Everything you need to know about Shonda Rhimes' new show
Shonda Rhimes — the all-around goddess of a human being and mastermind behind Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, and How to Get Away With Murder — is officially bringing her talents to cable for the first time ever. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Rhimes, her ShondaLand partner Betsy Beers, and writer/director Dee Rees will all join forces to adapt Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration into a limited series for FX. We couldn’t be more excited to see how this plays out and comes to fruition.
For those unfamiliar, Wilkerson’s book is about the Great Migration and the Second Great Migration: when six million African-Americans left the rural South to move to the West, Midwest, and Northeast of the United States between 1910 and 1970. The book is a historical study on the movement, and along with general history and statistical analysis, focuses on the specific stories of Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper’s wife who moves from Mississippi to Chicago in the 1930s; George Swanson Starling, a college student who is forced to leave Florida for NYC in the 1940s; and Robert Joseph Pershing Foster, a doctor who leaves Louisiana for Los Angeles in the 1950s. The book takes its title from a Richard Wright poem originally published in Black Boy:
Wilkerson’s book took 15 years to write, and in order to make time for the 622-page tome, Wilkerson quit her job as Chicago Bureau Chief at the New York Times. Obviously, her efforts (and care and attention) were well worth it. The Warmth of Other Suns won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2010, along with a slew of other accolades (it was a New York Times Bestseller and Notable Book of the Year) — and it’s extremely deserving of an adaptation for the screen. Book aside, Wilkerson is remains equally badass. In 1994, she became the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize in journalism for her work reporting on the 1993 Midwestern floods. We’d like to be her, if that’s an option.
So far, we know that Rees (who directed and wrote the pending HBO film Bessie) will be writing the script and adapting the book. Rhimes and Beers will serve as executive producers under the ShondaLand banner. The series will be a co-production between FX Productions and ABC Studios’ ABC Signature, but is still very much in development — and we can’t wait to find out more.