The new 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.’
FROM THIS EPISODE
Shari Redstone vs. Les Moonves: the battle rages on. CBS made the extraordinary move of asking a court for a restraining order to stop Redstone from interfering with a board of directors meeting. The judge denied that request, but pointed out Redstone does have an obligation to CBS shareholders to not do anything that would financially endanger the company. The CBS board voted to dilute Redstone’s stock, but it was more of a symbolic gesture because Redstone made a last-minute rules change that required a unanimous vote to do so.
The new 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.
More From The Business
Jon M. Chu and Kevin Kwan on the crazy gamble of 'Crazy Rich Asians' Author Kevin Kwan and director Jon M. Chu passionately wanted the movie version of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ to play in theaters. So they turned down a huge offer from Netflix and took their chances with Warner Brothers. Chu and Kwan talk about what they did for love when they made the first major studio movie to feature an all Asian cast in years.
Director Desiree Akhavan on ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ After her first feature premiered at Sundance to strong reviews, director Desiree Akhavan thought finding money to make a second film would be a snap. But after striking out in LA, Akhavan’s quest to make another project ultimately landed her in London. She tells us why she thinks the Brits are more open to her ideas, and talks about her newest film, ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post.’
Banter update: CBS CEO Leslie Moonves accused of sexual misconduct in New Yorker exposé Late on Friday afternoon, a New Yorker investigation by Ronan Farrow dropped, revealing accusations of misconduct against Leslie Moonves by six women. The CBS board met on Monday and announced that Moonves would remain at work while the board works to hire outside counsel to conduct an investigation.
Director Matt Tyrnauer on ‘Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood’ A new documentary explores the incredible life of 95-year-old Scotty Bowers--a prolific pansexual pimp to the stars. Bowers says he set up liaisons for celebrities from Cary Grant to Rock Hudson to J. Edgar Hoover--all from his base in a gas station on Hollywood Boulevard. Director Matt Tyrnauer tells us about his film, ‘Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood.’
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Healing sexual assault through cabaret On a recent Saturday night in Hollywood, a bar was packed with 20 and 30-somethings drinking, talking have having a good time. They were here to see a variety show,… Read More
Without China, who will take our recycling? China’s new recycling policies have upended recycling programs all around the country and here in LA. During the first quarter of 2017, California exported 54,000 tons of mixed plastics. In… Read More