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Shonda Rhimes leaves ABC for Netflix

Shonda Rhimes and producing partner Betsy Beers – makers of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder – are leaving ABC for Netflix as part of a new long-term deal.

Shonda Rhimes

The move, which comes a week after ABC parent Disney said it would be pulling its movies from Netflix in preparation for the launch of its own SVoD service, further escalates tensions between the two companies.

The deal also comes hot on the heels of The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman leaving US cablenet AMC for Amazon.

Rhimes and her Shondaland production company are behind some of the ABC’s biggest shows and while the above trio of titles will continue to air on the network, new projects from the super-producer will instead have their home on Netflix.

It’s a huge coup for Netflix and chief content officer Ted Sarandos who said Rhimes was “one of the greatest storytellers in the history of television.”

“Shondaland’s move to Netflix is the result of a shared plan Ted Sarandos and I built based on my vision for myself as a storyteller and for the evolution of my company,” added Rhimes.

“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. The future of Shondaland at Netflix has limitless possibilities.”

In and interview with The Wall Street Journal, Rhimes also said that part of her reason for moving was to be free of the constraints of network television, such as answering to advertisers and censorship.

She paid tribute to ABC Studios chief Patrick Moran and Entertainment boss Channing Dungey. “I could not have asked for a better home to begin my career,” said Rhimes.

“I am grateful to everyone at ABC for their continued support and I look forward to beginning this next chapter at Netflix,” added Beers.

In related news, Netflix has cancelled psychological thriller Gypsy, which starred Naomi Watts as a therapist who oversteps her professional boundaries.

The 10-episode first season began streaming in June and came from Universal Television and Working Title. It joins The Get Down and Sense8 on the list of originals recently axed by the US streamer.

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