Shonda Rhimes is already fully embracing the binge model that Netflix is built on, with the unveiling of the first slate of series — a total of eight— that she is working on as part of her blockbuster deal with the streaming giant.
A rundown of the slate comes nearly a year after the prolific TV producer announced she was parting ways with ABC and moving her Shondaland production company to Netflix.
In addition to the previously announced, still-untitled adaption of the New York Magazine story “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People,” about a woman who scammed New York socialites, Rhimes’ production company has a mix of comedies and dramas in the works. The slate includes a documentary on Debbie Allen’s reimagining of “The Nutcracker,” as well as a series based on Ellen Pao’s memoir that rocked Silicon Valley.
“I wanted the new Shondaland to be a place where we expand the types of stories we tell, where my fellow talented creatives could thrive and make their best work and where we as a team come to the office each day filled with excitement,” Rhimes said in a statement. “This is Shondaland 2.0.”
The full list of projects, according to the press release announcing the news, includes:
Untitled Shonda Rhimes Project: Based on the New York Magazine article “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People” by Jessica Pressler. Manhattan makes a new friend like no other. But is she the stuff American dreams are made of, or is she New York’s biggest con woman? Is it a con if you enjoy being taken?
Untitled Bridgerton Project: Based on Julia Quinn’s bestselling series of novels, this smart feminist take on Regency England romance unveils the glittering, wealthy, sexual, painful, funny and sometimes lonely lives of the women and men in London’s high-society marriage mart as told through the eyes of the powerful Bridgerton family.
“The Warmth of Other Suns”: Based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson’s award-winning book of the same name, this series tracks the decades-long migration of African Americans fleeing the Jim Crow-era South in search of a better life in the North and the West between 1916 and 1970.
“Pico & Sepulveda”: Set in the 1840s against the surreal and sensual backdrop of the then-Mexican state of California, the series tracks the end of an idyllic era there as American forces threaten brutality and war at the border to claim this breathtaking land for its own.
“Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change”: Netflix and Shondaland have acquired the rights to Ellen Pao’s groundbreaking memoir detailing her life and career, including the lawsuit she brought against her former employer that sparked intense media scrutiny, shook Silicon Valley to its boys’-club core and presaged the Time’s Up movement.
“The Residence”: Netflix and Shondaland have acquired the rights to Kate Andersen Brower’s nonfiction book “The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House,” which offers a vividly accurate insider’s account of White House residence staffers and the upstairs-downstairs lives they share with the first families at one of the most famous homes in history.
“Sunshine Scouts”: In this darkly comedic half-hour series, an apocalyptic disaster spares a rag-tag group of teenage girls at sleepaway camp who must then summon their moxie and survival skills to weather the fallout and ensure all that remains of humanity abides by the Sunshine Scout Law.
“Hot Chocolate Nutcracker”: This documentary offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy’s award-winning reimagining of the classic ballet “The Nutcracker.” This staged contemporization — with its inclusive cast of all ages and its blend of dance traditions — has further cemented Allen’s legacy as one of the greatest forces for good in dance.
It’s a taste of what’s to come as Rhimes brings her brand of programming to the Netflix shelves in a more official capacity after having ABC dramas such as “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy” available to stream on the platform.
Last summer, TV tongues were wagging when Rhimes announced she was exiting her home base at ABC Studios for a $100-million deal at Netflix. The streaming giant kept the industry water cooler talking this year when it announced a blockbuster deal with another prolific TV producer, Ryan Murphy, stealing him away from his home at Fox.
“It’s been thrilling to begin this journey with Shonda, Betsy and their team and watch them embrace the full range of creative freedom possible at Netflix,” said Cindy Holland, Netflix vice president of original content, in a statement. “Infused with Shonda’s sensibility, the Shondaland slate is shaping up to be something truly special that we know will delight our members around the world.”
The new projects are keeping Shondaland busy, as they join ABC series “Grey’s Anatamy,” its spinoff “Station 19,” “How to Get Away with Murder” and “For the People.”