Studio Shows Rhimes, Cast the Money
Looks like the woman who brought us Grey's Anatomy is sticking around! Shonda Rhimes will be "on call" for at least three more years, having inked a contract extension with Touchstone Television that runs through the 2008-09 season.
The show's creator and executive producer, Rhimes had just completed the first year of a two-year deal, which included a one-year option, that she signed in May 2005. The new three-year deal is said to be worth about $10 million, vaulting her into the upper tier of TV writers/producers.
Rhimes' pact reflects the importance of the medical drama to Touchstone as well as ABC, which is counting on Grey's Anatomy to revive its longstanding Thursday woes this fall. The show became a monster hit for the network as a midseason entry in the 2004-05 season, thriving in the Sunday 10 p.m. slot behind Desperate Housewives.
Rhimes, who is also working on a new pilot for ABC about a group of female journalists with former Grey's guest star Jeffrey Dean Morgan as part of the ensemble cast, isn't the only one getting a little extra cash.
Sources say Touchstone handed out $200,000 bonus checks to each of the show's 10 principal cast members, possibly in hopes of staving off future contract disputes. In light of the show's meteoric rise in ratings, it's almost a foregone conclusion that the cast will want to negotiate its existing deals to include significant salary increases.
Hopefully, the studio and network know the value of what they've got and are willing to make the appropriate concessions to retain these talented performers. The last thing we need is for Justin Chambers to pull a Terrell Owens and hold out. After all, Alex admittedly hates his team...