Entertainment

Shonda Rhimes explains why shows like ‘Bridgerton’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ aren’t “forward thinking”

"Bridgerton" Series 2 World Premiere - Arrivals
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Shonda Rhimes is celebrated for changing television with her shows, such as Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away with Murder, but she doesn’t consider herself a trailblazer.

Speaking with ABC Audio, the Shondaland CEO chatted about her inclusive shows that feature diverse casts and strong female leads.  While speaking of the latter, which earned her significant praise, Rhimes admitted, “I don’t know that these concepts are forward thinking.”

“The idea that women are gutsy, intelligent and relatable — that they’re smart and strong — that’s not a forward-thinking concept,” the Emmy nominee explained, adding that she fashioned such characters to reflect “the women around me that I know.  I was writing stories about women that I knew.”

Rhimes also said she didn’t have to “convince anybody” at any given network to give her shows a chance, even though critics have previously praised them for breaking the mold — because “good storytelling works for itself.”

“I was lucky that the stories we were telling were compelling enough that the networks were interested,” Rhimes expressed, adding, “I also think there were a lot of women at those networks who saw women in those shows who were also like themselves.”

Bridgerton drew buzz for featuring people of color in positions of power in Regency-era England — most notably casting Golda Rosheuvel, a Black actress, as Queen Charlotte.  The show, which has become one of Netflix’s top original series, returns for its second season on Friday. 

Said Rhimes of why she will continually feature diverse casts in her shows, “People want to see themselves represented on television. They just do.”

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