Hollywood mega-producer Shonda Rhimes' first Netflix series is a hit. The streaming giant announced that the 19th century period drama is on pace to be viewed by 63 million households in its first four weeks since premiering online on Christmas.
According to Netflix, the early results for limited series "Bridgerton" would make the show its fifth most-watched original series debut ever.
While Netflix's announcement Monday did not specify which of the streaming platform's four original series rank ahead of "Bridgerton" in terms of initial viewership, Newsweek pointed out that the company has previously released viewer counts for other streaming hits. (For instance, in 2019, Netflix said that over 105 million subscribers had watched at least one episode of "Orange is the New Black" during that show's seven-season run, making it the company's most-watched original series ever overall.)
Netflix has also released initial viewership counts to tout the big debuts of other original content, such as another 2020 hit, limited series "The Queen's Gambit," which the company said scored 62 million viewers in the show's first four weeks.
Netflix's viewership numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, as the streaming company only sporadically releases those statistics and Netflix also counts viewers as any subscriber who has watched at least two minutes of any given series. (Netflix has argued in the past that its viewership counting methods are similar to those of other online video platforms, like Google's YouTube.)
With that in mind, here are the five Netflix original series to land the biggest launches on the streaming platform, based on the first four weeks' viewership numbers previously released by the company.
5. 'Bridgerton': 63 million
That's a solid start for Rhimes, who previously created hit shows like "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal" for ABC before signing a multiyear contract with Netflix in 2017 worth a reported $150 million for her production company, Shondaland.
"Bridgerton," which has eight episodes, represents the first original series produced by Shondaland for Netflix, while the first series actually written by Rhimes herself (Chris Van Dusen adapted the "Bridgerton" series) will come in 2021, with the series "Inventing Anna" about the socialite scammer Anna Delvey.
4. 'Tiger King': 64 million
"Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness," the viral eight-episode documentary series about breeders of big cats, inspired over 64 million people to tune in for at least two minutes, based on Netflix's metrics, when the show debuted in March.
3. 'Stranger Things' Season 3: 64 million
The third season of the hit sci-fi series premiered in July 2019 and quickly became the show's most-watched season debut, with over 64 million people tuning in within four weeks of the season becoming available to stream, Netflix said.
2. 'Money Heist' Season 4: 65 million
The fourth season of the foreign crime drama (known as "La Casa de Papel" in Spain), about thieves attempting to rob the Royal Mint of Spain, premiered on Netflix in April and the company said that 65 million households checked out the season.
1. 'The Witcher': 76 million
After eight-episode series "The Witcher" debuted in December 2019, Netflix touted the fantasy epic as "our biggest season one TV series ever" in a letter to shareholders, with 76 million households tuning in for at least two minutes of the show within the first four weeks.