Shondaland fans aren’t the only ones excited for the premieres of the Thursday night dramas.
The casts of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and upcoming legal thriller “How to Get Away with Murder” took to the carpet Saturday at the Palihouse in West Hollywood for their ABC-Shondaland Twitter premiere party to talk about being a part of the three series-lineup on ABC. Rhimes created “Grey’s” and “Scandal,” and serves as exec producer on “How to Get Away.” Peter Nowalk, a Shondaland vet, created the latest drama.
“I’ve always liked writing about normal people in extreme circumstances,” Nowalk told Variety. The drama centers around Viola Davis as criminal law professor Annalise Keating, who hires five of her students to work under her. And of course, the series is loaded with drama, intrigue and mystery, promising a “thrill ride,” says Nowalk.
“It’s a psychological thriller. No one is who they seem to be. I think every time someone does something you can question their motivations,” he said.
Nowalk got his start in television — and Shondaland — when Rhimes and Betsy Beers hired him to work on “Private Practice.” “I got so lucky,” he exclaimed. They read my script and hired me, and gave me a shot.”
Nowalk explained that he tries to remember the lessons he learned as a young writer working on Shondaland productions to inspire a new generation of talent. “I learned so much from [Shonda] — it’s like I went to grad school in Shondaland.”
“Everyone should be lucky enough to live in Shondaland for a little while because it’s a very, very happy world,” Washington said.
The actress, who at the end of season three left in a plane with cast member Scott Foley to an undisclosed location, said that Rhimes stays true to her spirit. Washington noted that the Rhimes’ production company’s logo of a rollercoaster with a heart at the center sums up the Shondaland experience. “That is the best description of Shondaland,” she said. “It’s incredibly thrilling and an awesome ride and at the center of it all is a loving, compassionate and creative heart.”
Two-time Oscar nominee Viola Davis expressed her thanks for Rhimes by calling her a “great boss” and one who is always “in support of you as an artist and as a woman.”
“I just feel like I got invited to the coolest party in the world,” Davis added.
An Emmy winner for his role as Washington’s father on “Scandal,” Joe Morton gave high kudos to Rhimes’ accomplishments.
“It’s an amazing thing she’s done,” Morton said. “There’s never been a single producer that has had three shows back-to-back on the same night on a network. That’s never happened. Being part of that is being part of history.”
Many of the “Scandal” cast members also said that working on a Shondaland show has been the best job in their career.
“Shonda Rhimes is the best boss in the entire world,” said Katie Lowes, who plays one of Olivia Pope’s associates on the show. “She’s a genius and gives you the best scripts and lines, but also she’s a supportive friend and mentor.”
Matt McGorry, who will have a recurring role on “How To Get Away” and also appears in “Orange Is The New Black,” says that the welcoming feeling applies to all of the Shondaland shows. “I think that really creates a confidence for us that we can make bold choices and do things that a lot of shows haven’t done before.”
Newcomer to Shondaland Portia de Rossi expressed her gratitude for being welcomed to the family of dramas. “I am so proud to be a part of Shondaland,” she exclaimed. “I’ve been a fan of hers for years. I love the show and was so excited to be a part of her creative genius.”
The actress will arrive just in time for season four of “Scandal,” playing a character with a top secret arc. However, de Rossi was able to tease just a hint of who she will be portraying. “I can tell you that I’m a power player in D.C. — in the Republican Party.”
The casts were tight-lipped about the stories audiences can expect when the shows premiere this Thursday, though the “Scandal” team was more than happy to tease the immediate repercussions of last season’s ender.
“The last time you saw Huck he was walking up to his family’s house, and you’re definitely going to see that. You’re going to see what happens,” said Guillermo Diaz.
“You see Kerry in the promo,” teased Foley, “but you haven’t seen us together. So the question is: Where’s Jake? Where are we going to find him?”
“You find out right away,” shared Darby Stanchfield of what the Gladiators have been up to since the finale. “It’s really fun — I can’t wait for the audience to see it!”
“Grey’s Anatomy” kicks off the night of premieres on Sept. 25 at 8 p.m., followed by “Scandal” at 9 p.m., and “How to Get Away with Murder” at 10 p.m. on ABC.
(Pictured: Katie Lowes, Kerry Washington, Portia De Rossi, Ellen DeGeneres, Darby Stanchfield and Bellamy Young at the #TGIT Shondaland premiere event)