tv The David Rubenstein Show Peer to Peer Conversations Bloomberg August 11, 2021 9:00pm-9:31pm EDT
>> weekly from a leadership team, we are making sure we understand the semi conductor situation and allocating chips to our highest demand to take care of our customers. ♪ ♪ david: this is my kitchen table and it is also my filing system. over much of the past three decades, i have been an investor. the highest calling of man time is private equity. then i started interviewing. i have learned from doing my interviews how leaders make it to the top. i asked him how much he wanted. he said 250. i didn't negotiate. i did no due diligence. i have something i would like to sell. how they stay there. you don't feel inadequate now
because you are only the second wealthiest man in the world, is that right westmark -- right? david: one of the most successful people on television has been shot of. she has taken those considerable skills to not what's. i got to meet her as a member of the board of trustees of the kennedy center. she was an indispensable member. she is a great writer, a great person, and she is taken up the cello. watch out yo-yo ma. you shopped the entertainment world a few years ago when you said you were leaving abc even though you're mostly their biggest tropic -- profit source and removing to netflix, not a television production company but a streaming television company. why did you do that? ms. rhimes: i had been looking at what was going on in the industry. tell is a visual -- television ratings had been lowering. people were watching netflix. i knew what i was watching.
i knew what was exciting me and what felt like the excited programming. i also was looking for a certain kind of freedom. i had been making a very particular brand of television for abc. shondaland was a brand i was proud of but i wanted to spread my wings and do more. this was an opportunity to do so. david: when everybody -- when somebody is famous and they move in a baseball player or a football play or go to a different team or somebody tries something different, people are always saying this person isn't as good as the reputation. they are going to flop and there is a lot of i would say in hollywood people that do not like people who are too successful. there wishing secretly they will flop. you did not flop. you had an incredible hit. your first show, bridger 10, was the most successful opening show of anything on netflix ever. >> who is there and love -- all
is fair and love and war. david: were you worried that night whether it would be a success or did you not panic? ms. rhimes: it is interesting. i was not scared about the success of the show. that is not my job. i understand that. i was happy by then because netflix was already happy. everybody really like the show. everybody was pleased with that. i wasn't worried about numbers or how i was going to do. one thing i liked about netflix is everybody told me not to worry about the numbers. ratings do not matter on netflix. of course, they do, but that was the thought that was had. i was not worried about that. i was much more nervous when we were editing the show and seeing what the product was. i wanted to see what the show turned out. once i knew the shows were built -- good, and i wanted to watch them and felt good about them and felt they could be exciting and it turned out they felt the same way, i felt fine. i don't think i paid attention
the first day. david: you started another show coming on netflix called inventing anna, which is about a woman who pretended she was a wealthy german era. it turns out she was not. why did you think that would be attractive for a series? ms. rhimes: i was fascinated by the story because i am fastened by journalism and i love the journalism that went with uncovering the story. anna is also an interesting character to me. she is truly a genius and i think if she were a guy and had pulled it off, people went up -- would've applauded her. i think because she has a woman and believed she could do this, it felt like an affront to a lot of people. she was labeled in a lot of ways i don't think we label men. i like this idea of the woman with ambition and no place to cut it. -- put it. it fell profound to me and where we are now. david: when you're writing
something, it is a solitary thing. how do you do writing but also production and other things? how do you concentrate and have them out last time alone to write? --how do you concentrate and have the time to write? ms. rhimes: it can beast -- be communal. your job is to help people through writing the draft of the show you have created, which is both amazing and fun and very difficult. with the pandemic did is make the process a lot harder. for me, writing is a very solitary experience and imf asked writer when i have the space and time to do so. i feel like i am much more naturally and introvert and being the person who writes that stuff is much easier for me and the other parts of it, which are the public parts or the producing and explaining to everybody what has to happen parts. finding the balance has been
much easier than i thought. david: during covid, i assume you worked from home more than your office. was it easier to write a show or create a show from home with three young daughters running around? ms. rhimes: i found, being at home could be both revelatory in the sense that i would always feel like there was so much work to be done that i had to be standing right in front of everybody to be doing it. i discovered no, a, a lot of people got more freedom to do things i didn't need to control, and b, i got more writing done being at home. david: will you spend more time at home now? will you say you can't wait to get back to your office? ms. rhimes: i will spend more time at home. i get a lot more writing done here. there is not as many interruptions. i have discovered how little i needed on set i used to joke i'm
