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Cruel Summer Creator Bert V. Royal Departs Freeform Drama

The creator of Cruel Summer is stepping away.

Per Deadline, Bert V. Royal is no longer involved in the young-skewing drama.

Royal is said to have left after the pilot amid disagreements with a Freeform exec.

No details have been revealed beyond that, but it's unclear whether the disagreements were about the show's creative vision.

In the entertainment industry, creative differences are not uncommon.

Cruel Summer is a psychological thriller that follows two young women: Kate Wallis, the popular girl with a charmed life who one day goes missing, and Jeanette Turner, the nerdy wannabe who is accused of being connected to Kate's disappearance.

All signs point to Jeanette's guilt, but is Kate really who she seems to be?

Set over three summers and told through shifting points of view, the series challenges perception and follows how one girl can go from being a sweet outlier to the most despised person in America.

The series stars Olivia Holt, Chiara Aurelia, Michael Landes, Froy Gutierrez, Harley Quinn Smith, Allius Barnes, Blake Lee, and Brooklyn Sudano.

While Cruel Summer Season 1 had soft on-air ratings, it was a mammoth success digitally, where it was declared Freeform's biggest show.

The series premiere the network's best-ever series debut among young adults, drawing an average audience of 3.81 million multiplatform viewers in the first week available.

It was also the network's best-ever series debut among Adults 18-49 (2.65 million) and Adults 18-34 (1.33 million).

In its linear debut, Cruel Summer Season 1 Episode 1 had around 250,000 viewers and a 0.1 rating.

Freeform announced a renewal ahead of the recent season finale.

“Renewing Cruel Summer for a Season 2 was an easy decision,” Freeform President Tara Duncan said in a statement.

“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 [showrunner] Tia [Napolitano] 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.”

Added Napolitano: “Collaborating with Iron Ocean, our dedicated crew, charismatic cast, and our partners at Freeform and eOne has been the best first showrunning experience I could ask for."

"I am beyond grateful and excited by the amazing fan response to our show! Continuing to bottle Cruel Summer magic for a Season 2 is an absolute dream come true.”

Remember you can watch Cruel Summer online right here via TV Fanatic.

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