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In the second season of “Un” are a caustic “Everlasting” producer named Quinn and her ambivalent deputy, Rachel, whose character clearly owes a lot to Shapiro.
In the twentieth and most recent season of “The Bachelor,” the contestants included Amber, Becca, and four Laurens.“I told a lot of people to fuck off.” Lifetime wasn’t sure of the match, either: its head of research found the show-within-a-show conceit too dizzying.Since then, the partners have grown” has won a Critics’ Choice Award and a Peabody Award, and Lifetime is thrilled to have an acclaimed show that attracts a hipper audience.Shapiro has the reality-TV-show habit of thinking of people in epithets, and to her a showrunner is a Wubby—slang for a child’s security blanket.A Wubby is there, in part, to insure that scripts are written on time and that scenes won’t be too costly to shoot.She does a good imitation of his irritating growl: “Hey, Rach!
” She was proud of the fact that Season 1 had easily passed the Bechdel test.
Shapiro wants to build on her success by aiming the series more directly at the kind of viewer who admires such challenging shows as “Girls” and “Transparent.” The studio has a more conventional ambition: Season 1 averaged 3.7 million viewers an episode—paltry numbers. Shapiro believes that she can accomplish both goals, and has transferred this desire to her alter ego.
Lifetime is determined to transform “Un” into a ratings hit. In the writers’ room, she described Rachel’s motivation in Season 2: “It’s really about ‘I’m savvy enough and smart enough that I know I have to give the network all the frosting and the froufrou and all the titties that they need, and in the process I’m going to slip them this super-important thing.’ ”On whiteboards, Shapiro and her writers had sketched out a pointedly different trajectory for Season 2.
In 2013, Shapiro, an unknown who lacked an agent, sold “Un” to the network after a friend walked her into the office of a studio executive there.
Shapiro presented a twenty-minute short that she’d made, “Sequin Raze,” which centered on a reality-show producer.
“Un” chronicles the making of a show-within-a-show, “Everlasting,” in which twenty women compete for a handsome man’s hand in marriage.