Unreal (stylized as UnREAL) is an American drama television series that premiered on Lifetime on June 1, 2015. It stars Shiri Applebyas a young reality television producer pushed by her unscrupulous boss (Constance Zimmer) to swallow her integrity and do anything it takes to drum up salacious show content. The show was created by Marti Noxon and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, and was inspired by Shapiro’s award-winning independent short film Sequin Raze.
Unreal has received critical acclaim, and was picked up for a second season in July 2015. The second season premiered on June 6, 2016. On June 2, 2016, the series was renewed for a third season ahead of the season 2 premiere. In May 2017, Lifetime announced that the premiere of Season 3 would be delayed and will likely air in early 2018. On July 28, 2017, it was announced that Unreal has been renewed for a 4th season. A month later on August 28, 2017, it was announced that Lifetime had commissioned only 8 episodes for Season 4, down from the 10 episodes the network ordered for the show’s first three seasons. A network rep declined to comment on the announcement.
Producer Rachel Goldberg returns to Everlasting, a popular dating show, after a breakdown. With a reputation to rebuild and executive producer Quinn King breathing down her neck, Rachel must pull out all the stops in what she does best: manipulating the contestants to create the outrageous drama that viewers expect.
- Shiri Appleby as Rachel Goldberg, a producer on Everlasting who is brought back to the show by executive producer Quinn despite Rachel’s epic breakdown during the previous season. Though conflicted by how she must lie to and manipulate the contestants, Rachel is a “closer” who thinks fast on her feet and knows exactly what needs to be done to create drama on the show. Meanwhile, she is drawn back to her ex-boyfriend Jeremy and finds herself getting close to the show’s suitor Adam, but she later loses relationships to both of them. Rachel is later promoted to supervising producer, which is short-lived as Coleman is hired by the network as the new showrunner.
- Constance Zimmer as Quinn King, Everlasting‘s scheming, demanding executive producer who pushes boundaries on the show to maximize ratings. She is having an affair with Chet, but their dysfunctional relationship is strained by his marriage and their work. She later gets promoted to showrunner until Chet returns, and their conflict results in the network hiring Coleman as the show’s new EP and showrunner.
- Craig Bierko as Chet Wilton, the eccentric and drug-using creator of Everlasting who is having a volatile affair with Quinn. His immaturity, vulgarity and callousness have given him a keen eye for what the audience wants, but his tremendous success has only fueled his self-destructive self-indulgence. He gets banned from work for his bad behavior behind-the-scenes, but later returns after adopting a healthier lifestyle, putting himself into direct conflict with Quinn. He also joins the men’s liberation movement, and enlists Jeremy as part of his cause.
- Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman as Jay, a gay producer on Everlasting who is initially one of Rachel’s only friends. He soon crosses Quinn, and becomes more willing to step over the line in order to ingratiate himself to Chet. He later becomes jealous of Rachel for her job promotion, and grows frustrated by competing against a newly promoted Madison.
- Josh Kelly as Jeremy Caner, a camera operator (later promoted to director of photography) on Everlasting, and Rachel’s ex-boyfriend. Formerly engaged to the show’s make-up artist Lizzie, he still has unresolved feelings for Rachel. He briefly gets back together with Rachel, but breaks up with her after he finds out that she cheated on him with Adam. He returns to work on the new season a bitter and angry drunk over having his heart broken by Rachel.
- Freddie Stroma as Adam Cromwell (season 1; guest star season 2), a rich British playboy and the “suitor” on Everlasting.
- B. J. Britt as Darius Beck (season 2), the first African-American suitor on Everlasting and a professional football player, who hopes that being on Everlasting will help polish his image after being involved in a public relations scandal.
- Caitlin FitzGerald as Serena (season 3), Everlasting’s first female suitor who’s a successful Silicon Valley venture capitalist.
- Johanna Braddy as Anna Martin (season 1), a contestant who is bulimic and an attorney.
- Nathalie Kelley as Grace (season 1), a contestant who is a swimsuit model.
- Ashley Scott as Mary Newhouse (season 1), one of the oldest contestants who is a single mother with an abusive ex-husband.
- Breeda Wool as Faith Duluth (season 1), a contestant who is a shy and insecure Christian virgin.
- Monica Barbaro as Yael/”Hot Rachel” (season 2), a contestant who is an undercover reporter (posing as a fashion blogger), and who the crew calls out as the hotter, less damaged, not crazy version of Rachel.
- Denée Benton as Ruby Carter (season 2), a contestant who is a Black Lives Matter activist looking to use the show to promote her message.
- Kim Matula as Tiffany James (season 2), a contestant who is the wealthy daughter of an NFL team owner who hopes that being on Everlasting will help her step out of her father’s shadow.
- Meagan Tandy as Chantal (season 2), a contestant who is a beautiful and sophisticated southern debutante who is recovering from the death of her fiancé.
- Bart Edwards as Jasper (season 3), a contestant who’s a successful Wall Street investment banker who seems like he’ll make the perfect power couple with Serena.
- Alex Hernandez as Owen (season 3), a contestant who’s a firefighter and a single father looking for love.
- Adam Demos as August (season 3), a contestant who was a surfer who joined the Peace Corps to save the world.
- Alex Sparrow as Alexi (season 3), a contestant who’s a “bad boy” ballet dancer.
- Joe Abraham as Norman (season 3), a contestant who’s a jockey and a very confident elite athlete.
- Tyler Hynes as Billy (season 3), a contestant who’s a race car driver who lives by his own traditional and conservative values.
- Marcus Rosner as Warren (season 3), a contestant who’s a rancher with a cowboy attitude.
- Cameron Bancroft as Preston (season 3), an older contestant who’s a Miami real estate tycoon.
- Terry Chen as Guy (season 3), a contestant who’s a tattoed chef who is looking for any way to get ahead on Everlasting.
- Melvin Gregg as Zach (season 3), a contestant who’s a charming social media star.