Narcos producer Chris Brancato is working on a show about El Chapo

The success of Netflix's original series Narcos has shown there's an appetite for stories shining a light on the gritty journey of a drug lord's rise to the very top - but Chris Brancato's new show on the History channel, #Cartel, promises to be a lot more than that.

"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," said Brancato, who co-wrote and produced series one of Narcos.

The show will follow the rise of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the modern day Pablo Escobar, who's been making headlines outside of South America for his escape from prison and subsequent re-imprisonment following an interview with Sean Penn. But it will also focus on the "stranger-than-fiction" world of drug cartels who use social media to recruit and threaten, but also maintain their image.

A young man holds up a sign reading
(Rebecca Blackwell/AP)

El Chapo's sons - who reports say are embroiled in a power struggle following his imprisonment between the old guard and the new - are very active on social media, often posting pictures across Instagram and Twitter of their gold-plated guns and super cars.

The kingpin himself has a legion of fans, as you can see above, as well as "relationships in the entertainment and music industry that stretch past the Mexican border and into the United States," according to a statement put out announcing the new series.

Importantly, the show will have a strong focus on the human cost of the drug wars. El Chapo may have permeated pop culture, with some newspapers having gone so far in the past as to label him a "celebrity", but bodies line the streets of Mexico as a result of his quest for power and money, and various governments' attempts to deal with that. Brancato's show promises to highlight these issues and tell these stories like "none ever seen on television."

The announcement follows a planned biopic on El Chapo starring Kate del Castillo, who helped arrange the kingpin's interview with Sean Penn.

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