ShondaLand is the production company behind ABC's top-rated dramas and, though it's named for producer Shonda Rhimes, it’s hardly a one-woman show. As long as Rhimes has been making television, she’s had Betsy Beers as her producing partner.
Beers serves as executive producer for all ShondaLand shows and is as important to the operation as Rhimes. The two developed the hit show "Grey’s Anatomy" more than a decade ago, and they’ve been churning out popular ABC dramas ever since.
The Frame's host, John Horn, recently interviewed Beers at the ShondaLand offices in Hollywood.
On being a woman-dominated studio:
We do have a large predominance of women here at ShondaLand and, I have to say, on a regular basis we'll have a writer come in with whom we might be developing something, or a director, and there will be this moment where they'll sit in the room and look around and they'll say, You know, I've been doing this for a number of years and this is the first time I've ever been in a room and it was all women, or it was a majority of women. I don't notice it. I think it's just sort of second nature to have a diverse group of incredibly interesting, talented people here.
On her former life as a movie producer:
I could figure out a way to tank a film by working on it. I was like the Typhoid Mary of movies. And I loved movies, I think movies are spectacular. I had no ill will towards movies. I didn't have a secret plan to destroy the movie industry, but I did have an uncanny knack to work on things that I believed in and loved, and somehow or other that opening weekend, they just didn't fare very well. So I think the movie industry sighed a sigh of relief when I moved into the fine field of television.
On a lifelong love of television:
I was a television fan from [childhood]. I was somewhat raised by television. It was the third parent in the house, and I think that was probably true for a lot of people. But I loved it. I memorized the TV Guide fall preview schedule when I was seven and I would know exactly what night things were on ... Even while I was working in the movie business, I would be secretly watching television like I was cheating on my job.
On diversity in Hollywood:
The largest selling point I can give to people is, Your stories will get better. The interesting things that come up from people that have different experiences, different backgrounds, different sensibilities than you — every single thing about the creative process becomes better because you learn something, because the world expands, because you see something from a different point of view. So I just think it boils down to, Do yourself a favor.
Season premieres from the ShondaLand shows, "Grey's Anatomy" and "How to Get Away With Murder," will air on ABC, Sept. 22 at 8pm and 10pm PT.