Shonda Rhimes Doesn’t Owe Grey’s Anatomy Fans Anything

TV Tattle

Shonda Rhimes doesn’t owe Grey’s Anatomy fans anything
The thousands who signed the petition to bring back Patrick Dempsey should “give it up,” says Robin Hardwick. “It’s not your show. Even though they may see themselves as ‘customers’ who keep the show ‘in business,’ television is storytelling. Storytelling is an art form—an art form that writers and showrunners practice. Networks, of course, need viewers for shows, but we need to trust that the people they hire to write those shows have a vision and are writing quality television. Sometimes compelling stories require sacrifices.” PLUS: Looking back at the “MerDer” romance, and here are the best post-death TV episodes.

HBO greenlights Brothers in Atlanta, from former Jimmy Fallon Late Night writers
Lorne Michaels is producing the comedy about struggling entertainers in Atlanta, created by and starring Diallo Riddle and Bashir Salahuddin. Maya Rudolph and Jaden Smith are set to guest-star.

Jordana Brewster will play Denise Brown on American Crime Story
She’ll play the sister of Nicole Brown on FX’s Ryan Murphy O.J. Simpson event series.

Michelle Obama offers to hang out with Letterman when he retires
“We could do things,” the first lady said during her final Late Show visit. “I could help you…raise your children.” PLUS: Obama surprised Letterman with the U.S. Marine Band.

“Big Bird” recalls nearly quitting Sesame Street early on
Carol Spinney, the 81-year-old puppeteer behind Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird, is the subject of a new film titled, I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story. In promoting it, he recalls, “The pay from Sesame Street wasn’t enough to rent an apartment. I was staying on people’s couches. I stayed in the dressing room until they found out. I stayed with Jim Henson and his family for a week, and I wanted to do that permanently. I didn’t dare ask, though.”

NBC wants to be Netflix — and Netflix wants to be NBC
The Peacock’s announcement that it’s trying the binge model with Aquarius shows that it’s interested in the Netflix model. Meanwhile, Netflix’s broad programming choices is better reflective of network TV, and not cable.

10 TV pilots likely to get picked up
CBS’ Supergirl, John Stamos’ Grandpa, Shonda Rhimes’ The Catch and ABC’s The Muppets are among the best bets to make the fall schedule.

Mom has become one of the best sitcoms of the decade
“The key to Mom‘s comedy is its physicality,” says Noel Murray. “This isn’t slapstick. The jokes are mostly verbal, and even somewhat deadpan, as the Plunketts and their friends grumble about their latest disappointments. But the humor pops because of the way Faris delivers her lines with wide, anxious eyes, looking like a silent-movie heroine; and because of the way Janney’s lanky frame has her towering over everyone else, imposing and indomitable.” PLUS: Co-creator says Season 2 finale will be emotional, and how Janney and Faris found their comfort zone.

David Letterman: By the numbers
Late Night ran for 1,810 broadcasts over 595 weeks, while The Late Show has had 4,214 broadcasts over 1,135 weeks.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s No. 1 fan might be an anti-gay marriage Republican congressman
Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah proclaimed the Modern Family star — who married Justin Mikita in 2013 — his “all-time favorite” television actor when Chaffetz met Ferguson at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. In fact, Ferguson was the celebrity Chaffetz most wanted to meet at the annual dinner. “We binge watch Modern Family, all the time! We just love that show!” says Chaffetz.

What happens when acclaimed movie directors work in TV?
More and more filmmakers are working on TV projects, from Guillermo del Toro to David Fincher to M. Night Shyamalan. But as 12 Years a Slave director Lee Daniels found out with Empire, he couldn’t wield the same power as an executive producer on TV as he could as a director on a movie set.

James Corden’s wardrobe has been a late-night standout
The Late Late Show host’s fashion choices, says Ray A. Smith, “are in sync with a broader shift in menswear that calls for more color, personal expression and flair in a suit look…During his first shows, and earlier this week, Mr. Corden wore his suits with a colorful pocket square—a somewhat international menswear look. Other hosts rarely wear pocket squares, or they keep them white and discreet.”

Nationwide’s controversial “But I Died” Super Bowl ad hurt Weight Watchers, too
Weight Watchers had the misfortune of having its Super Bowl ad run immediately after the Nationwide ad depicting a boy who died. As a result, nobody paid attention to the Weight Watchers commercial.

Guillermo Diaz was a Lena Dunham fan before he killed her Scandal character — and before Girls
“I’m obsessed with Girls,” says the Scandal star, who adds: “I was a fan of hers even before Girls. I did a movie way back called Party Girl, and in Lena’s movie Tiny Furniture, she actually has a poster of Party Girl in one of the scenes. It was such a blast working with her. She’s so smart and so funny.”

How to work out like a Simpsons boss
“I’ve seen a lot of writers turn into Homer Simpson over the years,” says Matt Selman, a 43-year-old Simpsons exec producer who tries strength training to overcome his sedentary job.

Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle will become a TV series
The classic book that takes a satirical view of war, religion and scientific advances is set to become a television series from IM Global Television.

Orange is the New Black promotes “Big Boo”
Lea DeLaria’s character, Carrie ‘Big Boo’ Black, will become a series regular in Season 4.

Matthew McConaughey has yet to watch Jim Carrey’s SNL parodies of his Lincoln ads
“They’re all derivative compliments as far as I’m concerned,” he says. “Ellen and I watched her version of the MKC ad, which I thought was pretty funny. I hear Jim Carrey’s is funny, but I haven’t seen it.”