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Netflix: Shonda Rhimes: ‘I see myself not as one of TV’s most powerful women but as one of TV’s most powerful people’ | USA

In 2005, the world first fell in love with the television show Grey’s Anatomy. Seventeen years later, viewers are still closely following the private and professional lives of the staff at Seattle Grace Hospital. This was how Shonda Rhimes, the creator of the series, started her career in television. At one point, she was producing 70 episodes for free-to-air television a year, while her production company Shondaland has been responsible for hits such as Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. In 2017 she left ABC network, which is owned by Disney, to sign a five-year contract with the streaming platform Netflix. According to US media, the contract was worth more than $100 million (€87 million). In 2021, Netflix renewed the contract for another five years and gave her a juicy pay rise, with the current agreement estimated to be worth $150 million (€130 million).

Shondaland is the production company behind one of Netflix’s biggest successes, Bridgerton, whose second season comes out on March 25. On February 11, Shondaland’s new series Inventing Anna was also released. It is the first show Rhimes has created since Scandal in 2012. Inventing Anna follows the true story of Anna Delvey (real name Anna Sorokin), who posed as a rich German heiress to win favor with New York’s elite and swindle businesses and individuals out of thousands of dollars. Delvey conned $275,000 out of luxury hotels, banks and multimillionaire friends – crimes that landed her in prison. She was released on bail in February 2021 and has had no involvement with the Netflix series. Rhimes talked to EL PAÍS about the new show and her work in television via a video call.

Question. Why did you choose Delvey’s story for your first series as a creator in a decade?

Answer. It came from such a compelling article written by Jessica Pressler [in New York Magazine in 2018] that I was just excited about it from the very moment I read it. You could feel the cinema within it, and the characters and the idea of these women was something I couldn’t get out of my mind.

Q. What was the most challenging part of telling the story of Inventing Anna?

A. It was a fascinating story because we were writing it as it was unfolding. Our writers’ room began while the trial was happening and then we had the pandemic to contend with. So a project that I think we started writing in 2018 didn’t complete filming until 2020 -2021. It took a long time to complete this project: to write something as it is unfolding and then to be stopped by a pandemic and then to have to pick it up again meant that we had a project that went for a long time. The meaning of where the world was changed while we were making it.

Trailer for ‘Inventing Anna’

Q. Ten years have passed since Scandal, the last series you created. Why so long?

A. It sounds like it’s been a lot of time, but you have to think about the fact that the TV shows I created go for a very long time. Scandal lasted for seven years. Grey’s Anatomy was still going. For me, it wasn’t about there being a long time between creating them, it was about having time to create more shows. And when we moved to Netflix, which was really an exciting move for us, the first thing that I did after putting Scandal to bed was focus on what I really knew I wanted to be our first project , which was Bridgerton.

Q. Now that you have developed two shows for Netflix, what do you see as the difference between producing a series for traditional network television and for a streaming platform?

A. I’m enjoying the collaboration that Netflix provides a lot. There was a certain kind of show that you could produce for network television that follows a certain kind of rule. With network television, you are working for a corporation. And with Netflix, you’re working with what almost feels like a start-up. And a start-up has a very ‘can-do’ mentality. There is a great sense of enthusiasm for telling stories and telling new kinds of stories and for being versatile, which I’ve really enjoyed.

Q. Your deal with Netflix was announced nearly five years ago. Bridgerton was released three years later and now your second production for the platform, Inventing Anna, has arrived. It appears you like to take your time to create and develop TV shows, at least in comparison to other producers and creators…

A. I did take my time. I like to do a good job. My goal wasn’t to rush and just throw things out there on the screen. We wanted to get it right and we wanted to make shows that we were really proud of. I’m not saying that other people aren’t doing the same thing at a faster pace, but we were doing it at our own pace.

A scene from the series 'Grey's Anatomy.'
A scene from the series ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’

Q. What do you look for in a story as a producer?

A. I always look for a story that I want to watch. That’s the best barometer I have for whether or not a show is going to be good. Do I want to watch it? Betsy Beers, my producing partner, and I, we’ve always worked from that theory that we make stories that we want to watch. Bridgerton was something we wanted to watch really badly. Inventing Anna is something I knew we wanted to watch.

