Severance was one of 2022’s biggest, most critically-acclaimed hits–an imaginative, audacious series that earned armfuls of Emmy nominations and helped position Apple TV+ as a force in prestige TV. The series stars Adam Scott as Mark, the division head of a shadowy biotech company that controversially uses technology to separate the at-work and at-home consciousnesses of its staff, and season one builds toto one of the crazier cliffhanger endings in recent TV history. A second season was practically a given, and it quickly became one of the most anticipated shows of 2023. But that second season still doesn’t have a release date, and a new report from Puck’s Matthew Belloni reveals why: production has been a chaos, and the new episodes have reportedly been “delayed significantly.”
Belloni wrote in his “What I’m Hearing” newsletter that Severance “has been plagued for months by pricey problems, including scrapped scripts and the dreaded showrunners who don’t speak to each other.” Severance was created by Dan Erickson, who had little industry experience prior to getting this pilot picked up. He was paired with veteran Mark Friedman and the pair never hit it off. Friedman initially planned to leave the show following the first season, and Ben Stiller, who serves as executive producer and directed much of the first season, interviewed several replacement options. But according to Puck, Stiller wasn’t enamored with any of the writers, and they wound up bringing back Friedman to mixed results.
“That didn’t work, scripts were a problem, and Apple—disappointed and embarrassed that they’d gone down the wrong road but looking at Severance as a hit and an awards magnet—started talking about Seasons 3 and 4,” Belloni wrote. Stiller ultimately hired Beau Willimon (House of Cards, Andor) to work on the third season, and Willimon wound up getting involved in the “back half of Season 2.”]
Another problem with the show is the soaring episode budgets, which reportedly reached $20 million per, and Willimon commands a hefty salary of his own. (In January 2022, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company doesn’t “make purely financial decisions about the content [on Apple TV Plus].”)
In an Entertainment Tonight interview from January, cast member Patricia Arquette warned fans that they should be scared, very scared,” about what the next season of Severance holds. The second season started shooting in late October 2022, and features Alia Shawkat, Gwendoline Christie, and Merritt Wever joining the cast.