Hacks Showrunners Tease What's Next For Jean Smart's Deborah Vance In Season 2

HBO Max's "Hacks" is one of the best new comedies on television, and the Emmy-winning series is set to return for a second season sometime in the (hopefully near) future. Now, in an extensive interview with Variety, the series' showrunners dropped hints about what legendary comedian Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) will be up to when the show returns.

As a refresher, season 1 of "Hacks" ended with Deborah heading on tour for the first time in years after losing her Las Vegas residency. At her side is Ava (Hannah Einbinder), the disgraced young comedy writer who eventually bonded with Deborah despite their vast differences. The show's biggest cliffhanger involved a heated email Ava sent, and then later forgot about, after a fight with Deborah. Ava may or may not have helped inspire a writers' room working on a show that casts Deborah in a bad light, and now the two are trapped together on tour with this secret between them.

Explosive emails and on-stage bombs

Showrunner Paul W. Downs, who also plays the duo's manager Jimmy in the show, addressed this time bomb during the interview with Variety. "Ava is in really desolate places, which is a great place for Deborah to hide the body when she does — if she does — find out about the email," he jokes. In the meantime, though, it sounds like the pair will be on the road, as fellow showrunner Lucia Aniello explains that the new season will feature "a lot of Americana and a lot of the country that gets covered." This seems like fruitful comedic territory for the show, especially when taking into account Ava's reliance on her LA bubble.

The group of showrunners, which also includes Jen Statsky, also touched upon some specific problems that will apparently arise on Deborah's tour. The comedian's attempts to pivot to less cliché, confessional comedy had mixed success in the show's first season, and apparently, her material won't go over well in season 2, either. "What we were most interested in exploring was what it's like for someone like her to keep bombing," Downs explained.

Downs shared that Deborah will be testing out new material at small venues, and went on to explain that repeated failure will put these characters in an interesting psychological place:

"It might be something novel and might be something exciting in the beginning, but someone like her who has fans that come to see her, and sells out a 2,000-seat theater in Vegas and crushes, what is it like when you're on the road in small venues and not doing well? What does that do to your spirit, and what does that do to your relationship, and what does that do to your psyche?"

This is thrilling new territory that feels like a natural continuation for the show, which at its core is about how two very different women handle pressure, fame, and failure. Between that fateful email and Deborah bombing on the road after taking Ava's advice, it sounds like "Hacks" season 2 is poised to include some major conflict between the two great leads.

There is no set release date for "Hacks" season 2, but all episodes of the first season are streaming on HBO Max.