A new report reveals major turmoil inside Lumon Industries.
According to Puck News, Season 2 of Apple TV+’s Emmy-nominated drama Severance is facing significant delays in the wake of a falling out between co-showrunners Dan Erickson and Mark Friedman.
All told, Erickson, a first-time series creator who wrote the pilot episode, and Friedman, a seasoned writer-producer whose myriad credits include AMC’s Dispatches From Elsewhere and Fox’s Wayward Pines, “ended up hating each other” before Season 1 was even in the can, which resulted in a “toxic” work environment, per the industry newsletter. Friedman reportedly intended to walk away ahead of Season 2, but fellow EP/director Ben Stiller, who worked with Friedman on 2014’s Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, convinced him to come back after failing to find someone to fill his shoes.
Alas, the problems that plagued production in Season 1 continue to wreak havoc in Season 2, which is now in production. Puck News cites script issues as well as a ballooning per-episode budget. With Apple already mulling two additional seasons, House of Cards creator Beau Willimon has been quietly brought to assist with Season 2 (and beyond).
UPDATE: Reps for Apple TV+ declined to comment, but a source close to the show disputes the Puck report, telling TVLine that Severance Season 2 “is on schedule, the budget is the same as Season 1, Dan, Beau and Mark are all working together… [Beau] was hired for Season 3 and since they don’t have a traditional writers room, it made sense he would get involved in the current season as well.”
UPDATE NO. 2: Stiller has also addressed the alleged behind-the-scenes drama, which you can read here.
For the uninitiated: Severance, which first debuted in February 2022, follows the inner workings of mysterious biotech company Lumon Industries, whose employees undergo a procedure that divides their memories between their work and personal lives. But, as Season 1 showed us, the division isn’t always so neat.
Season 1 wrapped last April, and there’s currently no timetable for the release of the problem-riddled Season 2.
Sorry to hear this news – can’t wait for Season 2!
Oof- incredible show, hope this doesn’t hurt S2 and it’s future. S1 was some of the best TV i’ve seen in some time.
You definitely got the sense that there were competing visions with the show as the pace, tone and even overall storylines were very unclear and shifted week to week.
Also, if you are a first time writer, check your ego at the door. Established people know what they’re doing and are in their position for a reason. You know how many people, including myself, would love the chance to have a TV show on the air right now?
If you can’t handle people editing your material….write a book. You’ll still get changes, but editors and publishers care a lot less there.
Alternatively, regardless if someone is a first-time anything they still have ideas, concepts and are just as deserving to embody their role within the production. They were hired for a reason.
Like the saying goes, evolve of die and fresh takes are now we break new ground.
Because you covet something doesn’t mean other people have to make themselves small.
Nothing I’ve read says it was the first-timer that was an issue, so it’s an assumption to say they couldn’t handle things. For all we know, the experienced one was a huge jerk with bad ideas for the show.
That’s fair, though we do know that is also the guy who wanted to leave and got asked back anyway since he couldn’t be replaced. That’s telling in its own right.
Could easily be interpreted as the experienced writer has a “his way or the highway” ego
Yes, but…..the so-called experienced guy, Mark Friedman, is said to have worked on Dispatches from Elsewhere and Wayward Pines. Dispatches of Elsewhere was a pretty dismal failure. It started out great with a number of excellent episodes and a pretty unique concept, but totally fizzled out at the end. Similarly, Wayward Pines started out well with its first season but then died out pretty spectcularly in its followup season which is when Friedman joined as showrunner. I haven’t checked the rest of Friedman’s “myriad credits”, but if Dispatches and Wayward Pines are his major claims to fame, I think I would give the new guy, Dan Erickson, the benefit of the doubt.
Jesus, you make some huge conclusions based on rumours. How do you what’s the essence of the conflict or if there is any in the first place? Why do you take sides as if you were there and witnessed everything? This is ridiculous. Also, you’re really making a leap saying something about competing visions. While I agree there were some issues with the pace, but storylines were definitely not ”unclear” and the tone was pretty consistent. You just see what you want to see to fit with your ”conflict” theory. Don’t fall for rumours and let them deal with their issues if they have any.
This is so disappointing that a couple of grown men can’t learn to work together. A great show and it might be destroyed over such pettiness. Shame.
Competitive men are some of the pettiest people to ever have to deal with. Their willingness to burn the world down because of ego is unmatched.
You should try working with a group of women.
But how do co-showrunners hating each other leading to ballooning costs result in a “toxic” work environment? Are they abusing crew or cast?
The real shame is if this costs the cast and crew 2 more seasons.
Script delays lead to filming delays, which lead to rising costs, which also lead to actors potentially losing other job offers since they’re stuck on a TV contract.
And if two writers are delivering conflicting scripts halfway through filming, that will certainly cause friction and tension and lack of trust among the cast and crew.
Or their hating each other could lead to them arguing constantly on set leaving everyone else in the middle, which would be stressful and a toxic environment to work in.
This looks like the next “American Gods”, one great season followed by a mess.
That’s unfortunate and that’s how shows get ruined this way. Nurse Jackie really wasn’t the same when something similar happened over there. Hopefully, they can salvage the situation.
Oh f- that! I wanna blame men and their egos but I don’t know the full story
Sure, you misandrist weirdo. Blame those pesky mEn and their egos.
They need to stop and just professionally deal with each other for the sake of this show and to bring this vision that fans already love all the way to the end game
I was wondering when this was coming back… now I know there’s a reason they haven’t announced it yet. I hope they can sort it out, it would be a shame if one of the most interesting shows on tv went down the drain because of this.
I don’t know the details on this one but I know the details on other creators who have been paired with people who’ve been working in the tv machine for too many years. Some of these established showrunners aren’t all they are cracked up to be. If they were they’d be selling and running their own shows.
My guess and this is only a guess, is that the newbie doesn’t understand how to stay on time and on budget. A TV pilot gets a big budget typically more so than I believe a regular episode. Also there isn’t as tight a time frame to shoot it as there is on regular episodes. The newbie may have great ideas, but if he can’t have his scripts done when required and have his episodes on budget, he’s a failure. That IMHO is where the experienced person can really shine because they know what is possible within a certain time frame and budget. With a longer time frame and larger budget, yes the show can be better, but the bottom line is that you don’t have that. You only have a certain amount of time and a certain budget. And studios don’t like people not having their episodes done on time and within the budget.
Since these are all pretty much just speculations, it’s not wise to put a label such as ”problem-riddled” on season 2, unprofessional as well.