Shonda Rhimes finds herself more than a bit mesmerized by the notion that she’s receiving the Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television from the Producers Guild of America at its 27th annual ceremony on Jan. 23.
“I haven’t fully processed it yet and I’m not sure I ever will because I truly worshipped Norman Lear when I was growing up,” says Rhimes. Just as Lear redefined the sitcom four decades ago, Rhimes has been a key force in spurring the re-examination of women’s roles in diversity via her award-winning ABC hits “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” “How to Get Away With Murder” and “Private Practice.” She launched the production company ShondaLand in 2005 to be the home for “Grey’s Anatomy.”
“I’m most proud of the creativity and cohesiveness at ShondaLand and about getting it done,” says Rhimes. “My key role as a producer is really just making sure that it happens.”
Rhimes adds that she’s been well-served by an ability to articulate what’s going to work.
“My best quality is that I’m not afraid of being in a room and saying, ‘This isn’t going to work,’ ” she says. “If you don’t act like you belong in a room, people will find a way to get you out of that room.”
With “Grey’s Anatomy” in its 12th season and “Scandal” in its fifth, long-term success has redefined how Rhimes decides what to do next:
“It really comes down to a question of ‘Am I passionate about this?’