Saturday, November 16, 2013

Shonda Rhimes - Queen of TV Hits

Last week I sat in class, getting grumpier and grumpier as I realized most women involved in film or tv partake in documentary making. To me, documentaries are weak and not as creative. I know they can be all powerful and enlightening - to hear true stories can shake us to the core, however it’s not creative, it doesn’t involve massive amounts of money, or involve bossing around hundreds and hundreds of people like it does to create a major action film. Documentaries don’t need graphics or large budgets, they don’t get played in mainstream theatres and most of all, the general public just doesn’t care. So in class I sat in my chair and thought “how fitting, women get the family, storytelling job, the weak sibling of the movie industry.” I wanted to hear about women who made huge blockbuster films are had millions of supporters. I thought of a few like Nora Ephron and Sofia Coppola. However neither of them have done anything major in three or four years. Then it occurred to me, that one of the most successful writers and producers today was Shonda Rhimes.
Shonda Rhimes is the creator of two of the most popular shows on television; Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal (Also Private Practice but that was weak). 

It's interesting that even with referendums and amendments, women still haven't made enough progress to even be near considered equal to men in the entertainment industry. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Said "There can be no doubt our nation has a long and unfortunate history of sex discrimination." In the US we also have a long history of discrimination against those of color. Shonda Rhimes has to go against the stigmas of both. She has prevailed and is the leading creator of two of the biggest shows on television. Her first show Grey's anatomy pulled massive audiences on the ABC Network. There have been ten seasons and it is now one of the longest running shows on a major network. Her other hit, Scandal is about a powerful black woman, performed by Kerry Washington. She plays a Washington DC political fixer. Like Rhimes herself, the characters she creates are powerful women.

 The New York Times calls her "most powerful African-American female show runner in television " and the also give her the compliment that "Rhimes is among the few remaining bona fide network hitmakers" left on network television.  She is the ultimate powerhouse, she is a mother to two children and still "oversees some 550 actors, writers, crew members and producers"

Eddings, Barbara Murray. Women in Broadcasting, De jure Defacto. Columbia University.

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