El Chapo Drama Series in the Works at History

Chris_Brancato_El_Chapo_Split - Publicity - H 2016
Courtesy of History; Courtesy of ABC

Chris_Brancato_El_Chapo_Split - Publicity - H 2016

History is ready to tell the story of drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

The A+E-owned cable network has put in development #Cartel, a scripted drama exploring the global drug wars as told through the true story of El Chapo.

Written and produced by former Narcos showrunner Chris Brancato, the project is a co-production of ABC Signature — the cable-focused arm of ABC Studios — and A+E Studios.

The drama, which is in development with a script order, will follow El Chapo's rise to power and how drug cartels use social media to maintain their image, recruit new members and threaten rivals. El Chapo, who became Mexico's top drug kingpin and is considered the most powerful drug trafficker in the world, has fan followings with relationships in the entertainment and music industry (like Sean Penn) that go beyond the Mexican border and into the U.S. 

History described #Cartel as a story of power, money, sex and the human cost of the drug wars like none ever seen on television.

"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," History president and general manager Jana Bennett said in a statement. “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."

For his part, Brancato co-created and served as showrunner on Netflix's Pablo Escobar drama Narcos, which explores the notorious Colombian drug lord known as "The King of Cocaine." He exited the drama after its first season for a deal with ABC Studios and, this season, oversaw ABC's short-lived Biblical drama Of Kings and Prophets.

"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,” said Brancato. "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." 

El Chapo has made headlines in the recent past for his capture, escape and recapture from prison as well as his clandestine meeting with Penn and actress Kate del Castillo. He most recently was the subject of an Reelz documentary titled El Chapo & Sean Penn: Bungle in the Jungle.

Brancato is repped by WME and Bloom Hergott.

Should #Cartel go to series, it would join other History scripted fare including Vikings, straight-to-series military drama Six and Jeremy Renner-produced drama Knightfall.