standing on a soundstage. i'm the only person who is not working because i am writing or editing wherever they are shooting. i am the only person not doing a job. to me, i think there is a lot more to do if i am at home, which i never would've believed before. it is the feeling of being necessary everywhere and discovering you are not necessary everywhere but the places where you can be necessary, you can make a difference if you focus on those. david: the events that led to the murder of george floyd. how did you respond to that? ms. rhimes: i felt nothing but rage and frustration. i also felt real dismay that a lot of people use the event to discover that racial -- racism existed finally. ♪ >> david rubenstein peer-to-peer conversations is sponsored by
david: let's talk about your background. you grew up in a suburb of chicago. you were the youngest of six children. is that right? ms. rhimes: correct. david: i guess you get a lot of hand-me-down clothes as the youngest of six. do your parents pay attention by the youngest of six? are they gone by then? ms. rhimes: i didn't get a lot of hand-me-down clothes and my parents were very focused on us, which was delightful for me. my parents are educators so i think for them, they were very intensely focused on making sure that we had what we needed. my mother -- i always said if we were poor, i did not know it because my mother made all of our close and they were fantastic looking and there was a lot of focus on us. my mother stayed at home along time for us which is a big sacrifice for somebody with her intelligence and her interest in work. she made sure we were well-placed in the world and
ready to go and be who we were supposed to be. david: you grew up and went to college. how did you put -- picked dartmouth? it is fairly isolated, much different than chicago. ms. rhimes: it is interesting. i went on a college tour and dartmouth was one of the places we visited. honestly, i fell in love with the place when i got there. it was beautiful. it was middle of nowhere. it felt very much to meet like what college was supposed to be. every person i met there has been friendly and had something important to say about it. very different from a lot of colleges i went to. it was surprisingly diverse at the time. they had what might night seemed like a member now but 80% of the students were students of color. it felt very welcoming. i thought this is the place for me. i absolutely love my time there. david: when he graduated, you said i'm going to go into something important like private equity or investment banking. 4 [laughter] ms. rhimes: [laughter]
i was lost for a little while when i got out of college because i really wanted to be a writer. i wanted to be toni morrison when i grow up but i did not know how to do that and i also, you know, my parents had sacrificed a lot financially for me to go to the school and i did not want to be a disappointment. so i got a job in advertising for a little bit and then i read an article that said it was harder to get into usc film school than harvard law school. i thought, well, my parents cannot fault that because it is graduate school. i applied to usc film school. i told my parents i can teach. as a professor. my parents thought she is right. she can teach. it felt like something real for them. david: you got a masters at usc and then started writing on the side during the daytime or evenings or how were you doing that? ms. rhimes: yeah. i got a job at a place that help the mentally ill and homeless. i was an administrative consistent -- assistant and at
night, i would write my scripts. i had an agent or lawyer of the time whenever i got out of film school, who think -- hoping something would happen to them. i sold a script. that script basically changed my life. david: had that script not solve -- sold, it would you still be in advertising? what would you be doing? ms. rhimes: a month before it sold, i had applied for the postbaccalaureate year for medical store debt school at bryn mawr and i was going to do that -- medical school at bryn mawr and i was going to go to medical school because i thought i could not starve this way. i'm going to be a doctor. luckily, i did not do that. david: the medical profession's loss is the creative writing communities game -- gain. ms. rhimes: i hope maybe the writing about doctors inspired young women to be doctors. that's how i like to think of it. david: most successful hollywood
people as producers or writers have been white men appear to norman layer -- white men. norman lear is a classic example. you are not a man when you came along and you were not white. was there discrimination against you that you felt palpably or was it subtle? ms. rhimes: that is a difficult question to answer and i say that because i do not know what it feels like to be a white man. i do not know how people were treating me -- white men at the time. i know how i have always been treated. i was, you know, raise very clearly by my parents to be a person who did not look at things as obstacles. when anybody treated me in a way that was not 100% respectful, i was taught that was their problem and they need to be put in their place and i should move forward. i am sure that i experienced a
lot of things that were not probably what other people experience. i just closed -- chose not to be defeated by them or bothered by them. some of them i didn't bother to notice. david: given how prominent you are in the entertainment world, do you feel discrimination at any point now or do you not? ms. rhimes: you know, there is an insularity that comes with being in a person -- certain position in hollywood but that does not change that if somebody does not who you are -- know the you are, they see you as just another person of color. the racism in this country is the racism in this country, unfortunately. david: the events that led to the murder of george floyd it. obviously, they affected our country dramatically and certainly the african-american community, particularly. how did you respond to that? you are a prominent african-american figure in the country. do you feel you had an obligation to speak out or do more?