Q. You are considered one of the most powerful women in television. Does this power weigh on you?

A. Well, I don’t consider myself one of the most powerful women in television, I consider myself one of the most powerful people in television. Because I don’t think there is a difference in how powerful women are and how powerful men are. And I don’t think it weighs on my life at all. It’s my job. I’m lucky that I have this as my job.

Q. I’m sorry for how I phrased my previous question, you’re right. You have been asked a lot about the experience of being a Black woman in the television industry, which is dominated by white men. Do you think you have paved a way for others?

A. I don’t know, I hope that the doors have opened and that there is plenty of room for everybody to be making stories and telling stories. I think it’s very clear that the more people telling stories and the more voices that are telling stories, the better television is doing and the more people are interested in watching those stories. Nobody wants to watch the same kinds of stories all the time.

Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey in a scene from season two of 'Bridgerton'
Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey in a scene from season two of ‘Bridgerton’LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX (LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)

Q. What decisions are you most proud of in your career?

A. I think I am just most proud of being a writer. I think at heart that is what I am, a writer. I’m a producer, there are other jobs that I do, but in my heart, I am always just going to be a writer.

Q. What has Grey’s Anatomy meant for your career? And what lessons have you learned from the show that you have applied to your other creations?

A. I would say that I learned everything from Grey’s Anatomy. I had never worked in television before. Creating Grey’s Anatomy was my first job in television so I learned how to make television by making Grey’s Anatomy. I learned how to run a television show by working on Grey’s Anatomy. I learned everything that I know about TV from Grey’s Anatomy. It amazes me that it is still on the air and it’s still running and it’s still a top show for the network and that fans are still responding to it and that a new generation is still discovering it. Netflix makes it possible for new generations of fans to discover that show on a daily basis, which is so amazing to me. I think we’re on our second generation of fans. We have writers in our writers’ room in Grey’s Anatomy who grew up watching that show. That show will always be incredibly special to me, because it taught me how to do this job.

Q. What do you think is the key to the success of your shows?

A. I have no idea, I really don’t. I can’t begin to tell you why other people like the shows. I’m thrilled that they do. I hope it’s because we tell stories honestly and that we create characters that feel real and are living authentic lives in really complicated situations that make you feel compelled to watch. But I don’t spend my time thinking about why they watch because then I would get worried because I don’t know if there is a formula. I’m just really glad that they do watch.

Q. You are often asked about your success. But have you experienced failure? And if so, what did you learn from it?

A. What’s been really interesting for me is that I’ve been raised to not look at failure as failure. Or to look at it like it’s fine to fail. Failures are simply another way of learning something. I think our biggest problem is when we look at failures as some kind of devastation or some sort of horrible moment. I think you can succeed in some things and you can fail in others and that’s absolutely okay. Those failures are ways of teaching you things and giving you lessons for how to be better and to keep you humble. Nobody’s perfect. And to expect yourself to be is a dangerous road to go down.

Q. Your shows are sometimes referred to as a “guilty pleasure.” What do you think of this concept?

A. I think there is nothing guilty about pleasure. I always find that phrase slightly insulting because it suggests that you shouldn’t be watching them. Our shows are highly compelling, lots of people watch them. I don’t know why you should feel guilty for watching something and I don’t know why pleasure should make you feel guilty. It’s a phrase that people like to use, I haven’t figured it out yet.

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Culture

Top 10 Urban Property Hotspots

Bradford And Blackpool Lead The Pack

Bradford is the top urban property hotspot for the second consecutive quarter, exclusive data from OnTheMarket reveals.

A combination of affordable house prices and growing number of buyers being priced out of nearby Leeds is helping lift Bradford’s property market, OnTheMarket said.

Speaking to This is Money, Robert McCarthy, manager of Hunters estate agency in Bradford, said buyers were attracted to the area because properties are ‘dirt cheap.’

Hotspots: Bradford is the top urban property hotspot for the second consecutive quarter, data reveals
Hotspots: Bradford is the top urban property hotspot for the second consecutive quarter, data reveals

He said: ‘Bradford is seeing a high increase in first time buyers and investors, with properties ranging from around £70,000 for a two bedroomed terrace, £110,000-£130,000 for a three to four bedroom terrace and £120,000 to £240,000 for a three bedroom semi-detached or detached property.

‘This gives a buyer much more for their money, while keeping the mortgage payments lower.’

He added: ‘This week we had a three bedroom semi-detached property go on the market needing some work at £100,000.

‘We we had over 90 requests to view, with some buyers offering before a viewing at well over the asking price.

