Shonda Rhimes’s first batch of shows for Netflix will primarily be female-powered stories, several of which will be spearheaded by female creatives.
The streaming network on Friday unveiled eight programs currently in development as part of the company’s deal with Rhimes and her Shondaland banner.
Rhimes signed a deal with Netflix in last year, leaving her home at ABC where she created hits like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal.”
So what’s on tap? Nothing quite like TV consumers have seen from Rhimes, producing partner Betsy Beers or production house Shondaland before.
One show, currently unnamed, will be based on a New York Magazine article about a woman made famous for conning New York socialites into funding her lavish lifestyle. Rhimes is creating the series.
Another show will be based on author Julia Quinn’s best-selling historical romance novels. “This smart feminist take on Regency England romance unveils the glittering, wealthy, sexual, painful, funny and sometimes lonely lives of the women and men in London’s high society marriage mart as told through the eyes of the powerful Bridgerton family,” Netflix teased.
Rhimes has recruited “Scandal” veteran Chris Van Dusen to adapt and act as showrunner.
That show is one of four being adapted from the written works of female authors.
“The Warmth of Other Suns,” another series in development, is based on Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson’s award-winning book of the same name. It “tracks the decades-long migration of African-Americans fleeing the Jim Crow South in search of a better life in the North and the West between 1916 and 1970,” according to Netflix.
For that project, MacArthur Genius Grant recipient and playwright Anna Deavere Smith has been tapped to adapt the story and serve as an executive producer.
Ellen Pao’s Silicon Valley memoir, “Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change” will act as the source material for a another series – this one billed as a show detailing a case that paved the way for the Time’s Up movement.
A series based on Kate Andersen Brower’s nonfiction book “The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House” is also in development, with Netflix and Shondaland having acquired the rights.
Details regarding that adaptation were scarce in the information released by Netflix.
Emmy-winning writer Janet Leahy is set to executive producer “Pico & Sepulveda,” another series. This one is set in the 1840s “against the surreal and sensual backdrop of the then-Mexican state of California, the series tracks the end of an idyllic era there as American forces threaten brutality and war at the border to claim this breathtaking land for its own,” Netflix said.
Other developments include a half-hour dark comedy created by actress and writer Jill Alexander about female campers who survive an apocalyptic disaster and a documentary on Debbie Allen’s dance academy.
Allen is a cast member on “Grey’s Anatomy” and has directed several episodes of the series.
“I wanted the new Shondaland to be a place where we expand the types of stories we tell, where my fellow talented creatives could thrive and make their best work and where we as a team come to the office each day filled with excitement,” said Rhimes in a statement. “This is Shondaland 2.0.”