Shonda Rhimes Calls Twitter 'An Exercise in Torture' (Video)

Shonda Rimes
Brigitte Sire

"I’ll get the Private Practice script and I’ll get the Grey’s [Anatomy] script, and I’ll be like, 'These two patients are exactly the same, and look, they’re both saying the same thing,'" Rhimes says of keeping her many series seperate. "But the writers don’t talk to one another!"

As the showrunner for three different weekly series, Shonda Rhimes may discuss her creative choices more often than anyone else working in television. But the creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice and Scandal says that her toughest conversations about the shows she works on are usually held on social media.

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The prolific screenwriter, director and producer joined fellow showrunners Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad), Howard Gordon (Homeland), Glen Mazzara (The Walking Dead), Veena Sud (The Killing) and Terence Winter (Boardwalk Empire) for The Hollywood Reporter’s Emmys roundtable, where she explained how oddly disconnected audience interaction can be from the process of creating episodes of her shows.

“It’s sort of an exercise in torture,” Rhimes said of her active Twitter account. “I sort of don’t know why I get on there. It’s a little like inviting people who hate you into your house to say mean things to you.”

While she indicated that Twitter doesn’t significantly impact her creative process, it does augment – or at least facilitate – her interactions with the media. “I don’t think that it affects it because by the time the audience is seeing something, we’re so far ahead and stuff has already happened beyond that,” she explained.  “Twitter is most useful for talking to the press because if I tweet something, reporters will pick it up and put it on paper. I don’t have to get on the phone.”

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In comparison to the convenience of social media, Rhimes revealed that her ubiquitous television presence demands a lot of physical coordination to maintain. “I’m on three different lots,” she said. “It requires the studio to pay for a driver for me, so I’m not going to complain about it… That is the single greatest thing that’s ever happened.” Nevertheless, the adoption of her daughter, Emerson Pearl, necessitated her soliciting her collaborators to come to her.

“I have a 3-month-old baby now, so I just said I was going to work from home and everyone had to come to me there,” she said. “They have this awesome editing system where you can edit from home. So that’s been good. Time management, I guess.”

Watch video of Rhimes speaking at THR's roundtable below: