Patricia Maya: Breaking TV Glass Ceiling?

Was the name “Real Rob” on Netflix a dig at the CBS show Rob?
Patricia Maya:  Absolutely!

By Bel Hernandez

Patricia Maya is a television producer on Netflix.  If you haven’t heard of her, it’s time you did.  She is not just a co-creator, head writer, and executive producer on Netflix’s comedy Real Rob, she is also one of the stars.  Not many Latinas can claim Maya’s credits.  In fact I can only think of one other, comedian Cristela Alonso whose show Cristela ran one season on ABC. Both these ladies share the distinction of being Mexican, co-creators of their show, executive producers, writers and stars of their own show.  But when Real Rob makes its second season premiere on Netflix this fall, Maya steps into a class of her own. 

Maya started her career in Mexico as a producer and writer for the network Televisa in various series such as Guerra de Chistes and Cuéntamelove (with sexologist and best selling author Silvia Olmedo) on Telehit. After moving to the United States, she continued writing for television on the series El Pelado de la Noche for Azteca America, where she also made her debut in front of the cameras as a co-host. Soon after that, she became a consultant on the series Rob on CBS, the 2012 ill-fated sitcom starring her husband Rob Schneider, Cheech, the late Lupe Ontiveros and Eugenio Derbez.

The CBS sitcom Rob was based on Maya’s and Schneider’s their real-life relationship, so when a Spanish actress was cast to play the Mexican Maya, it was a sign the show was was taking an odd turn.  The network saw no problem with a Spaniard playing a Mexican.  Maya tried to get on the writing staff, but her credits were not “Network Approved”, so they brought her on as a consulting producer, but creative contributions were not part of her job description.

When Rob premiered, it was immediately christened by TV critics as, “TV’s Worst New Show” of the 2012 TV season. It was cancelled after only eight episodes.  It was then Maya and Schneider knew that they had to do the “Real Rob”.

Netflix’s Real Rob is also based on Rob Schneider’s personal and professional life.  However, in Real Rob the show stars family, wife Maya and his daughters.  With the success of season one, currently available on Netflix, a second season is set to premiere this fall on what many consider the leader of online entertainment.

In the second season, Patricia Maya’s character evolves, adopting her own outrageous entertaining storylines. Just as in the first season, this second season will feature guest star appearances from several celebrities such as Carlo Mendez (Parks and Recreation, The Second Coming of Christ), Mexican actresses Mónica Huarte (40 y 20 – Blim/Unimas, Busco Novio Para Mi Mujer), Karyme Lozano (Quiero Amarte – Televisa), James Hong (The Blacklist, Kung Fu Panda), Chris Kattan (A Night at the Roxbury, Saturday Night Live), Haylie Duff (Material Girls), Danny Trejo (Machete) and Adam Sandler (Saturday Night Live).

While filming the first season of Real Rob, Maya not only conducted her writing, executive and producing duties, she also often cooked for the cast and crew, looked after their one year old daughter (and co-star), Miranda Scarlett Schneider, all while being pregnant with their second daughter.  But she was glad to do it, because on this show, she and  Schneider had the final say so as executive producers. They had something to prove.


They decided to self finance the first season themselves — 8 episodes of the Real Rob.  It was a gamble; bankrolling the show was a great risk, but one they were willing to take.

Once the show was in the can they took it to Netflix who acquired it and agreed to air the first 8 episodes. The show did well and at the conclusion of the first season, Netflix announced that is would renew, and now, bankroll a second season of Real Rob.  The had gamble paid off.

“It is the dream of all artists to have the creative freedom that Netflix allows and encourages,” Schneider told Deadline Hollywood upon hearing of the renewal. “I am grateful to have the chance to work with the amazing team at Netflix, Rodrigo Mazon and Larry Tanz. This is by far the best working experience of my career.”

For Maya the renewal was a validation that their investment and hard work had paid off.

This second season is very special to me. It was a big challenge because I had to divide my time to write along with my time being a  full-time mom to my beautiful daughter while I was pregnant with my second daughter. But thanks to my parents and my husband Rob’s support, it was possible to achieve. I hope that people enjoy this second season as much as I enjoyed playing the character of Patricia through her evolution and the new situations that the show presents,” she explained.

To be only one of two Mexican (one Mexican American) to write, produce and star in her own mainstream English-language TV show is a big deal and with the announcement of the renewal of the show, Latin Heat had to talk to Patrica Maya who is poised to become a TV force to be reckoned with.

Latin Heat How soon after the Rob on CBS show was canceled did you and Rob decide you were going to write your own show?

Patricia Maya:  The premier episode of Rob on CBS had 13.5 million viewers and the average was 11 million viewers which was great but it was pretty soon after its premiere that we made the decision to take the show in a different direction.

LH:  What do you say to people that would say to you that you cannot be an executive producer of a show because they might feel you have not paid your dues?

PM: I truly feel very fortunate that I have been working in the business for the last 10 years in the Latin American, US Hispanic Market and now transitioned to the domestic market.

To have the opportunity to work with my husband in a show that gives us creative freedom is an incredible opportunity. It really isn’t my responsibility how people feel about whether I’ve paid my dues or not. I’m blessed and proud of what I’ve achieved.

LH:  Was the name “Real Rob” on Netflix a dig at the CBS show Rob.

PM:  Absolutely!

LH: Why do you think this show works?

PM:  I think the show works because even though it’s over the top comedy and very exaggerated it’s still overall a more realistic look at marriage and life in show business. It’s a fun portrayal of our life.

LH:  You and Rob financed the series. Did you shoot it first and then take it to Netflix?

PM:  Yes, we financed Season 1 of the series which is the season you can currently see on Netflix. We loved the show and we were positive someone was going to buy it, we just didn’t know who.

LH:  Did you guys pitch or try to sell the show to Broadcast/Cable TV?

Our number one goal was always to be on Netflix, it’s the premier entertainment platform in the world.

LH: Did you ever worry that it was not going to get picked up?

PM:  Truthfully we didn’t. We bet and believed in ourselves.

LH:  Tell me the process and what aspects you were involved in?

PM: For season 1 Rob, Jamie and I wrote the episodes together and we concentrated in making 8 great episodes. While filming I was acting, casting, producing, cooking at night and taking care of an 11 month baby girl while memorizing my lines for the next day. We finished the 8 episodes, Netflix licensed the show and now we have the great fortune that they picked us up for a second season as a Netflix original series.

LH:  How hard is it to take on so much responsibility and be a mom and wife.

PM:  Just as hard as any other woman working and taking care of her family. It’s tough but worth it.

LH:  Why do you think audiences responded to your show despite some of the reviews of season 1?

PM:  We don’t pay attention to the reviews. We care about the Netflix subscribers and fans who really liked the show. Netflix provided them with what they wanted cause here we are, they picked us up for a second season.

LH:  Being on the inside of a broadcast TV show (“Rob” as a writers consultant) and now with Netflix (Real Rob), what are the differences in working with these two platforms?

PM:  Netflix is the best platform in the world and we have creative freedom. It doesn’t get any better than that.

LH:  What other projects, would you personally like to see on the air?

PM:  We have several other series and movies in development that we are working on and would love to see them on the air soon. That’s our goal!

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