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Shonda Rhimes' Estimated Net Worth: $140.0 million,
About Shonda Rhimes
Age54 Years
BirthJanuary 13, 1970 Chicago, Illinois
JobStoryteller, Author
AlumniDartmouth College, USC School of Cinematic Arts
BooksYear of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person (2015) and The Year of Yes Journal (2016)

With not a single failed show under her belt, Shonda Rhimes is the undisputed queen of entertainment. Netflix lured this creative genius from ABC in 2017. Shonda Rhimes’ net worth in 2018 is estimated at $140.0 million, according to sources. But, could this figure increase, given her newly minted creative control over her future projects?

Shonda Rhimes is the greatest modern storyteller. The TGIT empress and entertainment mogul’s star continues to rise.

It’s no wonder that Netflix vetted her from ABC without hesitation. Credited with the revival of ABC’s entertainment attraction, Shondaland, the multimillion dollar production company Rhimes founded in 2005, will now cash in on the online streaming platform.

With some of the most successful TV shows under her belt, Shonda Rhimes’ 2018 net worth currently sits at $140.0 million and counting, making her one of the wealthiest showrunners in broadcast and streaming network history. In the beginning of the year, the entertainment industry mogul and queen of high-quality, binge-worthy TV shows was worth $120.0 million. That’s an increase of $20.0 million in just a few short months!

She’s reached such monumental levels of success that it’s not a question of whether she’ll generate more money, but just how much more money she’ll accrue and when.

Here’s how you make money in Shondaland.

How Much Is Shonda Rhimes Worth?

  • Shonda Lynn Rhimes was born on January 13, 1970, in Chicago, Illinois; she is the youngest of six children. Rhimes attended Dartmouth College where she majored in English and film studies; she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1991.
  • In college, Rhimes joined the Black Underground Theater Association, wrote for the college newspaper, spent time writing fiction, as well as directed and performed in student productions.
  • After graduating, Shonda Rhimes briefly worked in advertising before moving to California to study screenwriting at USC; she acquired a Master of Fine Arts degree from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Rhimes started as an intern for TV producer Debra Martin Chase; she also worked in Denzel Washington’s company, Mundy Lane Entertainment. As a struggling screenwriter, Rhimes worked a variety of jobs, which included being an office administrator and counselor.
  • In 2001, Shonda Rhimes wrote Crossroads, Britney Spears’ debut movie; she followed it with co-writing Princess Diaries 2.
  • In her youth, Rhimes spent some time volunteering in a hospital. This experience inspired her to write about hospital environments.
  • ABC rejected Rhimes’ first pitch on female war correspondents but was sold on the idea of Grey’s Anatomy; the show moved from Sundays to Thursdays and became Rhimes’ juggernaut show. Rhimes has since continued creating shows centered around strong female characters like the Grey’s Anatomy spin-off Private Practice, starring Kate Walsh; Scandal, starring Kerry Washington; and How to Get Away with Murder, starring Viola Davis.
  • Shonda Rhimes made Ellen Pompeo a star who now commands a $20.0 million salary for Grey’s Anatomy and is now among the highest paid TV actors.
  • Rhimes founded her TV production company, Shondaland, where she runs her writers’ room from a distance without micromanaging, then collects the best ideas from her talented team to pitch a storyline. Rhimes is also an author who’s written multiple books, including Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person (2015) and The Year of Yes Journal (2016).
  • Right before signing a Netflix deal, Rhimes purchased a house in Los Angeles worth $4.59 million.
  • Shonda Rhimes’ houses in Hancock Park, Los Angeles are worth $1.66 million and $5.6 million; she purchased another house worth $8.8 million in 2014.

Here’s how Shonda Rhimes’ net worth compares to other screenwriters on TV:

Shonda Rhimes’ net worth $140.0 million
Ryan Murphy $100.0  million (1.4 times larger)
Damon Lindelof $45.0 million (3.14 times larger)
Marta Kauffman $400.0 million (2.9 times smaller)
David Crane $400.0 million (2.9 times smaller)
Chuck Lorre $800.0 million (5.7 times smaller)
Matt Groening $500.0 million (3.6 times smaller)
Steven Levitan $250.0 million (1.8 times smaller)
Brad Falchuk $20.0 million (7 times larger)
Christopher Lloyd $100.0  million (1.4 times larger)
Lee Aronsohn $10.0 million (14 times larger)

As part of her production contract with ABC and in addition to the fees she charged per each episode for her top shows, Shonda raked in a whopping $10.0 million annually over the past three years. Combined with that, she also took home at least 10% of the profits from syndicated episodes of How To Get Away With Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and the short-lived Private Practice.

