“Scandal,” the ABC political drama, is gearing up for its fictional election season, which may emulate the current election goings-on.
“Good Morning America”’s Lara Spencer caught up with "Scandal" executive producer Shonda Rhimes on Tuesday at the “Scandal” panel at PaleyFest in Los Angeles and asked her how much the U.S. presidential campaigns were influencing the show's upcoming episodes.
“What’s interesting is that it wasn’t at all, but then it started catching up with our writing," Rhimes, 46, said. "It got a little scary because we had all kinds of crazy things planned and I keep walking in the room going ‘Well, we can’t do that, because it's real, and people will think we’re stealing from actual life.' Life has surpassed anything that we could come up with.”
Added Rhimes, “There’s some stuff that we’ve come up with that’s already been shot that’s going to happen that is now happening that stuns me."
Rhimes' empire is far-reaching: Aside from "Scandal," her other TV hits include "How To Get Away With Murder" and "Grey's Anatomy. Plus, she's the author of “Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person," released last November. And on the personal front, Rhimes is a mother to three daughters.
Who Will Olivia Pope End Up With?
Actresses from Rhimes' trio of TV shows recently released an ad in support of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The spot was directed by Tony Goldwyn, who plays the president on “Scandal.”
Says Rhimes: “It turned out to be great because I feel like no matter who you are, what walk of life, what you believe, you should be politically active. I mean it’s not about being a Democrat or Republican. You should be out there doing something for your country. So if you believe in something you should be canvassing, you should be registering people to vote, you should be doing something. And this was our way of doing something.”
Asked whether Rhimes had any concern about personally endorsing a presidential candidate when “Scandal” has such a political tone, she replied: “No, because our show is fiction and I should hope that people understand the difference.”
During Spencer's interview, she encouraged Rhimes to reveal upcoming "Scandal" plotlines.
“How long can it go on?” Spencer asked, to which Rhimes replied: “Well, ‘Scandal’ has an end date in my mind.”
But, Rhimes added, “Grey’s is going to go on forever. As long as we can do it because I’m enjoying it,” she said, adding that she and “Grey’s" actress Ellen Pompeo “made a pact that as long as the both of us want to do it we’re going to keep doing it.”
Spencer asked whether there was any such pact between Rhimes and Kerry Washington, who plays “Scandal”’s Olivia Pope.
“Kerry and I have talked about the fact that the story has an end date. We’ve talked about it a long time and we both understand it,” Rhimes said.
So will Olivia end up with one of her two main love interests, President Fitzgerald (Fitz) Grant or Jake Ballard? Rhimes declined to answer.
Rhimes says Fitz was “a fantasy. She never had to actually be a wife she never actually had to be truly emotionally available. She never actually had to do any of the icky stuff that you have to do when you’re in a relationship.”
As for Jake, Rhimes says, “For better or worse like I think he sees all of the dirty parts of [Olivia] and doesn’t care. And I don’t know that she necessarily likes that because then she has to actually commit so maybe that’s harder.”