By: Veronica Villafañe
Following the success of El Chapo, Netflix’s first co-production with Univision’s studio Story House Entertainment, a division of Fusion Media Group (FMG), the companies have struck a new deal to continue working together in at least five more projects.
The renewed partnership will kick off with the co-production of scripted drama series Tijuana. In the political thriller, after a leading Mexican presidential candidate is murdered, reporters investigating the assassination uncover a web of corruption that puts their lives at risk.
“The series’ main goal is to shed light on the struggles faced by these reporters as they try to do their jobs every day. In the time it took to write the first season of Tijuana, 12 reporters were killed in Mexico,” states Camila Jiménez Villa, CEO and President of FMG Studios.
It must be pointed out that the majority of Mexican journalists murdered were covering narco crime. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, over 40 journalists – including one in January of 2018 – have been killed on the job over the past 23 years.
While Tijuana’s focus will be political corruption and not another “El Chapo” drug lord tale, given the context of where the story is taking place, there will be a narco angle.
“The narrative tried to focus more on systemic failures. There are good people struggling to make things work in police departments and political institutions but the system doesn’t support their efforts. We do come up against narco crime but it isn’t the focal point,” says Jiménez Villa.
Casting for the series is currently underway and production is scheduled to start in March. Daniel Posada, who worked on El Chapo, will serve as a showrunner along with series creator Zayre Ferrer. It will air in the U.S. on Univision Network and debut globally on Netflix.
Univision’s FMG and Netflix will also co-produce two additional Spanish-language scripted series and two English-language docuseries in partnership with Fusion cable network.
“This expansion of our relationship with Netflix re-affirms the value of the content we’re producing,” states Jiménez Villa. “We will be increasing investment in production and expect to have nearly 200+ hours of programming by 2020 across scripted and unscripted in English and Spanish.”
El Chapo had a great run on Univision. The final episode of its second season, which aired in December of last year, attracted over three million total viewers. Since it premiered on Netflix, the series was one of the most binged by viewers in Mexico.