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People in the News

Shonda Rhimes, iHeartMedia strike 3-year podcast deal

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Television powerhouse Shonda Rhimes is moving aggressively into the burgeoning podcast world.

Rhimes’ company, Shondaland, said Wednesday that she will serve as executive producer for podcasts to be distributed by iHeartMedia.

Shondaland says it signed a three-year podcast deal with iHeartMedia and is launching Shondaland Audio.

In a statement, Rhimes said she welcomed the opportunity to expand Shondaland’s storytelling into the growing medium, which she praised for a unique sense of boldness and intimacy.

Shondaland has already ventured into podcasting with the weekly “Katie’s Crib,” in which actress Katie Lowe discusses motherhood with guests. New episodes will be distributed by iHeartMedia in 2020.

Rhimes, who became an ABC network mainstay with hits including “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” signed an exclusive deal with Netflix in 2017 to produce new programs for the streaming service.

The iHeartMedia company, which operates more than 850 radio stations and the iHeartRadio digital service, distributes podcasts on all major podcasting platforms including the iHeartPodcast Network.

Ken Burns is behind new grant for film on O’Connor

NEW YORK (AP) — Ken Burns is inaugurating an annual prize for makers of historical films with a $200,000 grant to the people behind an upcoming movie about the late Georgia writer Flannery O’Connor.

The movie “Flannery” shows the influence behind the novelist and short story writer’s work, as she lived in a rural Southern town and struggled with lupus. The author of “A Good Man is Hard to Find” died in 1964 at age 39.

Burns, the noted documentarian, said he knows from experience the expense involved in getting projects like these done.

The film by Elizabeth Coffman and Mark Bosco “made me go out and buy her books,” he said.

Burns’ nonprofit Better Angels Society is collaborating with philanthropists Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine and the Library of Congress in funding the award. Judges sifted through some 80 entrants, he said.

“We were stunned not only by the volume of submissions but by the quality of them,” he said.

A $50,000 grant is being given to the makers of “Mae West: Dirty Blonde,” the awards’ runner-up, with four $25,000 grants given to other finalists.

The annual prize will recognize a documentary maker who uses original research and a compelling narrative to tell stories that touch on some aspect of American history.