As UnReal begins its second season tonight, Constance Zimmer (Quinn), Shiri Appleby (Rachel) and the show’s two creators, Marti Noxon and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, sat down to talk to Entertainment Weekly about how the show came to light and how it became a surprise hit for the network.
This season, there’s a different dynamic in the behind-the-scenes world of Everlasting, the fictitious show where the cast members of UnReal work. At the end of the first season, Chet lost his position of power to Quinn, while Rachel took over Quinn’s job and became the showrunner.
Noxon and Shapiro plan on continuing the success in the second season as Everlasting will have an African American suitor, which hasn’t happened yet on The Bachelor. However, UnReal is trying not to make a big deal out of it, with Zimmer saying “We’re not trying to cram any ideals down anybody’s throat. We’re just shining a light on them.”
However, Zimmer still promises that there will be lots of drama this season and that Quinn and Rachel do “horrible things” to the contestants this season.
Appleby said the reason that the show was so successful in its first season is because no one thought it would be successful “so we could take a lot of risks.” However, the show did become a success for the network, which led to a mini web-series about one of the contestants, Faith, and what life is like for her after leaving the show. The show has also won a Peabody Award and two Critics’ Choice Television Awards, one for the show overall and one for Constance Zimmer’s character of Quinn.
As for how the show is able to balance both the backstage dramatics of Everlasting and the drama of the actual show in general? That goes to the two creators of the show. Noxon has been a producer on a variety of different dramas, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Glee and Code Black. As for Shapiro, she was a former producer on The Bachelor, which is essentially why Everlasting seems like a spoof of The Bachelor, complete with rose petals, tears from the contestants and weekly elimination ceremonies.
Part of the reason that the show is airing on Lifetime could be because of how Lifetime wanted to rebrand its image to portray stronger female characters instead of the typical damsel in distress that the network had become known for.
And while the show just got renewed for its third season, Shapiro says she already knows how she wants to the show to end, telling Variety that she planned on having the show be on the air for five seasons, though now said she doesn’t “know if we’re going to stick to that.”
UnReal premieres tonight (June 6) at 10 p.m. on Lifetime. Catch up on the first season on Hulu.