as the creator, head writer, and executive producer of three hit ABC television series: the political thriller “Scandal,” starring Kerry Washington as the infamous Olivia Pope, as well as the medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” and its spin-off “Private Practice.” Coming to ABC this fall is her new show “How To Get Away With Murder,” a suspenseful law drama featuring another African American female as lead, Academy Award-nominated Viola Davis, who plays a law professor whose students solve murder plots. The show will air in the time slot preceding ”Scandal.” Rhimes recently inked a new eight-figure deal with her ABC home network.
As fans wait feverishly for the new season to begin, here are 10 factoids about one of ABC’s top female showrunners and earners.
- Rhimes grew up in Illinois, the suburbs of Chicago, and graduated from Dartmouth.
- She earned a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television, having applied after reading it was harder to get into USC’s film school than Harvard Law School.
- Before becoming a screenwriter, Rhimes worked at a variety of day jobs, including as an office administrator and a counselor at a center that taught mentally ill and homeless people job skills.
- She wrote the acclaimed 1999 HBO movie “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” starring Halle Berry.
- Rhimes wrote “The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement,” the 2004 sequel to Disney’s popular 2001 movie “The Princess Diaries.”
- She has never won an Emmy but she did receive a Golden Globe, NAACP Image Award, GLAAD Media Award, and DGA Diversity Award.
- Rhimes’ 2010 television pilot “Inside The Box” about a DC network news bureau never got picked up by ABC.
- The name of Rhimes’ entertainment production company is ShondaLand.
- The 44-year-old single mother has three adopted daughters, Harper in June 2002, Emerson Pearl in 2012, and in 2013, she welcomed Beckett through surrogacy.
- A self-described spelling “bee nerd,” Rhimes will be live-blogging at the 2014 Scripps National Spelling as she has done for several years.