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.
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