Cruel Summer announces big season 2 change as showrunner steps down

·2-min read
Photo credit: Freeform/Bill Matlock
Photo credit: Freeform/Bill Matlock

Cruel Summer creator Bert V Royal has officially stepped down as showrunner ahead of the psychological thriller's second season.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Royal exited the project last summer, having clashed with an executive at the ABC-owned cable channel after the pilot wrapped.

When the show made it to air, though, he was still given an executive producer credit and tagged as the writer for the first three episodes, and season one's finale.

Photo credit: Freeform/Bill Matlock
Photo credit: Freeform/Bill Matlock

Related: Parks and Recreation star Blake Lee breaks down "shock" Cruel Summer twist

The publication suggested that, despite this, Royal "chose to forgo any back-end profits" and stated that it's "unclear whether he will be compensated for the recently ordered second season".

Royal's representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

Released via Amazon Prime Video in the UK, the 1990s-set show follows two high school girls: popular Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt), who disappears without a trace one day in the mid-1990s, and high school outcast Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia), who essentially takes over Kate's life after she goes missing.

Photo credit: Freeform/Bill Matlock
Photo credit: Freeform/Bill Matlock

Related: Cruel Summer boss promises "all the answers" to season 1 mystery

The Sinner's Jessica Biel and Tia Napolitano are on board the follow-up instalment as executive producers, with the latter having replaced Royal as showrunner.

"Renewing Cruel Summer for a season two was an easy decision," Freeform President Tara Duncan gushed back in June. "It's the biggest series debut in Freeform's history and the audience response has been overwhelmingly positive.

"[Executive producers] Jessica [Biel], Michelle [Purple] and Tia did a phenomenal job telling an addictive story that’s tapped into the cultural zeitgeist. I'm excited to see where they take the series next."

Cruel Summer airs on Freeform in the US, and will stream on Amazon Prime Video in the UK from August 6.

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