On June 1, the new drama series UnREAL premiered on the Lifetime network. The program was soon considered to be a hit for Lifetime with the viewers. Over the course of the first three episodes of the series, the program has averaged approximately 4.8 million viewers. These views range across all of the available platforms for the show. On July 6, Lifetime announced that they had renewed UnREAL for a second season.
UnREAL is a dramatization of what happens behind the scenes of a reality dating competition. The lead in the program is Rachel Goldberg, played by Shiri Appleby, a producer for the dating program Everlasting. It is her job to make sure that the onscreen action is dramatic and basically outrageous, by manipulating the relationships off the camera. Other behind the scenes drama comes into play to add an entirely new level of viewing pleasure, with eccentric show creators, demanding bosses looking for more action and past relationships making themselves felt. In this world of high drama and intrigue, the reality dating scene is vicious and being behind the scenes is basically a whole new world of experience.
Besides Appleby, the show features Constance Zimmer as her boss, who is always demanding the best footage. Craig Bierko plays Chet the creator of the dating competition, while Freddie Stroma plays Adam Cromwell, the suitor of the show. Josh Kelly plays Rachel’s ex-boyfriend Jeremy, who is actually a cameraman for Everlasting. Some of the contestants on the show include Arielle Kebbel, Ashley Scott, Nathalie Kelley and Johanna Braddy. Every character on the show seems to have their own agenda and goals, even if those do not always line up with what is being portrayed. It is the unreality of reality television in dramatic and entertaining fashion.
In the press release announcing that Lifetime had renewed UnREAL for a second season, the network said they had ordered 10 episodes for the new year. The announcement came from Executive Vice President and the Head of Programming for Lifetime, Liz Gateley. She expressed the network’s pride in being able to bring the show back for an additional season, while also saying the show had actually propelled Lifetime into a new direction that was exciting. In fact, she called the new direction an “unexpected and bolder Lifetime.” This new move in programming is a chance to bring an entirely new generation of viewers to the network, according to Gateley.
The drama which was actually inspired by an independent short film, Sequin Raze (an award winning film from the 2013 SXSW), was co-created by Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, who also helmed the film, and Marti Noxon. UnReal has already gained the attentions of the critics and was recently honored at the Critics’ Choice Television Awards of 2015, for Most Exciting New Series.
The show is being hailed as both critically acclaimed, as well as one of the youngest dramas for the network, with an average viewer age of 43 for the program. Although Lifetime has already renewed UnREAL for a second season, viewers can still watch the first season which is currently airing on the network.
By Kimberley Spinney
Lifetime Press Release
Lifetime – UnREAL
Photos Courtesy of James Dittiger and Lifetime