Although UnREAL has gone through quite a few logistical changes, at least we can take comfort in the fact that the show is not in nearly as much backstage drama as it usually portrays on television.
In a report by Deadline, the show has announced Stacy Rukeyser as the showrunner for the upcoming third season.
Previously, Marti Noxon served as showrunner, adding on to her responsibilities as co-creator and executive producer. The first season was a critical hit, giving Lifetime much credibility for their newly scripted programming. Season 1 even awarded the cast and crew two Emmy nominations: one for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama (Constance Zimmer) and one for Best Dramatic Writing (Noxon and Shapiro’s pilot script).
Even with all this acclaim, Noxon began to step back from the massive amounts of responsibility in season 2. She co-wrote the premiere episode for the season with Gertrude Shapiro, but Noxon quickly began to cede her showrunning duties to Carol Barbee, who then began to lead the show on a more day-to-day basis.
The reception of season 2 was a little more barbed than previously expected. While UnREAL tackled the dramatic details of the background of a reality show, they also began taking heavy stances on social issues like police brutality and Black Lives Matter. Rukeyser supports season 2, saying, “In Season 2 we took some very big swings, and I am proud of that.”
Before taking on the massive responsibility of showrunning, Rukeyser has written for several television shows in fourteen years, including Without A Trace, Greek, and Twisted. Noxon herself recruited Rukeyser for UnREAL.
And season 3 is already gearing up to be another whirlwind of a year. Noting the reception of last year, Rukeyser is setting out to appease the audience without giving in: “On the show, the pendulum swings between OMG moments and deeper character moments. Maybe the pendulum swung too far in the plot direction (in Season 2). So much happened in terms of story and reveals, we have to take time to explore what that means for the characters, the psychological impact and the truth about what happened to them.”
And for anyone that’s seen the series, the psychological impact is key. The characters have to go through insane twists and manipulations just to keep their jobs, and having heavily flawed main characters like Rachel makes it a challenge for writers to make characters sympathetic.
Production of season 3 is scheduled for February and the show is set to premiere in the summer of 2017.