Tag: “Grey’s Anatomy”

“Grey’s Anatomy” Creator Shonda Rhimes Offers “MasterClass” on Writing for Television

Executive Producer Shonda Rhimes (photo via black enterprise.com)

article by Carolyn M. Brown via blackenterprise.com

Shonda Rhimes is best known as the creator, head writer, and executive producer of three hit ABC television series—Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder—under her ShondaLand production company banner.

The queen of Thursday night and creative force behind some of television’s most popular shows will offer a writing for television course on the MasterClass online platform. For the first time, Rhimes will give students an intimate, instructional look into how to write a script, pitch a pilot, and run a writer’s room. The class will include over five hours of lessons, along with exclusive access to the Grey’s Anatomy story bible, scripts of Scandal, and much more.  Pre-enrollment is now available at the MasterClass website.  You can also view the MasterClass’ official trailer.

Rhimes on Being an “F.O.D.”

Rhimes made history as the first African American woman to create and executively produce a top-10 network series, with the hit primetime show Grey’s Anatomy. The TV powerhouse also is one of ABC’s top-earning executive producers.

In the past, Rimes has mentioned that she has had to work four times as hard as her peers, while also addressing the pressure of being an African American, female, showrunner—or what she calls an “F.O.D.”: First Only Different. In her book, The Year of Yes, Rhimes writes, “When you are an F.O.D., you are saddled with that burden of extra responsibility, whether you want it or not.” She felt the pressure when she dodged reporters’ questions about diversity or race. “You can’t be raised black in America and not know,” she writes. “This wasn’t just my shot. It was ours.”

To read more, go to: Shonda Rhimes Joins MasterClass to Teach Writing for Television

ABC Renews ‘The Catch’ and Orders New Shondaland Series “Still Star-Crossed”

Still Star-Crossed
“Still Star-Crossed” (PHOTO COURTESY OF ABC)

article by Elizabeth Wagmeister via Variety.com

ABC is staying in business with Shonda Rhimes.  The mega-producer has landed yet another series at the network, with “Still Star-Crossed” being handed a series order for the 2016-2017 season.  Plus, Shondaland’s newest show, “The Catch,” has been renewed for Season 2.

“Still Star-Crossed” is a departure for Shondaland, as it marks the first period drama from a company that’s known for “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “How To Get Away with Murder.”

Based on Melinda Taub’s book of the same name, “Still Star-Crossed” picks up where the famous story of Romeo and Juliet ends, charting the treachery, palace intrigue and ill-fated romances of the Montagues and Capulets in the wake of the young lovers’ tragic fate.

The cast includes Wade Briggs as Benvolio Montague, Anthony Head as Lord Silvestro Capulet, Zuleikha Robinson as Lady Guiliana Capulet, Lashana Lynch as Rosaline, Ebonee Noel as Livia, Sterling Sulieman as Prince Escalus, Medalion Rahimi as Princess Isabella, Grant Bowler as Damiano Montague, Susan Wooldrigde as Nurse, Torrance Coombs as Paris and Dan Hildebrand as Friar Lawrence.

“Scandal” and “Grey’s” alum Heather Mitchell is writer and executive producer. Rhimes, Betsy Beers and Michael Goldstein and pilot director Michael Offer are also executive producing the ABC Studios project.

To read more, go to: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/the-catch-renewed-season-2-abc-shondaland-1201773247/

Jesse Williams to Produce, Star in Upcoming Harry Belafonte Biopic

Harry Belafonte (l) and Jesse Williams (r) [photo via theroot.com]
Harry Belafonte (l) and Jesse Williams (r) [photo via theroot.com]
article via thegrio.com

“Grey’s Anatomy” star and actvist Jesse Williams has plans to produce and star in a biopic about his fellow civil rights icon and entertainer Harry Belafonte. Williams announced the project during an appearance on Denzealots, a podcast by comedians W. Kamau Bell and Kevin Avery.

