Shonda Rhimes Fans Scream ‘Scandal’ As ABC Bumps Shows for Trump

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By Heat Street Staff | 10:02 am, January 11, 2017

Fans of TV drama queen Shonda Rhimes are livid that season premieres of her shows on the liberal ABC-Disney Television Network are being delayed for a week and replaced by a 20/20 Donald Trump family special to coincide with the Presidential inauguration.

ABC’s Thursday night line-up of Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away With Murder, all of which were created by Rhimes, was originally supposed to premiere January 19 but the network has announced that given there’s a new incumbent in the White House, they will instead show a 20/20 special entitled America’s First Family: The Trumps Go to Washington.

Fans of TGIT (Thank God its Thursday), as the Shonda marathon has come to be called, are freaking out at their show premieres being delayed a week (they will now air January 26).

Sam Jones was another person who over-reacted on social media at having to wait a week until the sixth season of Scandal, the thirteenth season of Grey’s Anatomy and third season of How to Get Away With Murder get underway, tweeting: “ABC really pushed TGIT back a week for a Trump pre-inauguration special. I feel so disrespected.”

But instead of blaming Trump, TV insiders are suggesting ABC might well be attempting to mend fences with the Trump administration by shoving Shonda off the schedule in favor of the Trump doc, having got off to a bumpy start with the incoming administration. ABC’s laggard news division has been heavily criticized for liberal bias after host Martha Raddatz was dismissive and condescending of Trump’s foreign policy knowledge when she co-moderated the debates, and Trump has accused her of crying on air when he won the election. Furthermore, ABC’s petite host George Stephanopoulos was forced to recuse himself from moderating debates after he was exposed as a major donor to the Clinton Foundation.

ABC will also have been swayed in its decision to switch its programming by signs that once mighty Shonda Rhimes is not the creative force she used to be.

Ratings of How to Get Away With Murder have plummeted from its first season when it was ABC’s highest-rated scripted series. Scandal is still a critically important ABC show but its increasingly outlandish  plots — exemplified by  Olivia Pope, the protagonist played by Kerry Washington, killing a wheelchair-bound stroke victim by pulping his face with an aluminum chair — have led some to conclude it has jumped the shark. Ratings on Grey’s Anatomy– now 13 years old- have also fallen in recent times. Overall, ABC’s prime time schedule is in the toilet despite an executive shuffle a year ago which ousted its entertainment chief.

Rhimes — who has previously denounced Donald Trump and proclaimed Raddatz’s debate performance as “magical” — claims that, unlike some of her shows’ viewers, she is relaxed about the delay. “ABC does its programming- I’m not in charge of scheduling, she said during the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour. “I’m fine with whatever they want to do. I like to stay in my lane.”

Rhimes has been about as powerful as a TV showrunner can get while at ABC and has had the run of the place. But despite publicly shrugging off the news, having her show premieres bumped for the 20/20 special is humiliating for Rhimes and a degradation of her power.

 It begs the question of whether Rhimes was consulted on the switch and if she thinks ABC itself has got away with murder over its eleventh hour change of heart.