UnREAL is switching up its talent behind the scenes. The Lifetime drama about the inner workings of a reality dating series has named executive producer Stacy Rukeyser as the new showrunner for the upcoming third season, EW has confirmed.
The series has cycled through showrunners over its past two seasons. During the first, co-creator and executive producer Marti Noxon held the role, but after Noxon co-wrote the season 2 premiere with co-creator and EP Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, Noxon transitioned to focusing on her other projects, with executive producer Carol Barbee quietly taking over as showrunner.
With Barbee not returning for season 3, Rukeyser will become showrunner for the first time in her career. A seasoned TV writer, Rukeyser previously worked with Noxon on TeenNick’s Gigantic and served as an executive producer for ABC Family’s Twisted before being brought on to the Lifetime series.
Starring Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer as producers of Everlasting, a dating competition series modeled after ABC’s The Bachelor, UnREAL won critical raves during its first season, garnering two Emmy nominations and a Peabody Award. Its second season, however, received mixed reviews.
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Rukeyser reflected on the creative choices behind UnREAL‘s first two seasons in an interview with Deadline, which broke the news. “On the show, the pendulum swings between OMG moments and deeper character moments,” she said. “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.”
UnREAL is set to return in summer 2017.