‘Veneno’ Creators Los Javis Team with Atresmedia, Buendía for Atresplayer Original ‘Cardo’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Popular on Variety

Veneno” creators, Javier Calvo and Javier Ambrossi, aka Los Javis, are re-teaming with Atresmedia TV and Buendía Estudios to produce Atresplayer Premium original drama series “Cardo.”

Co-created by Claudia Costafreda, a script writer on “Veneno” and also “Cardo” director, and actress Ana Rujas (“Toc Toc”), the project will reflect on the feminine beauty canons existing in society and the emptiness of the generation born between the mid-80s and the 90s -those who are now around 30 years old.

Series project is produced by Atresmedia TV in collaboration with Buendía Estudios -the joint venture launched last year by Atresmedia and telco Telefónica’s paybox Movistar Plus- and Los Javis’ production outfit, Suma Latina.

The arrangement means that “Cardo” is backed by the same trio that produced “Veneno,” a series which has earned the biggest international impact to date of any Spanish drama screening on Atresplayer Premium, the OTT platform run by Spanish media conglom Atresmedia.

“Veneno,” a bioseries on Spanish transgender icon Cristina Ortiz, was acquired last year by WarnerMedia to air on HBO Max, generating a strong buzz in the U.S. since its November release. It was also included among Variety’s 15 best international series of 2020. Further U.S. publications such as Time Magazine praised its quality; also TV stars such as RuPaul blessed the series on social networks. HBO Max will also release “Veneno” in Latin America.

The six-episode project “Cardo,” now at pre-production stage, is scheduled to shoot throughout this year, executive produced by Los Javis alongside Sonia Martínez, Buendía Estudios editorial director, and Montse García, fiction director at Atresmedia.

“Cardo” will tell the story of a 30-year-old girl who is going through a major crisis: She has a drug problem, is experiencing a toxic relationship with sex, and is broke and not satisfied with her body.

She tries to get a grip on her life but without any real introspection and with a sense of emptiness that leads her to a complete lack of responsibility. After years working in advertising as an actress as well as hosting several TV programs, she decides to leave behind her her sordid world and give meaning to her existence by helping Puri, a 75-year-old woman from a working-class neighborhood in Madrid, to avoid the closure of her florist.

After a humiliating encounter with her last partner, she suffers an accident that will change her life and force her to face some uncomfortable home truths.

“It is, above all, a generational story full of reality and grounded in truth. Many people will recognize themselves in the experiences, reflections, fears and concerns of the protagonist. It doesn’t matter where they were born,” said José Antonio Antón, director of programming, content and digital at Atresmedia.

“’Cardo’ introduces us to a 30-year-old girl who looks around and there are many things in her life that she doesn’t like, who wonders about beauty, about her future, who maintains toxic relationships … who in many ways feels lost,” he added.

“Like the protagonist of ‘Cardo,’ there’s a whole generation of boys and girls in the world who are in their thirties and are still looking for their place in the world. And it is in the authenticity and talent of its creators that much of the appeal of this project lies,” Antón said.

The series marks one of the newest projects moving forward at Los Javis’ Suma Latina and a further step in their close relationship with Atresmedia, which started in 2016 with comedy “Paquita Salas,” whose first season launched on Atresmedia’s experimental label Flooxer before becoming a Netflix original.

Suma Latina and Atresmedia Studios -currently integrated in Buendía Estudios- unveiled in 2019 an exclusive deal to jointly produce both fiction and entertainment contents.

Re-launched in 2019 as a pay TV platform, Atresplayer Premium has significantly increased its subscribers number, from 140,000 at the end of 2019 to above 300,000.

The platform forms part of Atresmedia’s transformation from a traditional broadcasting group to a digital content producer, giving the media conglom a new distribution window for Spain and the rest of the world.

“‘Veneno’ has been an unbeatable calling card for Atresplayer Premium showing what kind of content – in terms of innovation and quality – our pay platform can offer. As was the case with Atresplayer Premium itself, ‘Veneno’ has exceeded all our expectations, both within and outside Spain, being rated by American critics as one of the series of the year from all over the world,” Antón said.

“The fact that ‘Veneno’s success has feed Atresplayer Premium’ success has been possible because subscribers have found a platform with a content catalog that captivates them ‘Veneno’ spearheads everything that Atresplayer Premium can offer to users,” he argued.

Atresplayer Premium is also positioning as a key player for the Spanish TV fiction production sector, becoming the platform that premiered the largest number of local series in 2020. It looks set to maintain its commitment in 2021.

Among the new Spanish TV dramas that Atresplayer Premium will release during the first quarter of this year are the rambunctious comedy “Deudas,” starring Carmen Maura and created by Daniel Écija at Good Mood; “La Cocinera de Castamar,” a period drama produced by Buendía, toplining “Isabel”-star Michelle Jenner, and “Alba,” a Boomerang TV adaptation of Turkish hit “Fatmagul.”