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Shonda Rhimes Proudly Boasts “I Am The Highest-Paid Showrunner in Television”

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Shonda Rhimes is the creative genius behind some of your favorite shows on ABC like Grey’s Anatomy and How To Get Away With Murder. The showrunner is recognized as one of the best in the industry, even snagging a multi-million deal to create original content for Netflix. Unbeknownst to many, that deal just catapulted Rhimes’ career and bank account to another level.

Ain’t Too Proud To Brag

At ELLE‘s 2018 Women in Hollywood celebration, Rhimes stood to speak about her career while receiving the L’Oreal Paris Luminary Award. In her speech, she boldly admitted that she is now the highest-paid showrunner in television. She allowed herself to brag on her hard-earned achievements, much like her male counterparts.

Neilson Barnard / ELLE

Turns out her deal with Netflix was inaccurately reported as somewhere between $100 and $150 million. “When I made a deal with Netflix, I let them report my salary wrong in the press, and then I did as few interviews as possible and I put my head down and worked,” Rhimes shared. “In other words, I hid. I’m getting this award for inspiring other women — how can I inspire anyone if I’m hiding?”

Negotiating With Netflix

Though Rhimes didn’t reveal the true number of her deal, it can be assumed that the number is quite high. Famed TV creator Ryan Murphy himself, who was in the audience that night, revealed that he had signed a five-year Netflix contract worth as much as $300 million. Writer and producer Greg Berlanti also signed a massive $400 million overall deal extension with Warner Bros. Television.

Michael Kovac / Elle

For Rhimes, the deal with Netflix must be higher than those salaries, or at least much more what was originally reported. She revealed the truth to make a point about women’s impact not only in entertainment but throughout the world. “We are powerful women and when we say we have power, what we are really saying is that we deserve to have power. We deserve whatever good thing it is that we are getting. Demanding what you deserve can feel like a radical act,” said Rhimes.

Working In Shondaland

Rhimes recently pointed out that her deal with Netflix doesn’t end her current deal with ABC. Through her production company, Shondaland, she has four shows currently airing on the network with another in the works. This new work with Netflix is an addition.

Masterclass / Variety

Rhimes has eight shows in the works for the streaming service. One is set in Mexican California in the 1840s, while another features African-Americans in the Jim Crow era that are escaping the South. Another is based on Ellen Pao’s memoir, focusing on women in Silicon Valley struggling to be seen in the workplace.

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