‘I personally bought a three bedroom semi-detached renovation project in the area with a large garden for £51,000 a few years ago.

‘Now fully renovated, if I was selling to put it on the market it would be around £180,000 to £190,000.’

Mr McCarthy told This is Money that it was possible to buy a one or two bedroom flat in the centre of Bradford for between £20,000 to £60,000.

Urban property hotspots

Blackpool, Rochdale and Plymouth came in second, third and fourth place respectively in OnTheMarket’s latest rankings, with Rochdale climbing from 23rd to third place.

As cities like Manchester become increasingly expensive, Rochdale has ballooned in popularity with buyers.

Andrew Cardwell, manging director of Cardwells Estate Agents, said he wasn’t surprised about Rochdale’s colossal climb in the rankings.

Ample space: The property in Bradford is link detached and perfect for families
Ample space: The property in Bradford is link detached and perfect for families
Time to eat: The dining room in this Bradford property is chic and modern

Time to eat: The dining room in this Bradford property is chic and modern

Outdoor space: the property has a low maintenance garden perfect for entertaining
Outdoor space: the property has a low maintenance garden perfect for entertaining

He said: ‘Earlier this year Rochdale was recognised as one of the most affordable places to buy a property, with an average house price of around £206,000.

‘As well as offering excellent value for money, it’s within easy reach of Manchester city centre and has beautiful countryside.’

Plymouth jumped from 22nd to fourth place in the rankings. It is the only southern location to make it to the top five, OnTheMarket said.

Plymouth is home to HMNB Devonport, the largest naval base in western Europe and the city is brimming with shops and restaurants.

Jacob Tebb, president of OnTheMarket, told This is Money: ‘Property buying decisions continue to be heavily influenced by affordability, according to our latest hotspots index, which reveals that some of the most active or “hottest” areas also offer buyers the best value.”

He added: ‘Overall, the north/south divide is holding firm, with some of the most vibrant and cheapest locations in the north seeing the most heat in terms of housing market activity and only one southern location making it into the top ten.’

Leicester, Stoke-on-Trent, Swindon, Sunderland, Wakefield and Derby also made it to the top ten, while Middlesborough, Burnley and Coventry were just outside the top 10.

Wakefield rose from thirtieth to ninth place, while Birmingham climbed from forty-third to twenty-third place.

Where is the market cooling? Urban property hotspots

OnTheMarket added: ‘Moving in the other direction, demand in Wigan cooled significantly, dropping from second to fifteenth place in our rankings, while Liverpool has fallen from eleventh place in the first quarter to thirtieth.

‘Worthing, one of the few southern locations to be considered a hotspot, fell from twentieth to fifty-third place. The “coolest” hotspot on our list is Brighton.’

The average price of a house in Brighton and Hove was £422,000 in April, according to the Office for National Statistics. Its coastal location and proximity to London makes it popular but expensive with buyers.

Activity in Gloucester, Norwich and Warrington is also cooling, OnTheMarket said.

How is the London property market faring?

OnTheMarket crunched separate data for the London property market. The data suggested there has been ‘less fluctuation nationally and very little movement’, On The Market said.

Within the London-focused rankings, Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Sutton, Redbridge and Newham comprised the top five, followed by Bexley, Hillingdon and Enfield. Hounslow and Croydon also made it to the top 10.

However, Hounslow dropped out of the top five London hotspots in the quarter, while Lambeth, Southwark and Merton all fell four places.

In the last few years, higher mortgage rates have put a dampener on the property market. However, the Bank of England is expected to cut interest rates this summer and some banks and building societies have already started trimming rates on their mortgage deals.

Barclays recently upped the ante in the mortgage price war currently playing out between banks and building societies.

The mortgage lender cut rates by up to 0.33 percentage points across a wide range of deals for both homebuyers and those remortgaging, resulting in several new best-buys.

Halifax also announced it was cutting mortgage rates by up to 0.13 percentage points on selected deals.

What’s on sale now?

1. Three-bed semi-detached house, Bradford, £190,000

This three-bedroom semi-detached house at Hopefield Way, Bierley in Bradford, is on sale via Hunters estate agency for £190,000.

It has a light and airy living room and a spacious kitchen-diner. The property has gardens at the front and rear and comes with one driveway parking space.

