Has Lifetime landed its first non-guilty pleasure of a series? The network today gave a 10-episode series order to “Un-Real,” a scripted dark comedy from Marti Noxon (“Mad Men,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, based on the latter’s award-winning short “Sequin Raze.” Produced by A+E Studios, the series offers a behind-the-scenes look at the craziness that is production of a “Bachelor”-style dating competition program.
“‘Un-Real’ is unlike anything that exists on television today,” said Lifetime’s Rob Sharenow. “It’s premium and original on every level, and we’re thrilled that Marti Noxon and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro’s unique series will be Lifetime’s first program produced by A+E Studios.”
Shiri Appleby (late of “Girls”) stars as Rachel, a staffer on the show whose job is to manipulate the contestants to produce the maximum drama demanded by the dispassionate executive producer (Megyn Price). Freddie Stroma (“Pitch Perfect”) plays the dating show’s handsome and intelligent bachelor Adam, while Josh Kelly is Jeremy, a cameraman who is Rachel’s ex-boyfriend. Of the contestants, Nathalie Kelley is Grace, who immediately wins Adam’s heart; Johanna Braddy is Anna, eager to land a husband; Breeda Wool is Faith, a sensitive and vulnerable tomboy from the South; and Ashley Scott is Mary, a single mom who has been unlucky in love. Arielle Kebbel is set to guest star as Courtney, a contestant who has no filter and isn’t on the show to make any friends (she’s presumably there to win).
Noxon and Shapiro wrote “Un-Real,” and Shapiro will serve as producer while Noxon will executive produce alongside Sally DeSipio and Bill Davenport for Wieden+Kennedy Entertainment. Roger Kumble (“Cruel Intentions”) directed the pilot, and no premiere date has been set. Check out the trailer for “Sequin Raze,” the short that inspired the series and that premiered at SXSW last year, below.