Lifetime’s ‘UnREAL’ Co-Creator: Show Explores Dating Shows, ‘Women Destroying Other Women’

Lifetime UnREAL party
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

It’s only fitting that the premiere party for Lifetime’s new drama “UnREAL” at the Sixty Beverly Hills’ rooftop pool deck was a who’s who of the reality TV dating world.

The Lifetime original series goes behind the scenes of an “unscripted” dating competition show, “Everlasting,” where producers and camera operators actively manufacture drama through manipulation.

The show’s co-creator, writer and supervising producer Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, said she and fellow co-creator and exec producer Marti Noxon are using the show to expose the reality of the reality TV industry.

“It’s a very dark look at the underbelly of a culture that we’ve all become really used to — specifically women destroying other women and what motivates that,” she said. “Another thing we explore is the princess fantasy and the idea of why we are all so attracted to these shows that make us feel really bad about ourselves.”

Star Constance Zimmer said the show explores the lengths that people, especially women, will go to find love in front of a camera.

“We’re diving into what are the psychological issues that happen to those women in front of the camera and what is happening to the people behind the camera that is forcing them into those situations,” Zimmer explained. “It is truly also a show about love … and it really shows that people will do the craziest things to find true love.”

Present-day reality dating shows inspired Shapiro and Noxon to create the role of manipulative reality TV producer Quinn, played by Zimmer. Up for discussion was the current season of ABC’s “The Bachelorette,” in which two ladies had to compete for the title in the very first episode.

Shiri Appleby, who plays a contestant handler on “UnREAL,” said she tuned in, but quickly tuned out. “I felt like it was mean. I watched it for a minute and I felt like I didn’t want to watch it. I felt like it was really mean to women. I don’t watch too much television, but when I do I want to watch things that I enjoy and make me feel good.”

“The Bachelor” contestant AshLee Frazier and “Bachelorette” alum Zack Kalter, who both appeared on “Bachelor in Paradise,” were among the many former reality dating show contestants also on hand for the party, co-sponsored by Lifetime and Us Weekly.

“UnREAL” premieres June 1 on Lifetime.

(Pictured: Marti Noxon, Shiri Appleby, Sarah Gertrude Shapiro and Constance Zimmer at Lifetime’s “UnREAL” party)