'Bridgerton' success made it challenging for creator to execute vision – Insider

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When Chris Van Dusen created season one of the Regency-era romance “Bridgerton,” the showrunner did not foresee the record-breaking response to the series’ December 2020 premiere.
“I had a very clear vision for season one, and I was given the freedom to follow through on it,” Van Dusen told Entertainment Weekly’s Maureen Lee Lenker on Thursday, continuing, “Then the show came out and started to take hold of the world.”
The sizzling romp through 19th-century London drew a global audience of 82 million households in its first four weeks on Netflix , reigning as its most-watched original series in history (that is, until “Squid Game” surpassed it).
The “Bridgerton” craze snowballed outside of the platform as well. Van Dusen’s fresh take on Regency society inspired a Grammy-nominated musical, led to a “Saturday Night Live” parody sketch, and prompted a sharp spike in sales of Julia Quinn’s novels, which serve as source material for the show. And, of course, the “Bridgerton” cast members ascended to superstardom overnight. 
“It was all so surreal. Staying true to my original vision [for season 2] became much more challenging, but it made me drill down even more,” Van Dusen, previously a writer and producer for “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” explained.
“The main theme of season two is head versus heart,” Van Dusen told EW. 
The shift away from season one’s central couple, Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page), along with Page’s post-season one departure came as a surprise to many fans, but not to Van Dusen.
“It was always my intention to follow a different Bridgerton sibling for every season,” he said. 
“Bridgerton” appeared on Netflix as part of Shonda Rhimes’ $100 million deal with the company. Thanks to the show’s astronomical popularity, Netflix has already renewed the series through season four and announced a Rhimes-written and produced spinoff focused on Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel).
Jess Brownell, a Shondaland writer previously attached to TV shows such as “Scandal” and “Inventing Anna,” will take over for Van Dusen as the showrunner on seasons three and four. 
Following the renewal announcement, Van Dusen tweeted: “I have my sights set on a few new stories to tell. To that end, I’ll continue as showrunner — writing and producing season two of Bridgerton — and I look forward to seeing Jess Brownell continue the magic in seasons three and four.”
Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, is a Netflix board member.
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