How Shonda Rhimes Increased Her Earnings Power With Shondaland | Forbes

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Shonda Rhimes spent the first 12 years of her TV career contributing to Disney’s empire. Now she’s building her own.

Millions of people have watched Bridgerton. With her adaptation of the popular romance novels, Rhimes, 51, has done the seemingly impossible: created a must-see sensation in a world overflowing with binge-worthy television. In the first 28 days it was available, 82 million households—40% of Netflix’s paying audience—watched the eight-episode series, smashing the service’s previous viewing records. Sarandos booked a second season within weeks, and in April he agreed to fund seasons three and four. A spinoff is in the works. Rhimes, who is already making about $30 million a year to create exclusive content for the streamer, is expected to receive millions in bonus pay because of the series’ success—a rare feat in typically frontloaded streaming deals.

Bridgerton’s resounding success is proof that jumping ship in 2017 from ABC, her home for more than a decade, has paid off. “I don’t know how you do things without betting on yourself,” the show creator says. “If I was going to play it safe, I would’ve stayed exactly where I was and kept doing exactly what I was doing. It wasn’t like a crazy leap to believe in myself.”

Forbes estimates Rhimes will earn close to $40 million from Netflix this year thanks to her Bridgerton bonuses, plus about $8 million in producing fees for Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19, another $17 million for her share of the profits from Grey’s, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder, and a few million more from Shondaland ventures including podcasts, web content, books and more. All told, Rhimes should take home close to $70 million before taxes in 2021, her biggest payday yet. Since her television career began, she has already earned more than $350 million, pretax.

All that is just the beginning, too, as Rhimes looks decades ahead. “We’re not working for anybody. . . . We do things the Shondaland way,” she says, adding: “In 30 years, somebody should look around and not know there’s a Shonda to the Shondaland.”

Read the full profile on Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/maddieberg/2021/06/02/shonda-rhimes-does-things-the-shondaland-way-thanks-to-groundbreaking-netflix-deal-bridgerton/?sh=7f0393f412d0

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