FX Grabs Don Winslow's Cartel Novels to Develop for TV

The three novels, including the just-published 'The Border,' will form the basis of a drama series at the cable network.
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Don Winslow

FX has landed the rights to author Don Winslow's best-selling Cartel Trilogy of novels and will develop them for TV.

The project will be based on the three books in the series — 2005's The Power of the Dog, 2015's The Cartel and the just-published The Border. The books follow a DEA agent named Art Keller across the sprawling canvas of a 45-year war on drugs at the U.S.-Mexico border, encompassing power struggles in the cartels, cops in both countries, political corruption and the collateral damage caused by the drug trade.

Winslow and Shane Salerno (the Avatar sequels) will executive produce the project, and Salerno will co-write the pilot episode with a showrunner/executive producer to be named soon. Ridley Scott will also be an executive producer. FX is producing with Salerno's The Story Factory, which represents Winslow.

"I have known and respected Shane Salerno and Don Winslow for almost 20 years and am beyond thrilled to be working with them again on the series adaptation of Don's magnum opus — the trilogy made up of his three critically beloved and commercially successful novels," said FX CEO John Landgraf. "Don has masterfully woven his intricately detailed research into cartels and America's war on drugs into what is widely regarded as one of the great crime epics of all time. Nothing excites the team at FX more than the daunting challenge of helping great creators make a television show as ambitious and good as the epically acclaimed books on which it will be based."

Added Winslow and Salerno, "We have long admired the excellence that John Landgraf and his creative team have built and sustained across many years at FX, which makes them the perfect creative partner for us. These books represent over 20 years of our lives, and we care deeply about how they are adapted. We are excited to work with John and his team on what we hope will become the definitive television series on this subject matter."

The deal for Winslow's novels is the second major book acquisition FX has made this week. The cabler will also develop Patrick Radden Keefe's nonfiction book Say Nothing as a limited series with Color Force's Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson (American Crime Story, Pose).

FX has shown an interest in both the drug war and the border in the past: Current series Snowfall and the 2010-15 drama Justified dealt with the drug trade, and 2013-14 series The Bridge was set at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Winslow's deal was made by CAA and The Story Factory. Salerno's deal was negotiated by CAA and Robert Offer and Shelby Weiser of Sloane Offer.