'Grey's Anatomy' off screen drama inspired Shonda Rhimes to create 'Scandal'Shonda Rhimes might not have let anything related to being an alleged “angry black woman” influence the creation of her ABC hit “Scandal,” but it turns out the show is a bit of art imitating life. In a new cover story in The Hollywood Reporter, Rhimes explains how the real-life drama surrounding her first ABC series, “Grey’s Anatomy,” helped her see the value of a professional fixer in “Scandal.”

“It’s not for nothing that I have a show that’s about a professional crisis manager,” she tells THR. “I learned a lot of stuff [from those early years].”

Looking at “Scandal” through that lens, it’s easy to see how the many public issues that “Grey’s Anatomy” faced would help Rhimes become acquainted with the right way to put a positive spin on a messy issue. In the profile, Rhimes talks about the difficult time she had with then-ABC head Steve McPherson when it came to creating the first few episodes of “Grey’s.” Then there was the backlash to Isaiah Washington’s homophobic slur to T.R. Knight going public during Season 2.

The drama continued in 2008 when Katherine Heigl, who won an Emmy Award in 2007 for her work in made a statement saying she was declining to submit her name for Emmy consideration due to the quality of the “Grey’s Anatomy” material she had been given. Disney’s Anne Sweeney had sent Rhimes and her partner Betsy Beers a basket of champagne as congratulations for the “Grey’s Anatomy” crew for their 2007 win, but the two women kept it to themselves.

“Every day that we solved another publicity crisis or got through another trauma of some sort involving all of that crap, we would drink one of the bottles,” Rhimes recalls. “After like three weeks, we called Anne Sweeney and told her we needed another basket.”

While “Scandal” reflects some of the troubles Rhimes had to face in the past on the small screen, off-screen her shows are now drama-free.

“There are no Heigls in this situation,” she tells THR. “I don’t put up with bulls*** or nasty people. I don’t have time for it.”

How Olivia Pope of you, Ms. Rhimes.
Posted by:Terri Schwartz