'Strikes Didn't Affect Bridgerton,' Shonda Rhimes Reveals Why It Really Takes So Long to Make New Seasons

'Strikes Didn't Affect Bridgerton,' Shonda Rhimes Reveals Why It Really Takes So Long to Make New Seasons
Image credit: Netflix

That's not unusual for Netflix, she says.


  • The WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes delayed many popular shows in 2023.
  • It's been over two years since Season 2 of Bridgerton was released.
  • Shonda Rhimes says Netflix is the real reason for the long wait.
  • There are many factors behind Bridgerton's long production time, says another EP.

Last year, the writers' and actors' strikes wreaked havoc in Hollywood, disrupting the production of many popular shows and highly anticipated movies. Hits such as Young Sheldon, Blue Bloods and The Good Doctor were delayed from premiering until this February. Many streaming shows were also affected.

For example, the sixth season of Netflix's popular romance drama Virgin River began production at the end of February this year, instead of the usual late summer/early fall period. It might seem that Bridgerton, whose last installment was released in 2022, was also affected by the strikes, but that's not the case. The show's executive producer, Shonda Rhimes, believes there's another factor at play that's really slowing down production time.

Netflix's Modus Operandi

Remarkably, Shonda Rhimes, whose eponymous Shondaland production company is adapting Julia Quinn's Bridgerton novels into the Netflix series, doesn't really remember if the strikes had any effect on the period drama. The two-year hiatus between Seasons 2 and 3 definitely has nothing to do with the strikes. According to Rhimes, the wait is due to the way Netflix works.

'They want to write everything, and then they want to shoot everything, which is – it's very counterintuitive to the way I learned to make television,' the iconic TV producer said of Netflix's approach to making shows. 'It takes so long, and that's frustrating to me. To me, we should be able to write and produce shows at the same time, and that's not necessarily possible at this moment. It should be, but it's not.'

Because Bridgerton is distributed by Netflix and isn't going anywhere, Shondaland's creatives have to adapt to a new way of working. But at the same time, they want to speed up the creative process as much as possible. According to Shonda Rhimes, they are currently thinking about setting up permanent sets to speed up production so that it won't take another two years to make new seasons, meaning that Season 8 won't be released until 2034.

Meticulousness at Its Best

Then there's another factor behind Bridgerton's notorious two-year gaps between seasons. The show, which is set in early nineteenth-century England, takes its historical aspect very seriously, even if it's modernized. The elegant costumes and settings, which are custom-made for every single character on the Netflix period drama, take a lot of time to prepare. And the characters' stories aren't written for the sake of writing – they have to be narratively fulfilling for the overall story.

'There are a lot of characters, there are a lot of complications and it's a very complex story to weave,' Betsy Beers, another EP on Bridgerton, said. 'The writing and the meticulousness of the process obviously takes time. And every single aspect of a show in this period takes more time.'

As the executives hope to speed up the creative process for Bridgerton, so do millions of viewers around the world who are currently looking forward to the upcoming premiere of Bridgerton's third season this Thursday, May 16.

Source: Variety.