UnReal Emmy campaign Lifetime
Courtesy of Lifetime

If the first season of “UnREAL” was about exploring “the princess fantasy,” the second season of Lifetime’s hit drama will delve into masculinity and the men’s right movement, the cast and creators told journalists at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena.

The executive producers said the show will focus on the controversy raised when “Everlasting,” the show-within-the-show, casts its first-ever African-American suitor — something “The Bachelor” has famously yet to do. “There are few things more pressing than this conversation,” said executive producer Sarah Gertrude Shapiro. “I’ve heard appalling things about race all the time,” she said, referring to her experience as a producer.

The executive producers of the series, which skewers reality dating shows like “The Bachelor,” took pains not to name the show directly, but said they’ve been overwhelmed by positive responses from fans of the show. Series star Constance Zimmer said fans tell her, “I watch these shows differently now. I think about what Quinn and Rachel would be doing now. That’s a huge compliment.”

Added Shapiro, “There was the host of a certain show who doesn’t love us,” referring to “The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison, who famously criticized the Lifetime series as “really terrible.”

To handle the emphasis on the male storylines, the executive producers joked that they’d flipped the usual problem in Hollywood: adding men to their writers room.

Season two of the show goes into production in March for a summer premiere. The first season of “UnREAL” will be available on Hulu on February 3rd.

Along with Zimmer, the show stars Shiri Appleby. Craig Bierko returns as “Everlasting’s” creator, Chet, who is on a quest to reclaim his full power on set; Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman as Jay, a field producer whose ambitions run far beyond the show; and Josh Kelly as Jeremy, “Everlasting’s” director of photography and Rachel’s ex-boyfriend. “He’s coming back pretty angry and gunning for Rachel,” say the EPs.

Casting is currently underway for “Everlasting’s” new suitor Darius Hill, an All-American football star, and the contestants including Yael, a gorgeous upscale hipster; Tiffany, a daddy’s girl and football player’s dream; Ruby, a shrewd contestant, not at all interested in being a puppet for the producers; Bethann, an Alabama born and bred patriotic girl; and Chantal, a prim and proper southern debutante. “Everlasting” will also get Coleman, a new producer and the series is also casting the role of Romeo, Darius’ street-smart and savvy cousin.

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