The series ‘Vida’ on Starz follows two sisters returning home to East LA after the sudden death of their mother, Vidalia. They soon learn that their madre had some big secrets and some big debts, and that their old neighborhood is rapidly gentrifying. ‘Vida’ was created by first-time showrunner Tanya Saracho, who started as a playwright in Chicago. When an agent convinced her to try writing for TV, her first experience on ‘Devious Maids’ was less-than-ideal. Saracho tells us how she went from being a token diversity hire to running premium cable’s first all Latinx writers room for ‘Vida,’ which has now started production on a second seson.
FROM THIS EPISODE
It was known that Ronan Farrow had been working on his Harvey Weinstein expose for NBC before ultimately taking it to the New Yorker. Now, two new stories, one from the Daily Beast and one at The New York Times shed light on what was going on behind the scenes. There are allegations that NBC’s legal counsel threatened Farrow if he took the story elsewhere and that NBC News president Noah Oppenheim was possibly leaking details of Farrow’s reporting to Weinstein himself. Farrow’s producer at NBC has also gone on the record, saying that the story was killed by someone at the highest levels of NBC.
The Starz series ‘Vida’ follows two sisters, Emma and Lyn Hernandez, who come home to LA’s Boyle Heights neighborhood after the death of their mother. They soon discover that the late Vidalia had some big secrets--including the fact that she had been married for the past two years to a woman.
Younger sister Lyn, played by Melissa Barrera, takes this news in stride, while chilly older sister Emma--played by Mishel Prada--is furious--partially because their mother’s relationship affects their inheritance.
The show also explores the rapid gentrification happening in East LA, complicated in part because it’s been brought about by upwardly mobile Latinos.
Vida was created by our guest today, Tanya Saracho, a playwright who ran a Latinx theater group in Chicago before moving to LA to pursue TV writing. She tells us about the initial bumpy transition from theater to TV and how a temporarily debilitating spinal infection brought her to a realization that she wanted to be a “f***ing boss.”
Saracho shares how Starz has been supportive of her every step of the way, even when she asked for an all Latinx writers room, all female department heads, and opted to make several of the show’s characters queer. She also talks about the difficult moment when her show got pushback for filming in Boyle Heights and the production changes she made based on that feedback.
‘Vida’ is currently in production for season two.
Showrunner Tanya Saracho, right, on the set of 'Vida,' with stars Mishel Prada and Melissa Barrera. Courtesy of Starz.
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