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Netflix's Bridgerton lost its creator & showrunner ahead of season 3 - here's what happened, and where he is now

Here's why Netflix's Bridgerton creator & showrunner quit after season 2, and what he's working on instead

Bridgerton season 1 backstage photo
Image credit: Liam Daniel (Netflix)

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Although for many Netflix's Bridgerton is thought to come from Shonda Rhimes, the creation of the Regency era TV series is solely attributed to Rhimes' longtime colleague Chris Van Dusen. Van Dusen worked with Rhimes on on various projects going back to 2005 including Grey's Anatomy (and its spinoffs), as well as Scandal. When Rhimes' production company struck a deal with Netflix, it was Van Dusen who took the lead in adaptating the source material - the Bridgerton prose novels - into the flourishing TV drama that it is now.

Van Dusen was showrunner of the first two seasons of Bridgerton, but during the final months of season 2 filming, Bridgerton was eyed to expand from a single TV series into a whole franchise (and a quicker turnaround). That led to another of Rhimes' colleagues, Jess Brownell, being tapped to begin work on Bridgerton season 3 and 4 simultaneously as showrunner, as Rhimes herself stepped in to showrun Bridgerton's first spinoff, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.

”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 told Deadline in 2021.. “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."

At the same time, Van Dusen became in very high demand due to the popularity of Bridgerton - and his exclusive deal with Netflix and Shondaland was set to expire just as work on season 2 was ending, according to Deadline.

"Shondaland is where I learned how to make TV, craft incredibly complex characters and how to tell stories," said Van Dusen at the time. "And while it’s been an incredible journey, I have my sights set on a few new stories to tell."

Van Dusen parlayed that into starting up his own production company, CVD Productions, and has to-date sold two TV projects - an adaptation of the YA novel series They Both Die At The End to Netflix, and an adaptation of the YA novel Girl Abroad with A24.

",... [I] look forward to seeing Jess continue the magic in [Bridgerton] seasons three and four," Van Dusen said. "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!”

You can return to Grosvenor Square May 16, 2024, as Bridgerton season 3 part 1 debuts on Netflix.

Whether its the bane of your existence or the object of all your desires (or both), Bridgerton is back. Read all our spoiler-y thoughts on Bridgerton season 3 here, and then delight at a guide to how to watch all of Bridgerton (and the spinoff), an our exclusive interview with the show's costume designer John Glaser, as well as some recommended reads for all Bridgerton fans.