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Write On: 'Bridgerton' Showrunner Jess Brownell

May 10, 2024
2 min read time

“One of the main things I’ve learned from Shonda [Rhimes] is to focus on what you really want to see, yourself, in a season. Not necessarily what should happen. I remember on Scandal, in the writers room, we would craft what we thought were these perfectly structured stories. And Shonda would come in and pitch something that was really wild, kind of out there and maybe didn’t fit perfectly into the structure,” says Jess Brownell, showrunner for Bridgerton Season 3.  “Ultimately, when the show aired, that would always be the thing that Twitter would light up about. So it’s taught me to work from that place first. Don’t just worry about, ‘Okay, what are the beats that make sense to get from A to B?,’ but ‘What’s juicy? What do you want to see?’”

In this episode of the Write On podcast, Jess talks about the friends-to-lovers storyline with Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlin), and Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton), why the show leaned into super fun rom-com tropes this season and why sex scenes always have to be character-driven.

Jess also shared this advice for writing period drama: “My advice for approaching a period piece would be approach it the same way you would a modern piece. Focus on: What are you trying to say that’s new? And how are modern audiences going to connect with these characters? You can always go back and do a regency pass at the end. I often write a scene just like I would for a modern-day show and go back and fix the dialogue later,” she says. 

To hear more, listen to the podcast.


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