Shonda Rhimes on Netflix deal, ‘Inventing Anna’ and more: ‘I feel very fulfilled’

The TV titan is featured on Variety's 'Show Woman of the Year' cover story.

It’s been four years since TV titan Shonda Rhimes left ABC for a major deal with Netflix. In a recent cover story with Variety, she revealed she is feeling “very fulfilled” creating content for the streamer.

With hits like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, one might understand if TV writer and creator Shonda Rhimes stayed put at ABC after years of success on the network. But when she inked her major deal with Netflix a few years ago, it was an exciting move in the industry, with many wondering what the future would hold for Rhimes.

Enter Bridgerton, Shondaland’s first Netflix series that, upon debuting last winter, went on to become a success and pop culture phenomenon. Now, Rhimes is gearing up to drop the second Shondaland project with Netflix — this time a series of her own, Inventing Anna.

In her new cover story with Variety, Rhimes broke down working with Netflix, her upcoming projects, and more.

2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones - Arrivals
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – FEBRUARY 24: Shonda Rhimes attends the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 24, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

It’s all love between Rhimes and Regé-Jean Page

Bridgerton fans went wild when season 1 leading man Regé-Jean Page announced he would not return to season 2 of the series. While some viewers were disappointed, Rhimes praised the actor to Variety and spoke to the joy of getting to tell a complete love story in the show’s first season.

“What I loved was we were going to create this powerful, exciting, amazing romance, and then for once in television, they were going to get to have their happily ever after versus — well, you know! In network television, you have to come up with 15 years of why a couple has to be apart,” she said.

“Rightfully, he said, ‘I signed up to do this one lovely story, this closed-ended storyline. I’m good! And I don’t blame him for that. I think that he was really smart to leave the perfection as the perfection.”

She’s learning to play…the cello?

You read that right. After dominating TV for almost two decades now, Rhimes is still taking time to learn new things and grow. In the Variety story, she “casually” mentioned her new hobby: learning how to play the cello.

She did not dive deep into why, just quipping to the outlet, “It’s a whole long Yo-Yo Ma story…and I’m not going to tell it.”

She’s feeling fulfilled

With Rhimes’ Netflix deal came a new kind of freedom — one that has drawn many creators like Kenya Barris and Ryan Murphy to deals with streamers. “I’m building the company…Netflix has been a really happy place for me,” she said. “Creatively, I feel very fulfilled in a way that I haven’t felt fulfilled in a long time.”

Dove Launches "Girl Collective" - The First Ever Dove Self-Esteem Project Mega-Event
LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 06: Shonda Rhimes speaks onstage during Dove’s Launch of “Girl Collective” – The First Ever Dove Self-Esteem Project Mega-Event on October 6, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Unilever/Dove)

Queen Charlotte’s story

Not only is she currently in post-production for Inventing Anna, Rhimes is already “turn-off-the-internet focused” on writing Queen Charlotte, an official Bridgerton prequel series based on the fan-favorite supporting character.

“I’m very obsessed with Queen Charlotte, and I always call her the Beyoncé of the show,” she shared. “I’m constantly saying out loud, ‘God, I love her wigs’ — somehow hoping that somebody will send me one of her wigs so that I can walk around wearing it.”

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Acting Up”? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!