That adds up to an estimated $1.0 million per episode. In total, her creative projects have garnered a mind-boggling $2 billion revenue for Disney, ABC’s parent company. Syndication, advertising, and international licensing for streaming services like Netflix are all included in that calculation.

So, what is Shonda Rhimes’ annual salary?

Given the fact that she’s constantly taking on new projects and continuously moving forward with her creative endeavors, there’s no set number. During her speech at ELLE’s Women In Hollywood event on October 15, 2018, Rhimes had this to say regarding her unparalleled success in the entertainment industry:

“I am the highest paid showrunner in television. And I deserve it.”

To put this statement in context, Rhimes was declaring this in solidarity Grey’s Anatomy star and her close friend, Ellen Pompeo, who had recently made a similar statement to the press and received a lot of backlash for it. The point of the statement was to inspire other women—not just in the entertainment industry, but across other sectors as well—to stop being shy or ashamed about their accomplishments and talk about them with the same brashness that men have been able to for so long.

In this sense, Rhimes is a true inspiration for women everywhere.

A New Chapter for Rhimes

  • Shonda Rhimes signed a four-year development deal with Netflix in August 2017; her TGIT lineup on ABC remains intact, and several of Rhimes’ projects for ABC are in the works.
  • The screenwriter’s contract with ABC expired in June 2018, and she reportedly intimidated the network’s execs with her plans to move on to a new phase in her career.
    The deal works for both ABC and Netflix; the streaming giant has funneled $6.0 million in creating original content instead of licensing it from networks.
  • Rhimes’ enthusiastic fan base flocks to stream her shows without fail; Netflix already has streaming rights to past seasons of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.
  • Disney, ABC’s parent company, will use Rhimes’ departure as an opportunity to tap into newer talent; it will also reduce the availability of its shows on Netflix and promote a streaming subscription service of its own.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Shonda Rhimes’ Netflix deal is estimated to be worth about $100.0 million.

Shonda Rhimes’ Awards

Given everything this amazing woman has accomplished throughout her lucrative career, it’s not surprising that she has so much more than just dollar signs to show for it.
As far as television producers go, Rhimes has given more awards acceptance speeches than most of her peers.

Here’s a list of all of the coveted awards Shonda Rhimes has collected over the years for her outstanding achievements.

Award Title  Year Show
Writers Guild of America Award for Television: New Series 2006 Grey’s Anatomy
TV Land Future Classic Award 2006 Grey’s Anatomy
Glamor Woman of the Year Award 2007 N/A
Producers of the Year Award – Norman Felton Producer of the Year Award in Episodic Television –  Drama 2007 Grey’s Anatomy
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 Grey’s Anatomy
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series 2013, 2014, Scandal
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series 2015 How to Get Away With Murder
GLAAD Media Golden Gate Award 2012 N/A
Laurel Award for TV Writing Award 2015 N/A
DGA Diversity Award 2014 N/A
Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television 2016 N/A

Shonda Rhimes’ Family Life

In an earnest interview with Oprah, Rhimes opened up about her utter lack of a desire to get married, despite knowing from a very young age that she knew she wanted to have three kids who were girls.

“Since I was five, I could tell you I was gonna have kids. I could tell you I was gonna have three. I could tell you they were gonna be girls,” she stated matter-of-factly.

Then she went on to iterate, “But, I have NEVER wanted to get married. I never played bride, I was never interested. I don’t know what it is; I never wanted to get married. I love having boyfriends, I love dating. I do not want a husband in my house and I don’t know what it is, I just don’t.”

Not surprisingly, Shonda has followed through on her life plan and managed to forge her own path, unabashedly telling anyone who’ll listen that she has no desire whatsoever to get married.

As planned, she did end up having three kids, all of whom are girls. Their names are Emerson Pearl Rhimes, Beckett Rhimes, and Harper Rhimes. Two of her daughters were adopted in 2002 and 2012 respectively, while the third was conceived via gestational surrogacy in 2013.