Bargain: This three-bed semi-detached home on sale via Hunters could be yours for £190,000
Bargain: This three-bed semi-detached home on sale via Hunters could be yours for £190,000
Chill time: The semi-detached house in Hopefield Way, Bierley, is light and airy inside
Chill time: The semi-detached house in Hopefield Way, Bierley, is light and airy inside
Culinary delights: The Bradford property comes equipped with a spacious kitchen-diner
Culinary delights: The Bradford property comes equipped with a spacious kitchen-diner
Relax: One of the three bedrooms on offer at the property in Bradford
Relax: One of the three bedrooms on offer at the property in Bradford

2. Two-bed flat, Plymouth, £220,000

Plush: This spacious two-bed flat in Plymouth is on sale via Julian Marks for £220,000
Plush: This spacious two-bed flat in Plymouth is on sale via Julian Marks for £220,000
Features: The period features at the two-bed flat in Plymouth are clear to see
Features: The period features at the two-bed flat in Plymouth are clear to see
All the mod cons: The Plymouth flat comes equipped with a newly fitted pristine kitchen
All the mod cons: The Plymouth flat comes equipped with a newly fitted pristine kitchen
Space: The Plymouth flat has a small private garden and communal grounds
Space: The Plymouth flat has a small private garden and communal grounds

This two-bedroom ground floor flat on sale via Julian Marks is set in a substantial end of terrace late Victorian-era property and is listed for £220,000.

The newly fitted kitchen is modern and stylish, and elsewhere charming period features have been retained.

The property has been owned by the same people since 1994 and comes with use of a small private garden, as well as a communal garden.

3. Four-bed house, Rochdale, £325,000

Ideal: This four-bed detached house on sale via Hunters could be yours for £325,000
Ideal: This four-bed detached house on sale via Hunters could be yours for £325,000
Family hub: The living room in this Rochdale property is spacious and calming
Family hub: The living room in this Rochdale property is spacious and calming
Ready to go: The property in Milnrow, Rochdale, is in turn key condition
Ready to go: The property in Milnrow, Rochdale, is in turn key condition

This four-bedroom detached property located in Milnrow, Rochdale, is on sale via Hunters for £325,000.

The house is in mint condition throughout with light and airy rooms. A family could move straight into this home without needing to lift a finger. There’s off-road parking, a single garage and gardens to the front and rear.

It’s an ideal property for a growing family.


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Culture

Assessing Property Size: What Square Footage Can You Get With The Average UK House Price In Your Area?

Assessing Property Size In The UK

In the United Kingdom, there is a prevailing tendency to gauge the size of residences based on the number of bedrooms rather than square footage. In fact, research indicates that three out of five individuals are unaware of the square footage of their property.

However, a comprehensive analysis conducted by ‘Savills’ reveals significant variations in property sizes throughout the country. For instance, with the average property price standing at £340,837, this amount would typically afford a studio flat spanning 551 square feet in London, according to the prominent estate agency.

Conversely, in the North East region, the same sum would secure a spacious five-bedroom house measuring 1,955 square feet, nearly four times the size of a comparable property in London.

Best value: Heading to the North East of England is where buyers will get the most from their money

In Scotland, the median house price equates to a sizable investment capable of procuring a generous four-bedroom residence spanning 1,743 square feet. Conversely, in Wales, Yorkshire & The Humber, and the North West, this sum affords a slightly smaller four-bedroom dwelling of approximately 1,500 square feet, while in the East and West Midlands, it accommodates a 1,300 square foot home. In stark contrast, within the South West, £340,837 secures a modest 1,000 square foot property, and in the East, an even more confined 928 square feet.

London presents the most challenging market, where this budget offers the least purchasing power. Following closely, the South East allows for 825 square feet of space or a medium-sized two-bedroom dwelling. Lucian Cook, head of residential research at Savills, emphasizes the profound disparity in purchasing potential across Britain, ranging from compact studio flats in London to spacious four or five-bedroom residences in parts of North East England.

While square footage serves as a critical metric, with a significant portion of Britons unfamiliar with their property’s dimensions, the number of bedrooms remains a traditional indicator of size. Personal preferences, such as a preference for larger kitchens, may influence property selection. For those prioritizing ample space, Easington, County Durham, offers a substantial 2,858 square foot, five-bedroom home, while Rhondda, Wales, and Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Scotland, provide 2,625 and 2,551 square feet, respectively. Conversely, in St Albans, Hertfordshire, £340,837 secures a mere 547 square feet, equivalent to a one-bedroom flat.

