Canceled by Atresmedia and revived by Fox Spain, the prison drama came back as one of the most watched and most anticipated premieres, conquering international audiences and becoming the first Spanish series to air on major international players.
The journey of Vis a Vis is an interesting one. The prison drama originally produced by Globomedia for Atresmedia, had a hit first season within the Spanish fiction arena. All the awards and good reviews were ratified by audiences: the first two episodes were seen by more than 4 million people and reached 20% share; the complete season averaged a 19.9% average (3.5 million).
The second season, however, did not have the same luck. It premiered with a 16.2% and the numbers kept going lower and lower until it reached 12.2%, managing an average of 13.9% until its latest episode last Wednesday.
Because of this, and facing the chance of further lows, Antena 3 - an Atresmedia network - made the decision to let the show end on a relative high note.
However, in July of 2017, FOX Networks Group (FNG) Spain, Atresmedia and Globomedia (Grupo Mediapro) surprised fans of the show with the announcement of a deal to produce the third season of Vis a Vis for a 2018 debut.
The show would be the first original production for FNG Spain and the second deal of this kind for Atresmedia, which signed a similar deal with Movistar+ to bring back Velvet.
With a new home, the Atresmedia original started a new phase on pay-tv with creator Iván Escobar as showrunner and most of the original cast, including Maggie Civantos, Najwa Nimri, Roberto Enríquez, Berta Vázquez, Alba Flores, Inma Cuevas, and María Isabel Díaz.
Set in an all-female prison, Vis a Vis (Locked Up), focuses on a young woman who is sent to prison after falling in love with her boss and committing several accounting manipulation and misappropriation crimes because of him. Once in jail, she will have to face the emotional shock of being incarcerated and navigate her way around the complicated relationship between the inmates.
A Return for the Books
As FOX Spain prepared to present the much anticipated third season of the show, it also announced it was planning to exploit the show's international success to make a third season that it defined as "more international".
As such, season three debuted on April of 2018 with eight 50-minute episodes, far better suited for the international market, and a "higher intensity"
And the bet was one worth taking: upon its premiere in Spain, the show reached a 12.5% share on pay-tv and an average of 151,000 viewers, according to consulting companies Dos30 'and Barlovento Comunicación.
Throughout the broadcast, up to 273,000 people contacted the series at some point. Likewise, Vis a Vis was the top national trending topic on Twitter. And in fact, the prison series became one of the most viewed shows on Fox Spain, second only to The Walking Dead.
On a different note, season three of Vis a Vis was one of the two television shows to be included in the prestigious Malaga Film Festival as part of the Malaga Premiere lineup.
And as the season progresses, Mediapro, parent company of Globomedia, confirmed the show has begun shooting in June its fourth season.
"Although we confirmed season four before the premiere of the current season, the good results and the level of acceptance it received from the general public and its fans, are the main reason for Vis a Vis' continuity under the baton of Iván Escobar," said Daniel Pérez, CEO of FOX Networks Group Spain.
Season four of the series will premiere on FOX Spain in 2019.
An Unprecedented International Hit
Despite its colorful history in Spanish TV, Vis a Vis' trajectory on the international market is just as remarkable. In fact, no matter what, the show will go down in history as one of the most successful Spanish series of the last few years as far as its international run is concerned.
Vis a Vis was the first Spanish show to have an open broadcast in the UK after being acquired by Channel 4 and its platform Walter Presents. Both season one and season two were aired and made available for on-demand viewing.
Also in the UK, the BBC was said to be interested in a possible adaptation of the show after commissioning a pilot following the acquisition of the development rights for the show in the UK.
The pilot was commissioned to production company Wall 2 Wall Media, owned by Warner Bros. Televisions Productions UK, and will be written by Tony Grounds (Our Girl).
Furthermore, the show also made its way to the US thanks to Amazon Prime Video and US Hispanic with Azteca America. There it made its debut on 2017 on the network's primetime.
And in Argentina, the fiction series created by Álex Pina has registered in the last few months a notable increase in popularity, where it's even more popular than in Spain, and is getting closer and closer to Money Heist - another Atresmedia unexpected hit in Latin America thanks to Netflix.
With further deals in territories like Mexico, Italy, and France, Vis a Vis is now available in more than 65 countries in five continents thanks Imagina International Sales and Atresmedia International Sales, which handle the international distribution.
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