'Scandal,' 'How To Get Away With Murder,' & 'Grey's' Premiere Ratings Prove Shonda Rhimes Is Still the Queen
If there was any doubt who is ruling over television these days, scrub that doubt from your mind: The Queen of Television is Shonda Rhimes. Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, and Grey's Anatomy all made their 2014 debuts on ABC Thursday night, and they did so in grand Shondaland fashion, by completely dominating Twitter, and by giving ABC the best Thursday night ratings it's had in five years.
Though How To Get Away With Murder wasn't created by Rhimes — Peter Norwalk, who cut his teeth on Grey's and Scandal, created the show and wrote the pilot — it's clearly built to fit within the Shondaland fold under what Slate's Willa Paskin recently described as the new TV genre "hyperdrama."
The genre, and that distinctive Shonda flavor, are doing pretty well for themselves these days, in a way that isn't any kind of plot twist, but rather the very smart continual packaging of something that's been working for ABC for years. Grey's introduced the world to what television under the rule of Rhimes could look like, Scandal re-formed that, and How To Get Away With Murder cemented it. Its pilot premiering alongside Scandal's fourth season premiere and Grey's Anatomy's (holy shit) eleventh, How To Get Away With Murder brought in 14 million viewers Thursday night, beating Scandal's healthy 12 million.
Rhimes and her disciples — most notably at the moment being Peter Nowalk, of course — have done something for network television that feels like a breath of fresh air both for its nostalgia and its newness. They've recreated appointment television, and they're doing it every week. Maybe ABC should change that #TGIT, Thank God It's Thursday, hashtag to #TGIS — Thank God It's Shonda.
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