“#Cartel” will explore the global drug wars through the true story of Joaquin Guzman, better known as El Chapo, following the kingpin’s rise to power. Unlike drug lords of decades past, El Chapo has fan followings with relationships in the entertainment and music industry that stretch past the Mexican border and into the United States. The History project will reflect that by taking a look inside the stranger-than-fiction world of drug cartels who use social media to maintain their image, recruit new members and threaten rivals.
History has ordered a script for the first episode. The potential series is being produced by ABC Signature Studios and A+E Studios.
“As we expand the canvas of topics covered by History to include events of the recent past, we are pleased to be teaming with Chris Brancato on this project,’” said Jana Bennett, History’s president and general manager. “The true story of El Chapo, fraught with murder, drugs, corruption and celebrity, has been and continues to be one of the most disturbing and fascinating of the past decade. Chris is the perfect person to bring this slice of modern history to the screen.”
Brancato commented, “I’ve long been an avid viewer of History, so it’s a thrill to work with them on this story about the intersection of technology and crime. The show is a metaphor for the lives we present on the internet, the secret selves we reveal in supposedly private communication, and the risks of not-so-humble-bragging on social media.”
History’s project comes in a timely fashion. El Chapo was splashed all over the news recently, following a shocking interview with actor Sean Penn that resulted in a media firestorm. Earlier this year, he was re-captured in Mexico, after efforts to produce a biopic led to his whereabouts.
Brancato has experience in the drug lord genre of television, as co-creator and showrunner of Netflix’s Pablo Escobar series “Narcos.” However, the writer/producer exited the show during its first season for a deal with ABC Studios, which lead to him oversee ABC’s short-lived biblical drama “Of Kings and Prophets.” With ABC Signature producing, “#Cartel” is the next project to come out of his pact. His other credits include “Hannibal,” “Terra Nova” and “Boomtown.”