The fan reaction to “Bridgerton” was even bigger than Shonda Rhimes expected.
The prolific TV creator is on the new cover of Variety, and in the issue she talked about the uproar when it was announced that star Regé-Jean Page wouldn’t be coming back for season 2 of “Bridgerton”.
“What I loved was we were going to create this powerful, exciting, amazing romance,” Rhimes says of the relationship Page’s character Simon, and Phoebe Dynevor’s Daphne. “And then for once in television, they were going to get to have their happily ever after versus — well, you know! In network television, you have to come up with 15 years of why a couple has to be apart.”
She continues, “I don’t think I expected everybody to have such a reaction to it. My assumption of what people knew of romance novels was … I overestimated a great deal.”
Rhimes adds that she does understand the reaction, though.
“People’s attachment to couples is real — I mean, I know that better than anybody,” she says. “And I think that means success. But I do understand their despair.”
With the show already renewed through season 4, Rhimes is asked how long she expects the show to run.
“There are eight Bridgerton siblings, and as far as I’m concerned, there are eight ‘Bridgerton’ seasons,” she says. “And maybe more.”
A prequel to “Bridgerton”, all about Queen Charlotte, is also in the works, and as Rhimes reveals, it didn’t take a lot of convincing for her to take on the project.
“I’m very obsessed with Queen Charlotte, and I always call her the Beyoncé of the show,” she says. “I’m constantly saying out loud, ‘God, I love her wigs’ — somehow hoping that somebody will send me one of her wigs so that I can walk around wearing it.”
Looking back on her career, especially her work on “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Scandal” and “How to Get Away with Murder”, Rhimes sees an important legacy of diversity.
“It sounds arrogant to say it, but to me it makes me sad to have to say it. We changed the faces that you see on television,” she says.