During the episode, Williams admitted that he cared more about activism than acting.  “I have an awesome job that I love,” he said, “but there’s this magnetic force that is constantly pulling me toward activism. I just have to do it.”

If you’re into social media, you probably already knew that. Williams is highly influential on Twitter, boasting more than one million followers. The young actor’s gained his influence, not with selfies, but with insightful tweets and short commentaries on issues impacting people of color.  He was heavily involved in the Justice for Flint concert which brought together residents, celebrities and performers to raise awareness on the water crisis.

Source: Jesse Williams to produce, star in upcoming Harry Belafonte biopioc | theGrio

ABC Renews ‘Scandal,’ ‘How to Get Away With Murder’, ‘Black-ish’ and More for 2016/2017 Season

Scandal
Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope in “Scandal” (photo via blogs.indiewire.com)

article by Tambay A. Obenson via Shadow And Act

New ABC president Channing Dungey, who replaces exiting Paul Lee (making her the first African American to not only head ABC, but a major TV network) is already making her presence felt a mere 2 weeks into the job, announcing today the early renewals of a handful of ABC series.

Of note, “Scandal” will return for a 6th season (recall the show’s creator, Shonda Rhimes, said that she knows exactly how and when it will end, adding that it would be a 6 or 7 season series, at most. So can we assume that “Scandal” is near its end, now that it’s been renewed for a 6th season?); Also “How to Get Away With Murder” has been renewed for a 3rd season; and “Black-ish” will get a 3rd season.

Also renewed are: “Agents of SHIELD,” “Dancing With the Stars,” “Modern Family,” “Quantico,” “The Goldbergs,” “Once Upon a Time,” “Fresh Off the Boat,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Shark Tank,” and “The Bachelor.”

No announcement on the fate of John Ridley‘s critically-acclaimed anthology series “American Crime,” unfortunately. Although it’s still early, so I wouldn’t count it out yet.

Ridley is working on another series for the network. In December, ABC gave an early pilot order to a new crime drama from Ridley titled “Presence,” with the 2016/2017 season eyed for a premiere – assuming it goes to series eventually.

To read more, go to: http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/abc-renews-scandal-how-to-get-away-with-murder-black-ish-and-more-for-2016-2017-season-20160303

Shonda Rhimes to Receive Norman Lear Award From Producers Guild of America

Shonda Rhimes (Photo Courtesy of PMK)

Prolific producer Shonda Rhimes will receive the 2016 Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television at the 27th annual Producers Guild Awards on Saturday, Jan. 23.

Rhimes is the executive producer of ABC hits including Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder and Private Practice. She previously received the Norman Felton Award for outstanding producer of episodic television drama from the Producers Guild for her work on Grey’s Anatomy.

“Shonda Rhimes is one of the most passionate and insightful storytellers in entertainment today. Her pioneering work on Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How o Get Away With Murder has redefined the role of women in media and spurred the debate about diversity in television,” said co-chairs Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd in a statement. “Like the intelligent, strong, and fearless characters she creates, Shonda is a true force to be reckoned with and we are privileged to honor her with this year’s Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television.”

Added Rhimes: “To be the recipient of an award bestowed upon me by my peers in the PGA is truly an honor. The fact that the award is named after a legendary producer whose work has had such an inspiring effect on my growth as a writer is genuinely gratifying. I couldn’t be more grateful for this special recognition.”

Last year the same award went to Rhimes’ fellow Grey’s Anatomy executive producer Mark Gordon. Previous recipients include Chuck Lorre, J.J. Abrams, Don Mischer, Dick Wolf, Jerry Bruckheimer, John Wells, Lorne Michaels, David L. Wolper, Don Hewitt, Garry K. Marshall, Aaron Spelling, Steven Bochco, David E. Kelley, Mark Burnett and Norman Lear himself.

