‘Hacks’ Writers Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs And Jen Statsky On Their Second Emmy Nom And Getting To Write For A “Gifted And Incredible” Cast

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Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs and Jen Statsky scored their second Emmy nomination on Tuesday in the Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series category for their work on Hacks. The series netted 17 Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series and an Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series nomination for Aniello.

Having won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series last year with the pilot script of Hacks, the trio of writers took on the challenge of trying to one-up themselves. “That was the challenge of the whole season,” Downs laughs. “We really wanted to raise the bar and deliver an even stronger season than season one, and it’s so gratifying that the academy recognized us in even more nominations this year. It’s really unbelievable.”

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This year, the script submitted for consideration was the season 2 finale, “The One, the Only”. “One thing that we try to do with every season of television is to really build towards a climax,” says Aniello, “and have character stories kind of come to a head and intertwine and interweave in a way that heightens everybody’s characters and relationships… We felt like [the season finale] was one that was hopefully worthy of people’s love.”

Hacks revolves around the dysfunctional relationship between Deborah Vance and Ava, played by Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder. Both Smart and Einbinder have received Emmy nominations this year, with Smart having won an Emmy for Hacks last year. “We’re so incredibly happy and proud of them for the nominations,” says Statsky. “As a writer, it’s such a gift to get to write for an entire cast, including Jean and Hannah, that are so gifted and incredible. And it really widens the breadth of what you can do. We know that anything we write they can deliver on, and take it to another level that we didn’t even expect. To have actors that can elevate the material is just such a wonderful gift.”

The writing trio doesn’t have time to rest, as they are already working on the next season of Hacks. “We’re currently in the lab cooking it up,” says Downs, “and we’ll be doing that for quite some time.”

“All Hacks, all the time,” says Aniello. “We’re beyond thrilled with the reception of season two, and it really means so much to us that people really connect with the show. Whenever somebody says, ‘I love it and my family watches it,’ or ‘I watch it with my wife or my husband or with my kids or my parents…’ That’s the thing that we hope the show does, and it’s really gratifying that it can bring people from different walks of life, much like Deborah and Ava, together. These nominations and all the attention is amazing because it means that our cast and crew that work so tirelessly get to have their time in the limelight, but for us, I think it’s really just about what people tell us that it does for them and how they feel about the show, and ultimately that’s the most incredible feeling.”

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