EXCLUSIVE: The Bridgerton-verse is expanding. Following the recent renewals for a total of three more seasons of the hugely popular series, Netflix and Shondaland will add a second show to the franchise, a limited prequel series based on the origins of Queen Charlotte, which will be written by Shonda Rhimes.
Additionally, Shondaland veteran Jess Brownell, who has worked on the first two seasons of Bridgerton, the upcoming Rhimes Netflix series Inventing Anna and Rhimes’ Scandal, has been named showrunner for Seasons 3 and 4 of the Regency era drama, Netflix’s biggest series ever that attracted 82 million households around the world in its first four weeks. Brownell will take the baton from Bridgerton creator/executive producer Chris Van Dusen, who served as showrunner for Season 1 and is also running Season 2, now in production in the U.K.
The Queen Charlotte limited series will center on the rise and love life of a young Queen Charlotte, the reimagined character added to the Bridgerton series that was not in Julia Quinn’s novels the show is based on. Played by Golda Rosheuvel, Queen Charlotte quickly became a fan favorite and one of Bridgerton‘s breakout characters. The spinoff will also tell the stories of young Violet Bridgerton and Lady Danbury. Rhimes will write the series and serve as executive producer alongside Betsy Beers and Tom Verica.
“Many viewers had never known the story of Queen Charlotte before Bridgerton brought her to the world, and I’m thrilled this new series will further expand her story and the world of Bridgerton,” said Netflix head of global TV Bela Bajaria. “Shonda and her team are thoughtfully building out the Bridgerton universe so they can keep delivering for the fans with the same quality and style they love. And by planning and prepping all the upcoming seasons now, we also hope to keep up a pace that will keep even the most insatiable viewers totally fulfilled.”
Bringing Brownell as showrunner for Seasons 3 and 4, and Rhimes herself taking on the Queen Charlotte offshoot will allow Shondaland to rapidly scale the Bridgerton universe, with Brownell focusing on breaking Seasons 3 and 4 while Van Dusen oversees filming and post-production for Season 2, which focuses on Anthony Bridgerton’s quest for love.
“As we continue to expand the world of Bridgerton, we now have the opportunity to devote even more of the Shondaland fold to the Bridgerton-verse,” Shondaland CEO Shonda Rhimes said. “We’ve worked with Jess Brownell for over a decade and have long wanted to find the right project to place in her hands. When it came time to pass the baton, I knew this unique voice was vital to the future of the show.”
Added Shondaland’s Betsy Beers, “Chris has been part of the Shondaland team for his entire entertainment career, and Shonda and I are very proud of all he contributed to help create this series for fans around the globe.”
Because Shondaland is planning Bridgerton through Season 4, in line with the current renewals, it is not clear whether Van Dusen may return to the show in some capacity if it goes to eight seasons following Julia Quinn’s blueprint of eight novels. His original deal with Netflix (through Shondaland) was coming up this month, May. There had been a lot of interest among studios and other streamers in signing him, so he will likely be exploring for after he wraps Season 2 of Bridgerton.
”With Bridgerton, I set out to make the period show I always wanted to see. I never could’ve anticipated how much the rest of the world also wanted to see it,” van Dusen said. “I’m deeply proud of this remarkable cast and incredible crew, and I’m so grateful for the enduring support of Shonda, who I’ve worked alongside for 17 years. Shondaland is where I learned how to make TV, craft incredibly complex characters and how to tell stories. And while it’s been an incredible journey, 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 look forward to seeing Jess continue the magic in seasons three and four. I’d also like to thank Julia Quinn and her passionate fans — for embracing my vision for bringing these beloved books to the screen. See you in Grosvenor Square!”
Jess Brownell, 13-year Shondaland veteran writer/producer, has worked on several Shondaland series, including Bridgerton
seasons 1 and 2, and the anticipated upcoming series Inventing Anna. Additionally, Brownell co-hosted Shondaland Audio’s “Bridgerton: The Official Podcast”, giving fans more insight into the makings of the reimagined world. Most recently Brownell has served as a writer on Bridgerton S1, writer/producer on Bridgerton S2, and writer/producer on Inventing Anna. Brownell was previously a staff writer on Scandal.
“It’s been incredibly rewarding working alongside Shonda, Betsy, and Chris Van Dusen on the first two seasons of Bridgerton,” Brownell said. “And now, as these beloved characters are entrusted to me, I cannot wait to lend my unique vision to the next two seasons. I feel so fortunate to have found a home at Shondaland and to have the support of Shonda and Betsy as I move forward into this new chapter.”
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