Amazon Prime’s ‘The Candidate’ A Showcase for Mexico City, Executive Producer Says

Award-winning writer/producer Peter Blake, whose credits include “House,” “Billions,” “The Practice” and “ZeroZeroZero,” trains his sights on Mexico’s narco violence and political corruption in bilingual series “El Candidato” (“The Candidate”), which bowed on Amazon Prime in July.

“When we met with Peter, we found out he spoke Spanish — aside from other languages — and gave him carte blanche to explore how he wanted to create the series,” said executive producer Juan Rendon, who noted that Blake ran the writers’ room as well as penned some of the episodes.

“He had a very good understanding of Mexican current events and politics when we first sat to discuss the project,” added Rendon, who used to run the documentary division of U.S. Hispanic TV network Univision, where he came across a number of untapped stories.

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Made under the 2018 pact forged between Mexican TV giant Televisa and Amazon Prime to produce premium TV content, “El Candidato” follows two CIA agents, one a grizzled vet played by James Purefoy (“Rome”) bent on capturing an omnipotent drug lord played by Joaquin Cosio (“The Strain,” “Narcos: Mexico”), and the other a rookie (Eréndira Ibarra of “Sense8”). The candidate in question is a mayor with presidential ambitions, played by José María de Tavira, whose TV credits include “Rosario Tijeras” and “Diablo Guardian.”

The rookie is given the unenviable mission to find out the connections between the mayor, her old flame and the drug kingpin.

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The series showcases Mexico City as the vibrant, wealthy metropolis that it is. “It’s almost a separate character in the show,” said Rendon, who applauds Blake for bringing a “well-crafted writing structure” to the series.

Shot on location between November 2018 and March 2019, “El Candidato” boasts a formidable production team led by co-directors Jaime Reynoso, who’s worked on big budget films shot in Mexico such as Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium, and Humberto Hinojosa, whose credits include “Luis Miguel: The Series” and “La Hermandad.”

Its stable of writers includes Ted Cohen (“Veep”), Max Hurwitz (“ZeroZeroZero”), Katherine Walczak (“The Flash’), Daniel Krauze (“Luis Miguel: The Series”), David Chasteen and Eva Aridjis (The Favor).

“El Candidato” also counts on the vast experience of one of Mexico’s most sought-after production managers/producers, Stacy Perskie, who has worked on a number of high-profile projects shot in Mexico, including “Narcos: Mexico,” Elysium, Godzilla: King of the Monsters and the 2015 James Bond film Spectre, noted for its astonishing Day of the Dead opening sequence in Mexico City.

While Amazon Prime does not give out viewing numbers, the reviews from Mexico have been first-rate. The show has stirred up considerable debate as it explores the extent of U.S. involvement in the country’s long painful struggle with narco violence and government corruption.

“The series discusses a lot of uncomfortable truths in Mexico,” said Rendon.

A second season has yet to be announced.

Pluto TV to Add Spanish-Language Network Nuestra Vision

ViacomCBS’s AVOD service Pluto TV will add Nuestra Vision, a Spanish-language network featuring Mexican programming for Hispanic audiences living in the United States.

The channel will be featured within the Pluto TV Latino category — a dedicated lineup of more than 20 channels on the platform for U.S. Hispanic audiences.

“Through the exciting addition of Nuestra Vision to the Pluto TV platform, we continue expanding our distribution as part of our mission to reach our target audiences, with premium content directly from Mexico,” Victor Herrera da Silva, CEO of Nuestra Vision, said in a statement. “As audiences continue looking for new and affordable ways to consume their favorite content, there is a great demand to deliver entertaining premium content that is also easy to access, and free.”

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“As Pluto TV continues working towards our mission to entertain the planet, increasing our global reach and weaving cultural resonance into our programming is very important to us,” Amy Kuessner, SVP, Pluto TV content strategy and global partnerships, said in a statement. “This partnership will allow us to keep moving forward in increasing our appeal and availability to audiences abroad.”

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Nuestra Vision provides a family-friendly offering, featuring a large Mexican movie library composed of more than 2,300 movies spanning from the Golden Mexican Movie Era to recent productions. Nuestra Vision also features sports programming, including live games such as men and women soccer tournaments, football games, boxing, lucha libre, baseball, and MMA, together with sports news and content. It also offers news produced live, as well as shows and interviews with Mexican and international talent and celebrities.