News

7 Updates From ShondaLand to Get You Ready for Thursday Night TV

Producers and Cast Promise a Lighter Shade of Grey's and a Darker Side of Murder

by | September 23, 2015 | Comments

ShondaRhimesInterview
It’s a great time to be Shonda Rhimes, the executive producer behind ABC’s TGIT lineup of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder.  In dedicating all three hours of Thursday’s primetime schedule to ShondaLand dramas, ABC has at last gained a foothold on one of the most competitive nights of the primetime week.

Meanwhile, in a climate where women accounted for only 27 percent of behind-the-camera jobs at broadcast, cable and streaming networks during the 2014-2015 season, Rhimes stands as one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood.

Just don’t ask her to comment on that, or the influence that she’s had on the industry. One reporter’s  attempt to get her to do so during a recent press conference brought the question and answer session to a halt.

“I think it’s just a waste of time,” she said later, addressing her continued refusal to comment on the impact she’s had on the industry. “What do I know? I think it’s just arrogant in a crazy way.”

Hesitant as Rhimes is to admit that she may be a trailblazer, she’s even more tight-lipped when it comes to revealing upcoming storylines for her shows. Co-producer Betsy Beers and HTGAWM creator and showrunner Pete Nowalk are equally as secretive.

Nevertheless, here are details about the upcoming seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder that we were able to pry out of Rhimes, Nowalk and HTGAWM co-star Matt McGorry, who plays Asher Millstone. [Warning: Contains major HTGAWM season one spoilers.]


 A Lighter Shade of Grey’s

GreysAnatomy1
Nothing is perfect in ShondaLand, a fact that Rhimes and Beers drove home on last season of Grey’s Anatomy by killing off Meredith Grey’s great love Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey). Ending a love story that spanned 11 seasons brings the opportunity for new beginnings for Dr. Grey (Ellen Pompeo), and Rhimes teased that viewers will see a brighter Meredith in season 12, which kicks off three months after the finale’s events.

We had to wonder whether writing this established character as a widow starting over is different than fleshing out the next chapter for a divorcee, a la Private Practice’s Addison.

“Oddly enough, no,” Rhimes said. “Meredith has always had a dark sense of humor. You have to remember that this is a character who has drowned and been shot, and been in an airplane crash, and had a lot of dark things happen to her, and dealt with those things very darkly, and in a very funny way, for a long time. So interestingly enough, her sense of humor is oddly charming. It’s not disrespectful to the memory of her husband. It’s more about who she is now.”


No, Martin Henderson is Not the New McDreamy

MartinHenderson

Shortly after the season ended, it was reported that Martin Henderson, co-star of Sundance Channel’s The Red Road, had joined Grey’s as a series regular. But Rhimes quickly shot down early speculation that Henderson’s character would be stepping into Meredith’s life as Derek’s replacement.

“He’s not going to be on until the middle of the season, so I haven’t even made a plan yet,” Rhimes said. “I just knew that I needed a doctor to be in this particular role for a medical story.”


Living Single at Grey Sloan Memorial

GreysAnatomy2
Though the focus will be on Meredith as the twelfth season kicks off, she’s got her kids and her sisters to deal with. Rhimes reminded us, “There’s a lot of relationships happening…there’s Jackson and April, there’s Ben and Bailey, there’s Callie and Arizona. They’re dealing with their own lives… on top of which they’re all really focused on being doctors.”

And while there may be a dearth of women in powerful positions in Hollywood, that’s not the case at Grey Sloan Memorial.  “We talk a lot about the fact that there are a lot of lady chiefs:  There’s a lady chief of cardio, there’s a lady chief of ortho. We talk a lot about those things and what that means.”


The Allure of Scandal’s Olivia Pope and HTGAWM’s Annalise Keating

ScandalHTGAWMFinal
In that previously mentioned press conference, Scandal star Kerry Washington observed, “I’ve always thought it was really misguided when women tell me that Olivia Pope is their role model, because she’s having an affair with a married man who is the President of the United States. And a murderer. And they stole an election together.”