The disparity continues in central London, where purchasing power diminishes considerably. In Kensington, the budget accommodates a mere 220 square feet, contrasting with the slightly more spacious 236 square feet in Westminster. Conversely, in Dagenham, the same investment translates to 770 square feet. Three properties currently listed on Rightmove exemplify the diversity within this price range across the UK market.

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

South of the river: This semi-detached house is located near to three different train stations

2. Lewisham: One-bed house, £345,000

This one-bedroom property in Lewisham, South London, is on the market for £345,000.

The semi-detached house is set over two floors, and has a private patio.

The property is located near to bus links and amenities, as well as Catford train station.

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

Edinburgh fringe: This three-bed property is located on the edge of the city, near to the town of Musselburgh

3. Edinburgh: Three-bed house, £350,000

This three-bedroom detached house in Edinburgh could be yours for £350,000.

The house, which has a two-car driveway, boasts a large kitchen diner, and is within easy reach of Newcriaghall train station.


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Culture

Top 10 Florida Cities Dominate The Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

Top 10 Florida Cities And Business Startup Landscape In The U.S.

The Voice Of EU | Florida emerges as a hub for entrepreneurial endeavors, with its vibrant business landscape and conducive environment for startups. Renowned for its low corporate tax rates and a high concentration of investors, the Sunshine State beckons aspiring entrepreneurs seeking fertile grounds to launch and grow their businesses.

In a recent report by WalletHub, Florida cities dominate the list of the top 10 best destinations for business startups, showcasing their resilience and economic vitality amidst challenging times.

From Orlando’s thriving market to Miami’s dynamic ecosystem, each city offers unique advantages and opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Let’s delve into the chronologically listed cities that exemplify Florida’s prominence in the business startup arena.

1. Orlando Leads the Way: Orlando emerges as the most attractive market in the U.S. for business startups, with a remarkable surge in small business establishments. WalletHub’s latest report highlights Orlando’s robust ecosystem, fostering the survival and growth of startups, buoyed by a high concentration of investors per capita.

2. Tampa Takes Second Place: Securing the second spot among large cities for business startups, Tampa boasts a favorable business environment attributed to its low corporate tax rates. The city’s ample investor presence further fortifies startups, providing essential resources for navigating the initial years of business operations.

3. Charlotte’s Diverse Industries: Claiming the third position, Charlotte stands out for its diverse industrial landscape and exceptionally low corporate taxes, enticing companies to reinvest capital. This conducive environment propels entrepreneurial endeavors, contributing to sustained economic growth.

4. Jacksonville’s Rising Profile: Jacksonville emerges as a promising destination for startups, bolstered by its favorable business climate. The city’s strategic positioning fosters entrepreneurial ventures, attracting aspiring business owners seeking growth opportunities.

5. Miami’s Entrepreneurial Hub: Miami solidifies its position as a thriving entrepreneurial hub, attracting businesses with its dynamic ecosystem and strategic location. The city’s vibrant startup culture and supportive infrastructure make it an appealing destination for ventures of all sizes.

6. Atlanta’s Economic Momentum: Atlanta’s ascent in the business startup landscape underscores its economic momentum and favorable business conditions. The city’s strategic advantages and conducive policies provide a fertile ground for entrepreneurial ventures to flourish.

7. Fort Worth’s Business-Friendly Environment: Fort Worth emerges as a prime destination for startups, offering a business-friendly environment characterized by low corporate taxes. The city’s supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives facilitate the growth and success of new ventures.

8. Austin’s Innovation Hub: Austin cements its status as an innovation hub, attracting startups with its vibrant entrepreneurial community and progressive policies. The city’s robust infrastructure and access to capital foster a conducive environment for business growth and innovation.

9. Durham’s Emerging Entrepreneurship Scene: Durham’s burgeoning entrepreneurship scene positions it as a promising destination for startups, fueled by its supportive ecosystem and strategic initiatives. The city’s collaborative culture and access to resources contribute to the success of new ventures.

10. St. Petersburg’s Thriving Business Community: St. Petersburg rounds off the top 10 with its thriving business community and supportive ecosystem for startups. The city’s strategic advantages and favorable business climate make it an attractive destination for entrepreneurial endeavors.

Despite unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Great Resignation, and high inflation, these top Florida cities remain resilient and well-equipped to overcome obstacles, offering promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs alike.


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