UnREAL‘s decision to cast an African-American Everlasting bachelor in Season 2 was a no-brainer, the Lifetime series’ producers argued Wednesday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena.
Given race’s role in several recent news events, “There are few things more pressing than this conversation. We don’t want to fall asleep at the wheel,” co-creator Sarah Gertrude Shapiro said. The former Bachelor producer revealed that in her past reality-TV experience, the lack of diversity came down to “incredibly pragmatic decisions” like not wanting to alienate an audience.
Season 2 — premiering this summer — also will explore what it means to have the mostly white media “trying to make a statement about race,” executive producer Carol Barbee shared.
The subject matter has led to “really awkward conversations” off screen, Shapiro added. “The writers’ room has been incredibly intense.”
On screen, UnREAL‘s fictional competition series will look familiar even as it tackles new issues in its second season. “It was so important that this was The Quinn-and-Rachel Show,” Shapiro described. “Thematically, what we wanted to explore in Season 2 was keeping the same Everlasting format, but just changing the guy.”
Added co-creator Marti Noxon: “So much of what we’re intrigued by… is sexual politics;” while last year was about the princess fantasy and the idea of women waiting for a man to take them away from their problems, upcoming episodes will touch on “masculinity and how does the men’s rights movement intersect with feminism?” Shapiro previewed.
Speaking of the other sex: Brokenhearted, vengeful Jeremy is “coming back pretty angry and gunning for [his ex] Rachel,” Barbee teased.