But they looked so sexy while they did it, right?

This is part of the reason why news of Olivia and Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) finally being together probably made Scandal’s gladiators cheer. Her ex-boyfriend Jake (Scott Foley) can’t be too happy about it, and it’s probably not a good idea to tick off a former intelligence operative, but who cares? Love conquers all.

Somewhat similarly, viewers are drawn to HTGAWM’s Annalise Keating (Viola Davis), who has covered up several murders and done questionable things for people who are, well, not so great. This in itself is somewhat unusual since, even in recent seasons, TV audiences have cheered along difficult men while shying away from women who weren’t likable.

Whether Olivia and Annalise are likable is beside the point. “These are interesting women. I don’t know where it says that women have to be likable,” Rhimes said. “They’re attractive, not necessarily likable. I don’t mean physically attractive… Likable is nice, I suppose. I think what’s ‘attractive’ is that you’re drawn to them. You want to spend time with them and you want to see what’s going on in their lives. I don’t know that I want to hang out with Annalise Keating, like, as her buddy.”

Can you blame her?


HTGAWM Gets Away with More Murders

HTGAWM2
Annalise is a woman who has a murderer in her employ, a man who she may have commissioned for other deadly deeds in the past.  According to Nowalk, the show’s only beginning to explore the attorney’s past. “There are a lot of people from Annalise’s life who we have not met.”

And with the cliffhanger finale’s new murder, “she’s in a big mess, and so she now has to deal with it. There are a lot of things to either cover up, or to bail [out],” Nowalk said. “Does she turn herself in?…There are a lot of killers on our show, so I don’t want to say one way or another.”

That said, “The big question that we’re going to answer in the premiere is who killed Rebecca. When the non-killers find that out is up for grabs right now. But some people will know, some people will not know. And I don’t want to say anything else, because I don’t want to reveal who the killer is.”


The Mystery of Frank

FrankHTGAWM
Then again, maybe Nowalk didn’t actually know at the time of this interview. The showrunner admitted that the decision to make Annalise’s right-hand man Frank (Charlie Weber) Lila’s murderer was a last-minute choice. “I wrote a version where Rebecca did it, and I wrote a version where Sam did it, and I knew they weren’t right.” Then, he realized, “Subconsciously, we had set up that it was Frank. We had little clues along the way. And that, to me, was the best answer because it raised more mystery.”

How will this knowledge impact Frank’s affair with Laurel (Karla Souza)? “Laurel obviously doesn’t know that he killed Lila. Nobody knows Frank killed Lila. So that’s another relationship we’re going to continue to explore,” Nowalk said. “…Whether Laurel finds out the truth about him or not is up for grabs.”

Another detail to be revealed eventually is a mysterious act Frank had to complete on Sam’s behalf.


More Tainted Love: Asher and Bonnie

McGorrySouza
What about the character HTGAWM viewers love to hate, Asher Millstone, and his strange relationship with Bonnie (Liza Weil)? McGorry has a more sympathetic view of Asher – no surprise, since he plays the guy.

“Asher is sort of the most honest character. He doesn’t keep secrets very well, and unfortunately, he has no filter, which can be obviously very offensive at times. I think if he were to find out about the murder, they’d have a hard time making him keep it a secret.”

As season two begins, Asher’s remains unaware of the murders that everyone else knows about and has a district attorney asking him questions about Annalise.  On the other hand, everyone on Annalise’s team knows about him and Bonnie.

“Their relationship is going to get a lot more complicated, based on the fact of where we left Asher. I feel like [the DA’s investigation] is going to complicate Asher’s life, and specifically his relationship with Bonnie, a lot more.”

That’s probably good news for McGorry. “As an actor, I don’t want to lose my job! If he finds out, and they have to kill him, that would suck. So yeah, I mostly worry about my job, not the storylines,” he said with a grin. “But I have a feeling that things might get darker. There’s no way for them not to.”


New seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder premiere Thursday, September 24 on ABC.

Tag Cloud

21st Century Fox Fantasy Fall TV adaptation spanish language game show 20th Century Fox WGN DC Comics unscripted Tumblr justice league Pirates Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt mockumentary richard e. Grant Cosplay facebook Apple nature Mary Tyler Moore Animation binge DGA Disney streaming service Interview Rock APB Showtime Set visit The Witch CW Seed zero dark thirty disaster Paramount Network Star Wars Superheroe HBO Max Fox News TNT Mary poppins CNN theme song travel WarnerMedia composers natural history Syfy Valentine's Day Best and Worst VH1 TV Land Captain marvel Thanksgiving Awards TLC 2016 A&E Tarantino USA Bravo ghosts Paramount doctor who harry potter LGBTQ Schedule TCM Film Festival Disney cops robots medical drama children's TV crime Drama X-Men Western anime Family Comedy Winter TV singing competition Year in Review Action TIFF 45 Crackle Reality social media Ellie Kemper Emmys Pride Month NYCC south america Rom-Com Walt Disney Pictures Marvel IFC Films cults game of thrones Opinion Britbox Reality Competition hispanic RT21 political drama dramedy PBS festivals Lionsgate Disney Channel FOX HBO FX vampires American Society of Cinematographers elevated horror MSNBC CMT Creative Arts Emmys transformers E! Writers Guild of America war First Reviews 24 frames CBS zombie Trophy Talk Vudu Pop sequel CBS All Access MCU video 2019 jamie lee curtis Nickelodeon golden globes based on movie Quiz 007 PaleyFest Spectrum Originals mutant Musical diversity Spring TV docudrama Peacock Comedy Central Dark Horse Comics Film Countdown Trivia Watching Series tv talk ABC Family Election Amazon GLAAD psychological thriller historical drama Country Epix Nominations New York Comic Con sports Sundance Now comiccon Rocky National Geographic revenge cats miniseries foreign TCA 2017 green book TV Star Trek Ghostbusters Arrowverse Adult Swim GIFs Heroines Esquire Columbia Pictures Super Bowl The Arrangement supernatural Song of Ice and Fire SundanceTV Comics on TV Marathons Grammys book award winner Oscars Mudbound cinemax The CW what to watch Kids & Family Amazon Prime Ovation Elton John 71st Emmy Awards 2015 Mindy Kaling TBS streaming Musicals Teen hist Rocketman See It Skip It Cartoon Network Infographic Food Network Shudder Photos Amazon Prime Video YouTube Premium Spike YA Logo series OWN Trailer blaxploitation Sundance Biopics Netflix Martial Arts casting Black Mirror FXX Warner Bros. finale strong female leads Cannes spider-man zombies Character Guide television Horror psycho thriller Stephen King History Summer Podcast comic technology Mary Poppins Returns Sneak Peek Christmas Polls and Games DC Universe Premiere Dates stand-up comedy ABC Music Starz IFC serial killer animated romance E3 Women's History Month spinoff Superheroes discovery USA Network Sony Pictures SXSW El Rey Acorn TV Comic Book Awards Tour Winners kids dc TCA Chernobyl DC streaming service biography Video Games sitcom Red Carpet Sci-Fi dragons aliens Nat Geo San Diego Comic-Con politics ratings Shondaland Binge Guide ITV Masterpiece talk show latino Mystery spain AMC VICE toy story Universal First Look Certified Fresh Brie Larson DirecTV police drama YouTube Red Anna Paquin cooking RT History Freeform Emmy Nominations dceu 2018 NBC MTV BET President quibi Box Office crime drama LGBT Lucasfilm witnail TruTV Lifetime space BBC America Toys adventure teaser crossover Hulu SDCC Pixar true crime Calendar Pet Sematary Tomatazos Extras Holidays ESPN Chilling Adventures of Sabrina 2017 Television Academy science fiction GoT boxoffice anthology cars BBC period drama crime thriller spy thriller movies