Netflix original to US broadcast TV for first time

Scripted-logo-460_2NARCOS_109_02194R.jpgNetflix has struck a deal with Univision for drug drama Narcos, marking the first time an original series from the SVOD platform will air on US broadcast television.

The deal, part of wider coproduction pact announced yesterday, is significant as Netflix’s original programming is considered by many to be the biggest emerging threat to broadcast TV ratings, though the Hollywood studios have long been open to producing for the on-demand platform.

“We are pleased to work with Netflix and leverage Univision’s unique reach and deep connection with our audience to introduce millions of our viewers to their ground-breaking series,” said Randy Falco, president and CEO of Univision parent Univision Communications.

English-language series Narcos’ free TV debut will be complemented by El Chapo, a drama about Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, which Netflix and Univision Communication’s production arm, Univision Story House, will coproduce.

This will launch in the US next year on Univision-owned UniMás, before going behind Netflix’s paywall. The series is separate to the reported History drama #Cartel, which also looks into El Chapo’s life and comes from one of Narcos co-creators, Chris Brancato.

El Chapo is a great example of how Univision continues to innovate and evolve with premium storytelling formats,” said Falco.

“The IP we’ve developed from more than 50 years of award-winning news and investigations gives us unique and innovative ways to tell stories in a way no other network can.”

Further to that, UniMás will also get Netflix original Club de Cuervos, which along with Narcos will launch to coincide with second season debuts.

“Promoting these original shows on Univision is a great way to further reach Hispanic audiences and help them discover Netflix,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer.

Univision has also acquired its first Spanish-produced drama, El Príncipe, from Mediaset Espana. The first two seasons of the series averaged a 25.3% share and 4.8 million viewers on Telecinco in Spain.

In related news, Netflix has acquired rights to high-concept action-thriller movie Wheelman, which comes from Joe Carnahan (The Grey, The A-Team), The Solution Entertainment Group’s Myles Nestel (The November Man, Machete) and Frank Grillo (The Purge), who stars and makes his producing debut.

Principal photography begins in the autumn, with J. Todd Harris, Chady Mattar and Scott Silver executive producing.

The plot follows Grillo as a high stakes getaway driver embroiled in a race to survive after a bank robbery goes wrong.

“We are looking forward to working with this stellar team to bring this action-packed film to our members around the world,” said Robert Roy, Netflix vice president of global film.