Veep’s Showrunner Often Feels Like the Trump Administration Is ‘Stealing From Us’

The comedy’s final season ‘will surprise viewers,’ says Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Veep's seventh and final season will premiere on March 31. Colleen Hayes/HBO
Headshot of Jason Lynch

It’s been more than a year and a half since Veep has been off the air, but the critically acclaimed HBO comedy will be returning with a bang for its seventh and final season, which premieres on March 31 and will focus on Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Selina Meyer as she runs for president.

“She’s as true to herself as she could possibly be when this season ends,” Louis-Dreyfus said at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif.  “Where our show ends up, ultimately, is a place I’m very happy about. And I think it will surprise viewers, too.”

But in addition to trying to stand out among other TV comedies, Veep has the additional challenge of competing with the often-outlandish moments from the Trump administration.

“Given our current political climate, it’s been more challenging for us to push boundaries,” said Louis-Dreyfus, who pointed out that no political parties are identified on Veep, nor are many real-life modern politicians referenced. “We’re in an alternate universe, and that’s helpful—particularly now.”

With the Trump administration, “sometimes it feels like they’re another show and they’re stealing from us,” said showrunner Dave Mandel.

By the end of Season 6 in June 2017, Mandel knew how the show was going to end, but didn’t know at that time how long it would take to reach the endpoint. HBO let him and the other writers “explore” and “we reached a natural point, storytelling-wise,” he said.

Season 7 will only be seven episodes long, but “there’s more than 10 episodes of material jammed into them,” said Mandel.

When production shut down as Louis-Dreyfus battled breast cancer, it allowed Mandel the time to change some story details at the end of the season, “which I’m so happy we did,” he said. “That’s something I’ve never done before, which is deviate from the plan.”

Mandel said many Veep viewers “fall into a trap, and assume someone is Trump and someone is Hillary” on the show, which is not the case, he said. In the final season, “I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised, in a hopefully funny way.”

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.