Shonda Rhimes Reigns Supreme as “Bridgerton” Becomes Netflix’s Biggest Hit Ever

Shonda Rhimes delivers once again.

GOLDA ROSHEUVEL in Bridgerton.
Image Courtesy of Netflix

Bridgerton has it all: scheming aristocrats, devious debutantes, jaw-dropping costumes and makeup, and a literal Black queen in England’s Regency era. The Shonda Rimes-produced romance spectacle certainly has plenty, uh, campy moments, but audiences are loving it. Netflix was announced that Bridgerton has become its #1 most-watched series of all time, beating out The Witcher, Stranger Things, The Queen’s Gambit, and even quarantine juggernaut Tiger King.

How many people tuned to to watch Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) and her harem of Pomeranians? Approximately 82 million in its first month, said Jinny Howe, Netflix’s Vice President, Original Series in a press statement. The show hit top 10 spots in nearly every country on the globe, and was the #1 show in 83 different countries. Bridgertons success even rubbed off on the source material novels by Julia Quinn; the 18-year old books shot to the top of the New York Times Bestseller list.

“I think the show really provides an incredible escape for audiences at a time where that’s exactly what’s needed,” show creator Chris Van Dusen told Deadline. “Bridgerton is this lavish, vibrant, steamy Regency love story; it is about romance, love and joy; I think all of those things are really universal themes people are responding to.”

The show is also the first delivered under Netflix’s reported $150 million deal with mega-producer Shonda Rhimes. Apparently it’s paying off quite handsomely so far, and Rhimes has at least seven more shows in the works.

The show’s success also proves that audiences are hungry for on-screen diversity. With ahistorical race blind casting, Bridgerton treats interracial romance and friendships as the normal things they are, though it doesn’t shy away from pointing out how the Black experience is tinged with difficulty. No, the cast doesn’t look like 1800s England, but that is precisely what makes it a breathe of fresh air on our TV screens. The show has already been renewed for a second season.

Related: Shonda Rhimes Is Doing Eight (Eight!) Netflix Shows