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‘Younger’ Boss Darren Star on Liza’s ‘Watergate-Level’ Lie, Season 4’s Extended Episodes

Variety logo Variety 6/28/2017 Danielle Turchiano
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Darren Star is ready for the fourth season of his hit TV Land comedy “Younger” to premiere. In fact, the show’s executive producer has been ready for quite some time, given that the network announced the renewal last June, just as the show was entering production on its previous season — a season in which Liza’s (Sutton Foster) secret about being a 40-something masquerading as a 20-something in the publishing world was revealed to her boyfriend, Josh (Nico Tortorella), as well as to her partner in a new millennial imprint, Kelsey (Hilary Duff).

All those twists will play out in season four, reveals Star.

“What the show’s about is how one relatively small lie can just metastasize and have big, big ramifications. And that’s the story of what’s happening here and what [will] continue to happen,” Star tells Variety. “Let’s just say, in Watergate it wasn’t about the break-in, it was about the lie. And that’s the same with Liza: it’s not about [her age], it’s about that she’s lying, and the lie has continued to grow, and the betrayals can sometimes snowball.”

It was Liza’s feeling of betraying Kelsey that led her to confess to her friend at the end of season three, but her sudden honesty will obviously not come without consequences, as now Kelsey feels that betrayal as well. “It felt like the only way she could redeem herself was to tell Kelsey, and I think her attitude in telling Kelsey was a little bit about letting the chips fall where they may. Her desire to not be lying to Kelsey, someone who she has this very intimate relationship with, was more important to her than doing her job at that point,” Star says. “[Their] relationship will continue to be the core of the show, but it changes in a necessary way.”

Kelsey now has power over Liza at work. Once equals, the young woman could out her former cohort or more simply dangle the knowledge over her, using it to keep Liza in line. Just how Kelsey makes her newfound knowledge work for her will reveal itself quickly in the fourth season, but Star doesn’t want anyone to count Liza out.

“Liza has to juggle a lot of balls. She has loyalties to people she loves [and] she wants to keep working — her job is important — and by the end of the first episode you understand why she feels compelled to keep her lie alive,” Star says. “[But] I think the most important thing to know about Liza is she is very determined to stay in the publishing business, to stay in that world. She’s going to [find a way to] grow in terms of her job and her work, which makes what she has on the line to lose even greater.”

To add to the complications in Liza’s life this season, reveals Star, Josh and Kelsey will “bond in unexpected ways” over their shared experience with Liza, Charles [Peter Hermann] will continue to be a distraction-slash-temptation at work, and her daughter [Tessa Albertson] will experience a crisis that reminds Liza — and the audience — who she really is and why she does what she does.

The show is growing this year, Star says, not just in story but in actual size, as well.

“This season is about is learning a little bit more about all of the characters,” he says. “We’re having a chance to deepen them, and one reason [for that] is we’re having a longer running time at TV Land. Some of these episodes are going to be able to run, in the first airing, up to 25 [or] 26 minutes, and they’ll be that way on demand [as well]. The second airing — the reruns — will be a little shorter, but we have some longer running times and time to tell longer stories. We’re very happy about that,” Star tells Variety.

“Younger’s” fourth season premieres June 28 at 10pm, with a 12-episode fifth season already announced.

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