Hacks season 3: Everything we know so far

Jean Smart as Deborah and Hannah Einbinder as Ava in Hacks
(Image credit: HBO Max)

Hacks season 3 is a go! HBO Max has officially ordered another installment of the acclaimed comedy starring Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder. The renewal comes a few weeks after the season 2 finale sent their characters, stand-up legend Deborah Vance and up-and-coming writer Ava Daniels, in different directions.

Hacks began with an aging Deborah struggling to hold onto her long-running headlining gig in Las Vegas. Faced with becoming irrelevant, she was paired by her agent with millennial Ava to freshen up her act for a younger audience. 

After developing respect for one another, they hit the road in season 2 to workshop Deborah's new act, finally honing it into a successful special. Yet, the diva fired Ava ... with good intentions. She wants Ava to leave the nest and fly on her own. If season 3 happens, it will likely follow their diverging paths. 

"We feel like this is only the second chapter in a larger story that we want to tell," co-creator and co-star Paul W. Downs told Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab). "And when we pitched the show, we actually pitched where the series would end, which is not what you saw in episode 8 of season 2."

Here's everything we know so far about Hacks season 3.

Hacks season 3 release date speculation

HBO Max has ordered Hacks season 3 but has not set a release date. 

“We congratulate Hacks‘ extraordinarily gifted executive producers and cast, and our partners at Universal Television,” Sarah Aubrey, HBO Max’s Head of Original Content, said in a statement. “We are overjoyed at the audience and press response to the new season, and glad to give viewers more of this gorgeous, hilarious, moving show.”

Season 3 is likely to follow the schedule of the first two seasons, which both dropped in May a year apart. So, our best guess is that Hacks season 3 will premiere in May 2023. 

Hacks season 3 cast

(Image credit: HBO Max)

While we don't have confirmation yet, it's impossible to imagine Hacks season 3 without Jean Smart as Deborah Vance and Hannah Einbinder as Ava Daniels. Deborah is a legendary, successful comedian modeled on the likes of Joan Rivers. Ava is a rising comedy writer who's seen some setbacks in her career. 

They may be joined by other returning cast members, including:

  • Paul W. Downs as Jimmy LuSaque, Deborah and Ava's manager
  • Carl Clemons-Hopkins as Marcus, Deborah's chief operating officer
  • Kaitlin Olson as as Deborah "DJ" Vance Jr., Deborah's daughter
  • Jane Adams as Nina, Ava's mother
  • Mark Indelicato as Damien, Deborah's personal assistant
  • Poppy Liu as Kiki, Deborah's personal blackjack dealer
  • Rose Abdoo as Josefina, Deborah's housekeeper
  • Meg Stalter as Kayla, Jimmy's assistant
  • Christopher McDonald as Marty Ghilain, CEO of the Palmetto Casino
  • Johnny Sibilly as Wilson, Marcus' ex-boyfriend
  • Angela E. Gibbs as Robin, Marcus' mother
  • Luenell as Miss Loretta, Robin's friend
  • Lorenza Izzo as Ruby, Ava's ex-girlfriend

Hacks always features some amazing guest stars (like Laurie Metcalf and Margaret Cho), so we expect some big comedy names to be in the mix for season 3.

Hacks season 3 plot and season 2 ending, explained

Hacks season 3 would follow up on the surprising ending of the season 2 finale, which sees Deborah fire Ava. The special, which they wrote together, experiences massive success, with several networks in a bidding war over the streaming rights. 

At a celebratory party, Deborah tells Ava, "You need to make space for your own work." She notes that Ava didn't take enough credit for the special. "You’re just like me,” she says, brushing away Ava's tears. “You’ve got your own mountain to climb."

Ava is shook. She's formed a deep bond with Deborah. Will they not talk anymore? Deborah replies, "Oh, you’ll see me ... in court!" (Deborah is suing Ava for violating the NDA.)

But later, Ava gets a call from Jimmy, who tells her that she's being offered a job on a new series and Deborah is dropping the lawsuit.

While this split feels like an end of something, the show's creators envision it as just another turn in the road. 

"I think for us it doesn’t feel exactly like storylines are closed or wrapped up," Jen Statsky told Decider (opens in new tab). " It’s more just that the characters are growing and progressing and we always said that we wanted this show to feel as real as possible and grounded. And we wanted to — especially with someone like Deborah as she’s learning these things about herself in her act and her act is evolving and she’s learning to hold herself more accountable — we wanted those learnings to be reflected in her behavior as well."

Kelly Woo
Senior Writer

Kelly is a senior writer covering streaming media for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.