Shonda Rhimes got candid about why she left ABC, and the reason is not what you would think. In the end, the producer's breaking point was because of a Disneyland pass, she told The Hollywood Reporter.
After a 15-year career with ABC, where she produced hit shows such as Grey's Anatomy, The Catch and Off the Map, she walked away from the network in August 2017 and started working for Netflix. Although she was making approximately $2 million at Disney, apparently, it was not the happiest place to work.
"I felt like I was dying," she shared. "Like, I’d been pushing the same ball up the same hill in the exact same way for a really long time."
As part of her contract, Rhimes had an all-inclusive pass for Disneyland, which came with strict rules. She managed to negotiate a second pass for her nanny, but when her sister tried to bring Rhimes' daughter to the park, the pass was not interchangeable. After they went back and forth with the network, they were told "we never do this."
Eventually, Rhimes landed the second pass, but there was still lots of drama. The extra pass, valued at $154, did not work. She then called a "high-ranking executive," who allegedly asked her, "Don't you have enough?"
As a result, the showrunner called her lawyer, where she said she wanted to move to Netflix. Later that year, she reportedly signed a $150 million dollar deal with the streaming service. From day one, Rhimes was crystal clear about what she expected from her employer.
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"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. "He said, 'I’d never expect it to.'"
"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 added.
Ultimately, Rimes said the move to Netflix was "the result of a shared plan Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos and I built based on my vision for myself as a storyteller and for the evolution of my company."
"Ted provides a clear, fearless space for creators at Netflix. He understood what I was looking for — the opportunity to build a vibrant new storytelling home for writers with the unique creative freedom and instantaneous global reach provided by Netflix's singular sense of innovation," she concluded.
The first of her projects for the streaming service will be shared soon. A documentary about Debbie Allen will be released on Friday, November 27, and Bridgerton, a period drama, will come out on Christmas Day.