Transcript for The Leading Ladies of Shondaland
Primetime network television is a battlefield. And one of the fiercest and most successful gladiators is Shonda rhimes, the brains be hihind scandal, grey's anatomy and how to get away with murder. On this premiere night, "Gma's" robin Roberts goes on the set and behind the scenes with the stars of these three shows. Reporter: Oh. Welcome. Reporter: Pope and associates. From the walk to those jaw-dropping outfits, and, of course, that catch phrase we've all come to love. It's handled. Reporter: Kerry Washington is one of the hottest stars on TV. So, this is the beautiful office. Reporter: And "Nightline" was granted rare access backstage with the star at the studios of shondaland, where all the drama comes to life. This is your office. Olivia pope's office. This is the couch where you see me interrogate lots of new clients. Do you want your career to survive? Of course I do. Then let me do my job. Reporter: Do you get excited when it's a new season, first day of school again? Absolutely. I mean, we get excited for every single episode. But particularly because, you know, we have the big cliff hangers in our season finales. So, we were all waiting with baited breath to know where Olivia's plane was going. This is where Olivia pope lives. Reporter: It's beautiful! It is beautiful. Reporter: Scandal super fans call themselves gladiators. Escaping into the fast-paced underworld of presidential politics. The gladiator thing is something that particularly warms my heart because we didn't come up with that phrase. That wasn't something that the cast came up with or that ABC marketing or publicity came up with. That was a fan on Twitter very early on who loved the pilot and loved that scene. I want to be a gladiator. And they said, can we call ourselves gladiators? Yeah, of course, and it just took off. Reporter: It did. And people think of themselves, if they could be here, on this couch, with the wine. With the wine. Reporter: Sitting right here and talking to you and hoping you can handle it, fix it, all those things. I mean, I'm just living a fantasy right now. Another fantasy in those one of a kind Olivia pope outfits. Like this gorgeous gold gown. The trendy trench coat. And that white hat. Kerry recently announced a launch of her new Olivia pope-inspired scandal collection for the limited. You look stunning. Reporter: And this season, Kerry's jug Ming an entirely new role, too. Go home! I'm fine. Now, you're a Mon, so, this is the first time you have to go to work. That's true. Reporter: Is it different for you? To be able to work with and for Shonda is off is privilege, because she is a working mom. She's got three shows and three kids. To be part of a community of artists of working moms, Ellen Pompeo is a working mom. There's a lot of working parents, dads and moms, and it's sort of a -- it's just a beautiful extension of that sense of family. We're all a family. Reporter: TV titan Shonda rhimes has taken over Thursdays on ABC. With the historic trifecta of scandal, grey's anatomy and the brand new show -- How to get away with murder. Reporter: Just a couple of stages down from scandal, we caught up with the newest member of that shondaland family, viola Davis. Come into my abode. Reporter: I like what you've done with the place. She plays tough as nails criminal law professor Anna lease Keating. Consider this your immunity idol. Reporter: She's a far cry from the downtrodden characters viola said she's typically cast in, like her Oscar nominated roles in "The help." You is kind, you is smart, you can important. Reporter: And "Doubt." What do you want from me? Reporter: Oh, my goodness. So, what is it like, TV? Huh? TV is a marathon. It's a marathon. But I'm enjoying just developing this character. Reporter: Must be exciting for you. I'm sitting with her and I'm enjoying her power, her level of manipulation, you know, her sexiness. I have a husband and a lover. Oh, my god. Get out. Reporter: Is there competition between your movies, TV, acting -- I don't feel any competition. I know that there's a level of film being better than TV and theater being, like, I'm the lower rung of the ladder, but I think it's the material. It's the material that makes me feel like I'm not the third girl from the left, up know? Reporter: It was peter Nowak a former writer on scandal and grey's, who originally pitched the concept. How did you come up with this idea? I've always liked the idea of Normal people in extreme circumstances. And when you think of trying to create something loud to cut through all the clutter of TV, this seemed very exciting to me. And in kind of a sick way. The body stays where it is. The body gets us caught. Reporter: Inside this law school classroom. Think, Mr. Gibbons. Reporter: Cut throat competition to become number one. Also referred to as intent was to kill Mr. Kaufman. That's right. Reporter: The series that started it all for Shonda rhimes was grey's anatomy. And Ellen Pompeo has been her leading lady since day one. I can't believe it's been 11 seasons. You can't? We can't. We can't, either. Reporter: Betsy beard, executive producer of all three shows alongside Shonda. It's the first child and there is nothing like the first child and the first child has done everything they can to help support each child that's come along. Reporter: Right. The characters keep changing and developing. Cristina, I think Derek is dead. The writing stays sharp and the characters stay sharp and you guys keep bringing this amazing new energy every season and every season feels different. I don't want to fail again. Let's make you a doctor. Reporter: You have an I.D. For me? Ellen takes me to that iconic pop rating room. It's been in this thing the whole time. Get it in here and see if we can save it. Reporter: What do you think it is about this show that people just can't get enough of? Everybody's been to a hospital. The hospital is ripe with emotion. And there's a situation for drama. And that makes for good writing. Good acting. Consider it handled. Reporter: For Kerry Washington, it's the chemistry with her scandal cast mate that makes the intense magic come to life. To be in such an intense show, you guys have a blast with one another. I think that's part of why we can dive into all of the intensity, is because we have a lot of fun. Yesterday, we work ed an 18-hour day, but on the weekend, we actually get together to watch the episodes and spend more time together. We really, really love each other.
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