In an unprecedented move, Kate del Castillo’s Cholawood and Fabrica de Cine’s Gaston Pavlovich, producer of Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” and “Silence,” have teamed up with Endemol Shine Boomdog (ESB) to co-produce “El Agente Mexicano” (“The Mexican Agent”).
The series is loosely based on the true story of Francisco García, a young photographer who is recruited by the CIA after inadvertently saving President Kennedy from an assassination attempt during a 1962 visit to Mexico.
In the first season, now being penned by Rodrigo Ordoñez (“This is Not Berlin,” “Diablo Guardian”), the naive photographer transforms into a genuinely ruthless spy. Carlos Bolado (“Only God Knows,” “Olvidados”) is attached to direct what promises to include elements of action, suspense and a good dose of romance. ESB’s head of scripted, Leo Zimbron oversees the production, which will likely run for multiple seasons.
In 2019, the Spanish-language division of Endemol Shine North America inked an overall development and production pact with Pavlovich. It also signed an overall development deal with Del Castillo (“La Reina del Sur”) and her Cholawood team as well as with International Emmy-nominated producer Marie Leguizamo (“La Voz Kids,” “Pequeños Gigantes”) and acclaimed actress-comedian Mara Escalante.
Digital media projects are also underway. In October, ESB teamed up with Ecuador-based Touché Films to develop content with its wildly popular Latin American YouTube Channel enchufe.tv.
“El Agente Mexicano” leads the vanguard of the company’s relatively recent push into scripted shows that began with “El Vato,” the International Emmy-winning bio-musical series about Mexican ‘Norteño’ singer, El Dasa, which aired on NBC’s Universo for two seasons in the U.S.
This was followed by bio-series “Nicky Jam, El Ganador”; a drama series about ‘70s pop band phenomenon Menudo in “Subete a Mi Moto,” co-produced with Somos Productions and Piñolywood Studios; and “Se Rentan Cuartos” (“Rooms for Rent”) a sitcom ESB is producing for Comedy Central and Paramount+ in Latin America.
Launched in 2017 through the merger of Endemol Shine Latino and Mexico City-based Boomdog, ESB has been ramping up its production of both scripted and non-scripted content for Mexico, Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic marketplace as competition and demand continues to heat up in the marketplace.
Indeed, Endemol Shine Boomdog (ESB) is booming. After months of inaction from the pandemic, all the shows that were suspended at the studio are now revving up, albeit with health and safety protocols in place.
Shows like “Se Rentan Cuartos,” hit competitive reality cooking show “MasterChef Mexico” and many others are shooting at ESB’s facility just outside the city which boasts two industry-size sound stages, one measuring 15,000 sq. ft. and the other, 10,000 sq. ft.
At least seven fiction and non-fiction projects are in different phases of production at the same time, said company CEO Alejandro Rincon, which is an unprecedented number. “Everything was pushed to the middle of this year so it’s been challenging to have them all going simultaneously,” he noted. Following health protocols has also raised production costs and pose an additional challenge.
The fledgling studio, which held its first Upfront in February this year, made its mark with a growing diversity of non-scripted hits with multiple broadcasters and platforms. These include “Mira Quien Baila” (Univision), “MasterChef Mexico” (TV Azteca), “Me Caigo de Risa” (Televisa), “The Masked Singer” (Televisa), “LOL: Last One Laughing” (Amazon), “Minuto Para Ganar VIP” (Televisa), “MasterChef Latino” (Estrella) and “Tu Cara Me Suena” (Univision).
“For the past three, four years, we have grown our relationships with writers and creators; to be also recognized as a scripted brand is a gratifying part of the journey,” said Rincon.
“Alejandro and our team at Boomdog are really hitting their stride right now,” said Cris Abrego, chairman of the Americas, Banijay and president and CEO, Endemol Shine Holdings. “Clearly we’ve all been impacted by the pandemic, but Boomdog is coming out of this period with some very strong development, a lot of exciting new deals for both unscripted and scripted series and renewals for many of our big hit franchises,” he added.
Upcoming projects include:
*“Cazatesoros,” (“Treasure Hunters”) a wacky obstacle game show for Mexico’s Azteca TV. The original format, “Cashback,” hails from Bunim-Murray Productions and Korean studio CJ ENM.
*A still untitled K-Pop competition series aimed at forming the first K-pop trained Latin American boy band with HBO Max and the Korean studio CJ ENM.
*“La Casa de los Famosos” with Telemundo. An unscripted reality show featuring celebrities sharing a house. To debut this summer.
*A Latin American version of hit global format, “Into the Wild with Bear Grylls.”
*“The Great Game of the Goose,” a new, contemporary version of the hit classic Spanish game show “El Gran Juego de la Oca.”
*“LEGO Masters” with host Franco Escamilla.
*“Antonieta,” a scripted drama developed in partnership with Pavlovich’s Fabrica de Cine.