‘Scandal’ Showrunner Shonda Rhimes on Peabody Win: ‘A Complete Shock’

Shonda Rhimes Headshot - P 2014

The prolific producer also sees the recognition as vindication for a show that many have written off as a guilty pleasure.

PBS, Tom Brokaw and … Scandal? The soapy ABC political thriller was a surprise among the 46 winners of the prestigious Peabody Award revealed April 2 by the University of Georgia.

The series, starring Kerry Washingtonand inspired by the life of Washington fixer Judy Smith, was called “part West Wingand part Dynasty” by the awards committee, referring to its storylines involving election rigging, assassination attempts and adulterous affairs by both the U.S. president and first lady.

“It’s the dark underbelly of Washington that we all desperately hope doesn’t exist but probably does in some way,” she says with a laugh. “I don’t think the show is a soap opera at all. It’s interesting when people say, ‘Olivia loves Fitz, but he’s not a good guy.’ I’m like, ‘You need to look around the landscape because they’re all murderers!’ ”