The End of UnREAL Is Near

Illustration for article titled The End of iUnREAL/i Is Near
Screenshot: Lifetime

The force of the stream is so powerful, it has washed UnREAL from the shore of network broadcasting and swept it onto the Hulu platform.


Hulu and Lifetime are still in talks with A+E Studios, according to The Hollywood Reporter, but it looks like the show’s fourth and likely final season will premiere on Hulu, where it has pretty good ratings. This is the kind of complicated streaming drama that executives get paid to work out, but all that matters is you will get to binge your favorite show about reality TV that isn’t reality TV:

UnREAL, which remains 100 percent fully owned by A+E Studios, may still air on Lifetime, though it is not expected to return until potentially 2019 — if it airs on the female-focused cable network at all. The deal, which is reminiscent of DirecTV’s pact to first air Friday Night Lights before the episodes ran on NBC, also helps A+E Studios generate additional revenue for its low-rated drama.


The Sarah Gertrude Shapiro and Marti Noxon-created drama didn’t air for a year-and-a-half before coming back in February with Season 3. It debuted with only 270,000 total viewers, though the numbers doubled in about a week of “delayed viewing.” The show was well-received critically its first season, and earned Shapiro an overall deal with A+E Studios, and both writers Emmy nominations and a Peabody Award, but there’s been some controversy on the direction of the series with subsequent showrunners. It’s not guaranteed that Season 4 is the end, but it likely will be—unless Hulu has another trick up its sleeve.

Contributing Writer, writing my first book for the Dial Press called The Lonely Hunter, follow me on Twitter @alutkin

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I’ve been meh on season 3 so far, I watch it occasionally but it’s not ‘appointment TV’ anymore. I think the first season was the best because it was so shocking and dark, but it’s kind of worn thin; I no longer care about the lengths these people will go to to make a terrible reality show. If they changed it so they were producing a different show instead of Everlasting, that could be an interesting change, but I just don’t buy anymore that Quinn is any sort of badass female executive producer when we’ve only ever seen her do one thing, and she’s always just barely hanging on to it. I’d watch her produce a *series* of shows, or some little mini-empire, but as long as she has to be on that Everlasting set every day her growth is stunted and there’s not much more for her to do. Ugh and Rachel. Get her out of there!