how did it change your life? ms. rhimes: i mean, i think the entire george floyd situation did a couple things. one, obviously, like anybody else, i felt nothing but rage and frustration. but i also felt real dismay that a lot of people use that event to finally discover that racism is the -- exists. that was disturbing to me that it took that being that horrific for people to go, wait, there is inequality? that was upsetting for me. i don't know that i felt like i had a particular obligation to do anything more than any other person did. a lot of people were marching. a lot of people were protesting. i think the beauty of what happened was how many average citizens stood up and did something. i think the power of that moment
will hopefully continue to the -- be the power that moment. i feel like whenever i am asked this question, i never quite know how to walk the line between saying, here's what i did and what i think is important because i feel like it might let people off the hook because it also suggests that racism is a problem of people of color and really, i feel like i always want to say, that is not what i did to work on the drawer flood problem. it is not what i did to work on racism. it is a white people problem. what a right people doing to solve it? that is the big question. ♪ david: public companies often focus on shareholders. they are about other stakeholders -- employees, communities, and so forth. your own company, do you focus
on having some social responsibility as well? ms. rhimes: we've been struggling with a concept right now. we do not sell activism. we sell entertainment. if we wake somebody up to that idea that they have a responsibility or that there is a social justice issue they can be involved in, that is a wonderful side effect. but i also know that given just who we are as a company and the kinds of stories we tell him a kind of work we do, there is other aspects of us that feel important to how we, as a company, engage with the area around us. i feel like it is important to create a world in which we make pathways for other people to have opportunity in this industry. and figuring out philanthropic ways that make sense for us as a company. that feel right for who we are. david: do you think the company should perhaps have a role in commenting on climate change or rasul discrimination?
-- racial discover nation? ms. rhimes: i feel like i spend my money and time and energy on companies that share the values i share. and i am not interested in spending my money and time on companies that do not share them. that means i actively do not share those values. i don't -- i've been taking about companies that remain neutral because i think people have the right to remain neutral. and as the ones going in opposite directions -- is the ones that are actively working against women's rights or the climate, i am concerned about them. [no audio] ♪ david: let's talk about
shondaland. it is quite an entertainment complex. let's ghost how -- through how you are able to go that -- through how you are able to do that. you have a podcast. were doing it with i heart media. ms. rhimes: we have a podcast division called shondaland audio. the great thing is i am lucky to have an amazing people who work with me on shondaland. sandy bailey, who runs our dinner -- digital vision, said we could have a cop does podcast division and it could be powerful. she is over cnet and has come up with great shows. part of the beauty of it it's you can take somebody and showcase her with a podcast about parenting, which has become one of the most popular podcast on itunes and our heart media -- our heart media. -- i heart media.