Rhimes’ big-screen credits include Crossroads and The Princess Diaries 2. Her first book, Year of Yes, comes out Nov. 10.

article by Kate Stanhope via hollywoodreporter.com

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Writer Zoanne Clack and Shondaland Sell Baghdad-Set Military Drama Project to ABC

Zoanne Clack ABC
Zoanne Clack (photo COURTESY OF ABC)

ABC has bought a Baghdad-set military drama project from “Grey’s Anatomy” veteran Zoanne Clack and Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland production company.

The untitled show is set circa 2004 among an U.S. Army Medevac team who work out of a base camp in the Iraqi capital. The series revolves around team members who “get on each other’s nerves, sleep with the wrong people, navigate ‘office’ politics and party like there’s no tomorrow.”

Clack is writing the script for ABC Studios and Shondaland. Clack, Rhimes and Shondaland’s Betsy Beers are exec producing for ABC Studios, where Shondaland is based.

Clack has worked her way up the ranks at “Grey’s Anatomy” since that show’s inception, rising from story editor to executive producer. She’s repped by CAA and manager Alan Rautbort at Circle of Confusion.

Shondaland has two comedy projects and another drama in the development pipeline this year at ABC.

article by Cynthia Littleton via variety.com

FEATURE: Debbie Allen Discusses Directing TV & Her Many Roles in “Grey’s Anatomy” Season 12

Director/Producer/Actor Debbie Allen (TERENCE PATRICK FOR VARIETY)

Debbie Allen rose to fame with “Fame,” serving as a director, producer and choreographer. She was also the first black woman to be Emmy-nominated in the dramatic lead actress category. More than three decades later, she has a recurring role on “Grey’s Anatomy,” and is a frequent director — and now executive producer of the show. “It’s a little crazy, but what a great life,” Allen tells Variety. “I’m like a cat on a hot tin roof that somehow landed on all fours.”

What are your new responsibilities on “Grey’s Anatomy” Season 12, being a director, actor and executive producer?

I’m very involved in every episode, in terms of production design. I’m selecting the directors this season, looking over everything from makeup and hair to the actors’ concerns. I spend a lot of time with the writers, which I love.

How do you balance acting in an episode that you’re also directing and producing?

It’s actually how I started on “Fame.” I trained in acting, literature and theater, so talking to actors is something I’m really used to doing. That gives me a little bit of an edge sometimes. I know how to speak the actor’s language. On “Fame,” I started as Ms. Lydia Grant and I was the choreographer, but I soon became their favorite director because I knew how to shoot the dance and then I understood the acting. Doing it all at the same time is how I came into it.

Have you noticed a big change in your role on “Grey’s,” now that you’re an executive producer?

Very dramatic change. I’ve always been there as a director and somewhat of a den mom — it’s interesting; so many of them grew up on “Fame,” and I’ll never forget the first time I directed, Patrick Dempsey started singing “Fame” and doing jetes, and I’m like, “Stop it already. Stop it!” — so now, there are things that are my responsibility or things that I keep my eye on or things that I can mitigate. I’m responsible for a lot of things, which is a wonderful position to have. I’ve done this once before on “A Different World.” I was the executive producer and director on that show for five years. But this is different. It’s an hour, it’s in its twelfth season, but it feels like it’s brand new.

Speaking of Patrick Dempsey, how is the set different without him?

We had a great relationship. My nickname for him was “Dash” — Dash was the kid in “The Incredibles” that was running fast. He would come through the set like that. He was on the move. Racing cars defines him for real. Patrick is not there so it changes the dynamic of the story for Meredith.

How much will you be featured in this season?

Catherine Avery is still a guest star. She’s not a series regular, but I’m there so when they need me now — last year, they had to go and try to find me — they can take advantage of me, and it’s okay! I’m not mad about it.

Continue reading “FEATURE: Debbie Allen Discusses Directing TV & Her Many Roles in “Grey’s Anatomy” Season 12″

Shonda Rhimes’ “Year Of Yes” Memoir to Be Published by Simon & Schuster this November

TV Powerhouse Shonda Rhimes
TV Powerhouse Shonda Rhimes

Grey’s Anatomy/Scandal/How To Get Away With Murder executive producer Shonda Rhimes will publish her first book with Simon & Schuster in November, according to an announcement today by VP/editor-in-chief Marysue Rucci. That sets up a date after the original rights deal was signed in November 2013.

