Netflix Scraps ‘Bridgerton’ Release, ‘Stranger Things’, ‘Wednesday’ Takeover

in Entertainment

Bridgerton characters Simon (L) and Daphne (R)

Credit: Netflix

Netflix has been the core leader when it comes to the streaming service wars, thanks to the excellent content that is original to the platform.

Netflix has been dominating the streaming game for quite some time. When Disney+ was introduced, the streaming platform took on Netflix as its number one competitor. We saw Netflix lose Disney titles, and soon enough, Disney+’s growth rate would skyrocket so high that they would be in direct competition with Netflix.

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Credit: Netflix

Disney+ had been, for many of us, a saving grace during the pandemic. Having to stay inside more than usual, it was great to be a Disney+ subscriber and watch both new and old content on the new streaming service. Disney+ had given us the ability to watch Broadway musicals with the original cast of Hamilton, and brought us cinematic features like the live-action Mulan right to our homes. The platform is constantly updating itself and adding content and has instantly become a major contender in the streaming service game.

In 2020 we shared an interview with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings who sat down with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin to discuss the “new” streaming platform. When Sorkin asked Hastings how he thought Disney+ was going to do in its first year, Hastings thought “maybe 20,000,000”.

Disney+ and Netflix logos side by side
Credit: Inside the Magic

20,000,000 would be amazing. For reference, HBO Max released a streaming service that only has 4,000,000. But how did Disney+ do? The site had gained over 60,000,000 subscribers and counting within one year.

Hastings mentioned that it took Netflix 10-12 years to get to that benchmark. That being said, Netflix has always remained the leader in terms of subscriber size.

In recent years, the once-unquestioned dominance of Netflix in the world of streaming content has been challenged by the likes of HBO Max (now plain Max), Disney+, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. This time last year, it was reported that it had lost nearly a million subscribers, and shareholders were all but revolting against CEO Ted Sarandos.

wednesday-smiles
Credit: Netflix

Now, Netflix is showing astronomically higher numbers, including adding nearly six million new subscribers and increasing its free cash flow from approximately $13 million to a staggering $1.3 billion. This is all thanks to their original content that has blown up over the years, like Stranger Things, Squid Games, Love is Blind, Sex Education, Wednesday, and so much more.

One series that has entirely blown up, sparking headlines accross the world, is Shonda Rhimes Bridgerton. Rhimes, who once worked religiously with Disney as ABC aired Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder, all of which dominated Thursday night cable TV.

Rhimes had been renegotiating her contract in 2017 when she hit her breaking point with ABC executives. During negotiations, she had asked for an additional all-inclusive Disneyland pass for her sister who was coming to visit the resort.

After receiving many “no”s and a lot of pushback, the executives decided to give Rhimes the pass for her sister. However, when her sister arrived at the Disneyland gates with her children and nanny with her, the pass was invalid.

Upset with how the situation unfolded, Rhimes reportedly called out one of the high-ranking executives of the company and rhetorically asked, “Don’t you have enough?” She then reached out to her legal team to negotiate her move to Netflix. With this new decision, Shonda Rhimes ended up with an over $300 million deal with Netflix.

nicola coughlan as penelope featherington in bridgerton season 3 first look Netflix TUDUM
Credit: Netflix

Out came Bridgerton. 

Bridgerton is an American historical fiction-romance streaming television series created by Chris Van Dusen for Netflix. Based on the book series by Julia Quinn, it is Shondaland’s first scripted show for Netflix. It revolves around an eponymous fictional family and is set in the competitive world of Regency era London’s ton during the social season where marriageable youth of nobility and gentry are launched into society.

The first season debuted on December 25, 2020. The second season premiered on March 25, 2022. By April 2021, the series was renewed for a third and fourth season. In May 2023, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, a spinoff series, was released, which focused on the character Queen Charlotte from Bridgerton. The show’s record-setting second season, which surpassed season one in viewership, cemented Bridgerton as a franchise

Bridgerton was critically acclaimed for its direction, actor performances, production and set design, and even has had better ratings than Stranger Things season 3 on Netflix.

luke newton as colin bridgerton in bridgerton season 3 first look Netflix TUDUM
Credit: Netflix

Set against the backdrop of the Regency era, the eight close-knit siblings of the noble and powerful Bridgerton family – Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory and Hyacinth – navigate London high society in search of love, surrounded by friends and rivals alike.

