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Watch out, Lady Whistledown. There’s a new hottie in town.
After the controversial departure of leading hunk Regé-Jean Page, all eyes are on the new eye candy of Netflix’s steamy period drama “Bridgerton.”
Season 2 of the show will go on without the spoon-licking, virginity-snatching Page, who played the smoldering Duke of Hastings Simon Basset.
The new season will focus on Anthony Bridgerton, the overbearing older brother of Daphne and a college chum of the duke’s.
Anthony is played by the similarly sexy Jonathan Bailey, 32. The show is based on a series of books by Julia Quinn, and the second, “The Viscount Who Loved Me,” follows Anthony through the seasons of 1814 as he becomes engaged to Edwina Sheffield but clashes with her stubborn older sister, Kate Sheffield.
Of course, Kate ultimately becomes his love interest. “Sex Education” actress Simone Ashley, 26, was recently cast in the role.
It remains to be seen if Bailey can capture lovelorn hearts and dirty minds the same way 31-year-old Page did with the explosively popular Shonda Rhimes series.
Fans have been mourning the loss of the “hot Duke” since his exit was announced in early April. Page, who had signed on with a single-year deal, noted it was a “one-season arc” for his character. While rumors circulated that he had bigger plans for Hollywood, sources told Page Six that his departure was due to “creative differences.”
“Regé is not coming back to ‘Bridgerton’ because of creative differences with [executive producer] Shonda Rhimes and her team,” a source told Page Six. “He wasn’t happy with what was planned for his character for Season 2, which would have kept him a player but not the focal point of the show.”
However, the source did tell Page Six it appears he does indeed have his sights set on his future as an A-lister. “Regé has been inundated with offers for other interesting and challenging leading roles,” the source added.
Page, though, “was offered an opportunity to return as a guest star in three to five episodes of Season 2 — at a rate of $50,000 an episode — but declined for a multitude of reasons,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“Bridgerton” amassed a huge following since the eight-episode Season 1 premiered on Netflix in December, with 82 million households globally watching.
Next up, Page is set to star in Paramount’s “Dungeons & Dragons” film alongside Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez and Justice Smith.
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