The world had the opportunity to hear the ill-fated "love story" of real-life couple John Meehan and Debra Newell on Wondery and The Los Angeles Times podcast Dirty John, but that doesn't mean fans are sleeping on the Bravo series of the same name. In fact, so many people are watching Dirty John, it's breaking records for the cable channel once best known for The Real Housewives franchise.
TV series Dirty John tells the story of Debra (Connie Britton), a successful interior designer who falls for alleged anesthesiologist John (Eric Bana). Unfortunately, John is nothing that he appears to be, and ultimately proves himself a dire threat to Debra's family.
According to a press release from Bravo, Dirty John's premiere episode, which aired on November 25 after Bravo released it 10 days earlier on the network's website, is the network’s most watched scripted series telecast ever. A reported 3.8 million people tuned in to witness grifter John's dastardly deeds. Thanks to the early online release, the premiere episode also became Bravo’s most-streamed series launch ever.
It's not too surprising that Dirty John hit with audiences right out of the gate: Grifters, con artists, and scammers are having a real moment in pop culture. Shonda Rhimes is bringing faux NYC socialite Anna Delvey's story to Netflix. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are planning a feature based on the McDonald's Monopoly scam artist. Even Melissa McCarthy is tackling a literary grifter persona in her new movie Can You Ever Forgive Me?
"I think the story is incredibly relatable and could happen to anyone under the right circumstances, but I wanted to make sure the audience couldn’t have distance from the story anymore — I wanted to draw them in [emotionally]," she told Refinery29 at the Los Angeles premiere of the series. "[What happened in Dirty John] could happen to you, and the people who this happened to are not stupid: They just wanted to believe the best in people, and it went horribly wrong."
Stay tuned to see exactly how.