Why SCANDAL is a hit TV Show

ImageWith 6.2 million weekly viewers, it’s no surprise that ABC’s Thursday night drama “Scandal” has everyone buzzing. I’m heavily invested in this show. You can log on to Facebook on any given day and find thousands of users discussing the ins and outs of Olivia Pope & Associates.  Since it’s
April 5, 2012 debut, Creator- Head Writer and Executive Producer Shonda Rhimes has taken viewers on a joyous thrill ride into the darker side of DC politics.

What’s the secret to Scandal’s Success?

Aside from a stellar cast, the writing team on this show is phenomenal.  ShondaLand’s writers are some of the brightest in the business:

Heather Mitchell  (Medium & Grey’s Anatomy)
Matt Byrne  (Grey’s Anatomy)
Richard E. Robbins  (Rubicon & TV News Documentaries)
Mark Wilding  (Grey’s Anatomy & Charmed)
Jenna Bans  (co-creator & writer Grey’s Anatomy)
Mark Fish  (Damages & The OC)
Raamla Mohamed  (Grey’s Anatomy)
Chris Van Dusen  (Grey’s Anatomy & Private Practice)
Peter Noah  (The West Wing)

I always notice when people are discussing Scandal they always credit Shonda.  The truth is Shonda has only written three of the episodes for Scandal. Being the head writer I’m certain she gets the last word but let’s face it, Shonda is a busy lady.  Her credited episodes were:

“Sweet Baby” – April 5, 2012  (Pilot Episode #1)
Young lawyer Quinn Perkins is in awe when she is invited to join Olivia Pope and Associates, a crisis management firm designed to protect and defend the public images of the nation’s elite. Quinn works alongside her idol Olivia Pope, a woman who is willing to help her clients no matter what the cost. But when decorated war veteran Sullivan St. James is accused of murder and a White House intern, Amanda Tanner, accuses President Fitzgerald Grant of having an affair, Quinn discovers that nothing is as it seems.

“Grant For the People” -May 17, 2012  (Season 1 – Episode #7)
The team rushes to help Quinn when she finds herself in a compromising position. A reluctant Cyrus must turn to Olivia when the Vice President’s Chief of Staff Billy Chambers makes a public announcement that shakes the Grant Administration, The White House, and Olivia to the core.

“Happy Birthday, Mr. President” – December 6, 2012    (Season 2 -Episode #15)
President Grant is rushed to the hospital following the attempt on his life. A series of flashbacks reveals more about Olivia’s time in the White House and her relationship with the president. Despite Olivia’s best efforts to retain the office of president for President Grant, Vice President Langston is inaugurated as president to serve until President Grant recovers.

The woman behind ShondaLand

At 43, (born January 13, 1970) Shonda Rhimes is a dynamic force in Hollywood these days. She, along with creative partner Betsy Beers,  has given ABC three hit shows, Grey’s Anatomy which has run consistently to a large audience since March 2005.  Private Practice which aired September 2007 until January 22, 2013, and now Scandal, which hopefully will run as long as Grey’s Anatomy has.


While Shonda is most famous for Grey’s Anatomy, she was also the writer for several other hits, including the 1999 movie ” Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” which put Halle Berry’s career on the map. In 2001 she wrote the movie for Britney Spears film debut “Crossroads” for which she was nominated for a Razzy award. She also wrote the Princess Diaries 2-Royal Engagement in 2004.


I’m certainly convinced that anything she touches will turn to gold.

Shonda has a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth (1991) and a master of fine arts (MFA) from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television.  She was born in Chicago, Illinois and is the youngest of 5 children born to a university administrator and a college professor. She has two adopted daughters  Harper Rhimes and Emerson Rhimes.

On  December 11, 2012 there was an article published by the IndieWire where someone asked her the question:  “Why all the gay and lesbian story lines?”  of which she answered:

Because I believe everyone should get to see themselves reflected on TV. EVERYONE. And because I love all my gay and lesbian friends. AND because I think same-sex marriage is the civil rights fight of our era and back when being a person of color was the civil rights fight, people like Norman Lear put black people on TV and helped change some minds. So you know, it’s gotta be paid forward. As long as we are willing to sit by while one person is not free, none of us are free.

And FINALLY: because as long as someone feels like it is okay to ask the question “why all the gay people on your shows”, then there is still a HUGE problem that needs to be solved. It’s like asking “Why all the black people on your shows”. (Which is, in fact, why there are also a lot of people of color on my shows . Cause people keep asking. Like it’s unusual. Which means we have a LONG way to go). Okay, done preaching.

Shonda is changing television as we know it. Her answer to the question above says it all. I shake my head when I think she has not won an Emmy Award.  Her wins to date have been:

PGA award by Writer’s Guild of America for TV Producer of the year 2007 – Grey’s Anatomy
Lucy Award (Women in Film) for excellence and innovation in her creative works that have enhanced the perception of women through the medium of television – in 2007

NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Dramas Series, Grey’s Anatomy – 2007

NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing – Grey’s Anatomy – 2008

NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing – Private Practice – 2008

(2) NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Writing – Grey’s Anatomy – 2009

Nominated for three Emmys in 2006 and 2007 but has not won one yet. (Shocking)

Shonda Rhimes & ShondaLand writers/actors and staff – I salute you today. Keep a place in your offices for that Emmy because I personally believe it’s coming.


Thursday has become my favorite TV night of the week anticipating where this show will go next.
Kerry Washington rocks as Olivia Pope and the on-screen chemistry between her and Tony Goldwyn (remember him in Ghost?)  is so tantalizing.   The entire cast, Columbus Short (Harrison Wright), Darby Stanchfield (Abby Whelan), Katie Lowes (Quinn Perkins/Lindsey Dwyer), Jeff Perry (Cyrus Beene), Joshua Malina (David Rosen), Bellamy Young (Mellie Grant), Gregg Henry (Hollis Doyle), and Dan Bucatinsky (James) have all gelled together so well.

Whose your favorite Scandal character?  I have to admit mine is HUCK!  Guillermo Díaz has come a long way since the movie “Half-Baked” with Dave Chappelle.

Oh how I love this show.