we can take a show like bridgerton, create a podcast about it, that is doing really well and do behind-the-scenes video footage, take it imported on her website, shondaland.com, and have a nice synergy going. that has been imported to me, to create a world in which -- important to me, to create a world in which all of the aspects of our shows and the people in the shondaland family and find a place to be creative and exist in one spot. david: you have a partnership as well with -- designed to let people know more about the waiter hair might --waiter hair might be worn. explain your views on hair for african-american women and children. ms. rhimes: the partnership has been long-standing. one thing i've always loved about the they have been very positive and assertive about the idea that beauty is defined in all forms. every skin, every body, every kind of woman is their own
definition of beauty. they have been instrumental in working on the crown act, which is a law passed in i can't remember how many states that says you can't be discriminated against because of the way you wear your hair. that has been an issue for a lot of people of color. here the stories of the basketball kid who gets his dreads cut off before he can play or somebody who is fired because of the way they waiter hair -- wear their hair. we try so hard to police the way people look because it doesn't look like the way somebody feels they should look and that is a real bias in this country. the idea that we could create the crown act allows people to embrace who they are culturally and wear their hair the way they need to wear it and be the way they need to be versus trying to achieve a standard based on a white, european-centric idea of
what people should look like. david: you have a book, as well. that was reflecting the fact that one of your sisters had told you you always said no. you decided one year, you would say yes to speaking engagements, graduation, commencement speeches, and so forth. what made you decide to say yes that one year and are you happy you did so? ms. rhimes: [sigh] she said you never say yes to anything. all these ended -- invitations i've got. that year, i was on the board of the kennedy center and i went to the kennedy center office and was told, not asked, i would sit in the box with president mss obama. for the honors. -- president and mrs. obama. for the honors. i had a wonderful time and it was a lovely evening and i realized on the way home
somebody had asked me if i wanted to sit in the box, i would've said no. i would've said no because i would have been too nervous or afraid or thought, why would they want to sit with me? it was that thing of not having the confidence or the nerves to do so. i would have turned it down because it would've been too stressful to come up with the notion that i could say yes. that really stunned me, that i would've missed an amazing experience and opportunity just because i was too nervous to do something. i decided i would spend a year saying yes to everything that scared me. the first thing i was asked to do was give a convention -- commencement speech at dartmouth. i was a successful woman, a single mother of three and was asked the question, how do you do it all? i'm going to answer that question with honesty here for you now. somebody has to tell you the truth. shonda how do you do it all? ,the answer is this. i don't. david: you pointed out in your
book you have adopted three young girls. is that more challenging than writing scripts or producing shows or is it much easier? ms. rhimes: [laughter] i always used to say i have three daughters and 47 actors or something like that when i have three shows. no, i feel like having children is far more fulfilling than any script or job or show. it is far more fun also. i think the older you get in more practice you get, the more fulfilling and easy it becomes. with your first child, you are afraid -- my mother said you're afraid you're going to kill the baby. the last child, you pop the baby downstairs and say she will be fine. children are such doors to reality, they keep you grounded and keep you focused on the present, really. that is the best thing ever. david: when you are raising
children in hollywood, which i've have not done but i know, when you are wealthy and famous, it can be a challenge. how do you keep your children grounded because they go out and say my mother is a famous person choir -- famous person? how do you avoid that? ms. rhimes: my oldest daughter for the longest time thought i ran a hospital. i kilter insulated from -- kept her insulated from the idea that i had a job at all. my youngest daughter, it is a little bit harder at this point i try hard to raise my kids the same way i was raised. the same values. i'm from the midwest. i believe you don't throw things away. that is not valued but i try to stick to the way i grew up and i feel kind of lucky i am surrounded by so many people who feel that way. david: what do you do for rest and relaxation? you must be -- get a little bit of it. ms. rhimes: i recently bought a
cello. probably because i saw yo-yo ma play the cello and got really inspired by his bok series and have been an -- bach series and have been obsessed with tempora one time. and spent 15 years so i went out and started taking cello lessons and bought myself a cello. that is my way of relaxing. it seems -- i'm terrible at it but it is wildly relaxing to try something new in that way and spend that concentrated time doing something different. david: why don't you come to the kennedy center and play a duet with yo-yo ma? he could arrange it. ms. rhimes: i think poor yo-yo would be very horrified by what was coming out of my cello. david: what new worlds are there for you to conquer in the detainment world? you are at the top of the profession. is there something else you inspired to do that you have not done yet? ms. rhimes: i'm really enjoying
my life at netflix. i think we have just gotten started there. i cannot wait to keep building on that. and enjoy that, making new shows there, working and building on our podcast world. enjoying those worlds. ♪ [speaking foreign language] -- ♪ >> david rubenstein peer-to-peer conversations is sponsored by wells fargo, helping our clients its for a purpose in the communities we serve. the communities we serve.
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