Now, as fans await the third season of the show, there has been some sad news released.

For months, we’d been expecting the Bridgerton season 3 to be released on Netflix in December 2023. The release date of Dec. 14 for season 3 allegedly leaked during TUDUM 2023 in June. Since then, we’d been thinking that’s when Bridgerton season 3 would arrive, right before or around Christmas Day 2023. This is also due to a leaked post that was deleted which noted it would be released in December of 2023.

Over the last month or so, we started to get worried about Bridgerton season 3. It’s been pretty much crickets from Netflix and everyone about Bridgerton season 3. Obviously, it makes sense because the WGA was on strike from May to October, basically, and SAG is still on strike and has been since July. Now, it looks like our fears were warranted.

Season 3 will not be debuting until 2024, scrapping the 2023 release.

Many fans of the series are wondering why this has happened.

rege jean page in bridgerton
Credit: Netflix

For nearly five months, from May 2nd to September 27th, the Writers Guild of America was on strike, causing a lot of movies and TV shows to shut down production. Then a lot of the projects that had been able to continue filming had to shut down when the Screen Actors Guild also went on strike as of July 14th. While the SAG strike continues, the writers are getting back to work. Now, Variety has noted that the two shows that are priority for the streaming service are Wednesday season 2 (starring Jenna Ortega) and Stranger Things season 5 (starring Finn Wolfhard and Millie Bobby Brown).

As Variety notes, “For Netflix, top of mind is writing scripts for and filming the second season of Wednesday and the fifth and final season of Stranger Things, the latter needing to happen before its ageing stars can no longer pass for high schoolers.” Wednesday also happens to center on characters that are high school students.

Details on Stranger Things season 5 are being kept under wraps, but we can expect to see the return of stars like Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Maya Hawke, and Priah Ferguson.

While both shows certainly have fantastic ratings, Bridgerton does as well, and it also fills a genre and niche entirely different from Stranger Things and Wednesday, which both fall under a similar spooky, odd trope. Bridgerton is much more centered on romance and scandal, which targets an entirely different audience that Netflix is now alienating.

Bridgerton
Credit: Netflix (Screenshot ITM)

With almost 950 million hours viewed in 2022, Bridgerton is only behind the likes of Stranger Things, Wednesday, and Squid Game in popularity. 656 million hours were watched globally within the first 28 days of the second season’s release.

Netflix has also released a juicy synopsis for season 3. Per Entertainment Weekly, this reads: “Bridgerton is back for its third season and finds Penelope Featherington has finally given up on her long-held crush on Colin Bridgerton after hearing his disparaging words about her last season. She has, however, decided it’s time to take a husband, preferably one who will provide her with enough independence to continue her double life as Lady Whistledown, far away from her mother and sisters. But lacking in confidence, Penelope’s attempts on the marriage mart fail spectacularly.”

The synopsis continues: “Meanwhile, Colin has returned from his summer travels with a new look and a serious sense of swagger. But he’s disheartened to realize that Penelope, the one person who always appreciated him as he was, is giving him the cold shoulder. Eager to win back her friendship, Colin offers to mentor Penelope in the ways of confidence to help her find a husband this season.

nicola coughlan as penelope featherington and luke newton as colin bridgerton in bridgerton season 3 first look Netflix TUDUM
Credit: Netflix

But when his lessons start working a little too well, Colin must grapple with whether his feelings for Penelope are truly just friendly. Complicating matters for Penelope is her rift with Eloise, who has found a new friend in a very unlikely place, while Penelope’s growing presence in the ton makes it all the more difficult to keep her Lady Whistledown alter ego a secret.”

So, it seems that we will have to continue and wait for Lady Whistledown to release more news regarding the third season of Bridgerton. 

Are you excited to see Bridgerton return to Netflix?

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