“In another type of show you would track the couple,” says UnReal‘s Sarah Gertrude Shapiro of the Lifetime reality TV drama series she created with Marti Noxon. “And we really track Quinn and Rachel.”
“What we are so obsessed with is a work relationship that is stronger than a family bond,” the executive producer says of their entangled Everlasting EP played by Constance Zimmer and her producer played by Shiri Appleby.
Along with showrunner Stacy Rukeyser, Shapiro joined us at Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys event recently at a packed DGA theater. “I think women at work has always been the thing we are most interested in,” Rukeyser notes of the core of the show. “Talking about how it is possible to have so much ambition and drive at work and still…have part of the princess fantasy for themselves.”
One of the more original and often daring shows on TV, the June 2015-debuting UnReal uses the backdrop of a fictional dating competition series to focus on the other side of the camera to show how the sausage is made. Trying and battling to pull Everlasting together every season is often conflicted producer Rachel Goldberg (Appleby) and her mentor and worst-enemy executive producer Quinn King (Zimmer). The first scripted series fully produced and distributed by A+E Studios, the Peabody-winning UnReal scored a well-deserved Emmy nomination for Zimmer in its first season as well as a Best Dramatic Writing nom for Shapiro and Noxon.
Rukeyser took over last fall as showrunner for UnReal’s third season, which is now set to debut in 2018.
In the meantime, check out the video of our conversation above.