'Vida' to End With Season 3 on Starz

Vida Production Still 2 - Publiticity - H 2018
Courtesy of Starz

Vida is coming to an end at Starz.

The Lionsgate-backed premium cable network said Wednesday that its previously announced third season of the Latinx dramedy from showrunner Tanya Saracho would be its last. The final season, which will consist of six half-hour episodes, will launch Sunday, April 26, at 9 p.m. Sources say Saracho, who is in the last of her three-year overall deal with Starz, penned the third season with an ending in mind. The showrunner, who gave voice to the queer Latinx community with the series, penned a letter to fans about her show's conclusion. (Below, read that in full — and watch the trailer for season three.)

While Vida has struggled to pull a large audience on the premium cable network, it ranks as a poster child for critical darlings. Seasons one and two both carry a rare 100 percent rating among critics on aggregate site RottenTomatoes.com. 

In a bid to widen the audience for season three, Starz will also offer the first season for free across its OTT and on-demand platforms as well as on Starz.com and the cabler's app.

Melissa Barrera (In the Heights), Mishel Prada, Ser Anzoategui, Chelsea Rendon, Carlos Miranda and Roberta Colindrez star in the series, which is produced in-house.

The decision to wrap Vida after three seasons arrives as Jeffrey Hirsch — who previously served as Starz's COO — has taken over as Starz CEO (replacing Chris Albrecht). Hirsch was formally given Albrecht's president and CEO title in September. Under his purview, Starz is more closely aligning itself with parent company Lionsgate. Nearly all of its scripted originals are now produced in-house by Lionsgate TV, with more in the works from the studio including offshoots of its well-known IP like Weeds and Blindspotting.

Hirsch's mandate, as he explained to critics in his first Television Critics Association press tour appearance since taking over the network, is to focus on what he called "premium female." He is looking for period dramas that resonate with the upscale and older female viewers who are drawn to the Starz hit Outlander. The cabler's roster includes Becoming Elizabeth, a growing number of Power spinoffs, Outlander, the long-troubled Fremantle drama American Gods, Courteney Cox horror comedy Shining Vale and wrestling drama Heels, among other scripted fare.

Here is Saracho's letter to fans, and the season three trailer.

I have not been able to write this letter — every time I try my palms get sweaty, my heart does a cumbia beat and I get nauseous. It’s taken me days. Because no matter how you slice it, this is a farewell letter. So I’ll get that part out of the way: Season Three will be VIDA’s final season. Rather than dwell on the ‘hows’ and the ‘whys,’ what I’m burning to get to is the ‘thank-you’ part. That’s the part that’s making my chest ache.

When I began this journey three and a half years ago, I never dreamed that by the end of the process I’d be so wholly changed — mind, body and spirit — and that I’d be standing so strongly in my abilities to run and create a TV show the way it should have always been created: By us. When I started this, the landscape was a bleak one for Latinx representation. In the television landscape, the narratives about us were few and far between and were stuck on stereotypical. And I had only heard of one Latina showrunner who’d been allowed to run a show solo. Also for brown queers, there was truly no representation.

This is where the thank-yous begin: Because you championed our delicate and darling little series, we were gifted three beautifully compelling, trailblazing seasons of television. Sincerely, this is why I wanted to personally write this letter, to express that your support has meant everything. It has meant two renewals and validation that our brown narrative is worth telling. I will never be able to thank you enough for your reception and endorsement. Truly.

This goodbye is too bittersweet for words. I’d be lying if I said I’m not sad about not getting back into that magical writers room to keep crafting our story. But after all, I got to tell the exact story I wanted to tell, exactly how I wanted to tell it, and that is rare in this industry. I leave steeped in gratitude. Thankful to Starz for not just allowing VIDA to happen, but for being great co-parents as we raised her together. And grateful for the collaborators whose careers we were able to launch: Latinx cinematographers, writers, actors — almost entirely female — who are now out there and in demand. What a beautiful family we built. And what a beautiful show.

Mil gracias. I do hope you’re able to give this, our last season, a good send off, because let me tell you, it is a powerful one. It is just as compelling as ever with some imagery and themes I’ve never seen on television before. I’m profoundly proud of it.

Servidora, Tanya Saracho