In December of that year, Rhimes accepted a challenge to say “Yes” to the unexpected invitations that come her way for one year. In Year Of Yes she chronicles the powerful impact saying “Yes” had on every aspect of her life.

“It’s mind-boggling that the mega-talented Shonda Rhimes, one of the most admired and accomplished women in Hollywood, would feel the need to challenge her status quo,” Rucci said in the announcement. “But by saying yes for a year, she truly transformed her life for the better in every way. Year Of Yes is surprising, hilarious, poignant, and accessible. It’s easy to imagine this book inspiring a movement and we couldn’t be more excited to publish it at Simon & Schuster.”

article by Jeremy Gerard via deadline.com

Debbie Allen To Expand Her “Grey’s Anatomy” Role – Will Become Executive Producer & Director

Debbie Allen as Dr. Catherine Fox Avery on GREY'S ANATOMY
Producer/Actor/Director Debbie Allen

After appearing in the hit ABC Shonda Rhimes medical drama, and directing a number of episodes, Debbie Allen is getting ready to step into an even larger role, as an executive producer and regular director for the upcoming 12th season of the show, which actually hasn’t been officially renewed, but is obviously expected to be.

The ratings for “Grey’s Anatomy” continue to be strong for ABC, as part of the network’s booming Thursday night lineup, also known as Shonda night, given that all 3 drama series (“Grey’s,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder”) that air in primetime on that day, are all Shondaland babies. Also, ratings have apparently surged ever since (SPOILER ALERT) the show killed off one of its key players in Patrick Dempsey. Although it’ll be worth paying attention to see whether the momentum carries.

Debbie Allen has directed episodes of several different TV shows over the years, dating back to “Fame” in the 1980s, to “Jane the Virgin” and “Empire” most recently. This new deal ensures that she will be even more involved in the production of the series from here-on, while still also recurring as Dr. Catherine Avery.

The final episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy” will air over the next two Thursdays.

article by Tambay A. Obenson via blogs.indiewire.com

OPINION: Shonda Rhimes Offers a New Word for “Diversity” — Let’s Start Using It

Shonda Rhimes (Source: Jordan Strauss/AP)

Once a term to describe the laudable aim of ensuring equal representation, “diversity” has devolved into a trite talking point.

It’s an issue that Shonda Rhimes, the mastermind behind television hits such as Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy and How To Get Away With Murder, touched on while accepting an award at the Human Rights Campaign’s gala event in Los Angeles last weekend. In her speech, Rhimes said she’s tired of the way “diversity” is understood by most people.

“I get asked a lot by reporters and tweeters why I am so invested in ‘diversity’ on television,”  Rhimes said, according to Medium‘s text of her speech. “‘Why is it so important to have diversity on TV?’ they say. I really hate the word ‘diversity.’ It suggests something other. … As if there is something unusual about telling stories involving women and people of color and LGBTQ characters on TV.”

Rhimes offered an alternative to the term “diversity,” saying she’d rather describe what she’s doing as “normalizing.”

“I am making TV look like the world looks. Women, people of color, LGBTQ people equal way more than 50% of the population. Which means it ain’t out of the ordinary. I am making the world of television look normal,” she said.

Rhimes makes a great point.

“Diversity” in itself has limits. In the past few decades, the word has become wildly popular, appearing everywhere from corporate websites to college recruitment brochures. In many cases, however, the concept is reduced to simply ensuring that a collection of people who look different from each other occupy the same space. That’s why many diversity fliers for companies and schools paint a picture of wide representation, but the actual demographics of those same institutions remain monochromatic.

Continue reading “OPINION: Shonda Rhimes Offers a New Word for “Diversity” — Let’s Start Using It”

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