‘Narcos’ Creator Chris Brancato Developing ‘Peaky Blinders’-Style Series About Irish Gangs In New York For MGM+

EXCLUSIVE Narcos creator Chris Brancato is developing a Peaky Blinders-style series about Irish gangs in New York.

Brancato has revealed the project in the past few minutes at Series Mania, and it is under working title The Westies. Deadline understands the project is in early development for MGM+.

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The showrunner, whose MGM+ show Hotel Cocaine is in competition in Lille, said he is working on the script and the series will be about “fearsome Irish gangs” with a starting point of the late 1970s.

Brancato talked the Series Mania crowd through his upcoming projects and said he is also mulling a couple of shows similar to Beverly Hills, 90210. He wrote on the series earlier in his career.

He is also sketching out a second season of Hotel Cocaine, a Casablance-esque show about a Cuban exile, and general manager of a hotel, the glamorous epicenter of the Miami cocaine scene of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

Hotel Cocaine is up against the likes of Annette Bening-starrer Apples Never Fall and Leonard Cohen series So Long, Marianne in Series Mania competition.

Hotel Cocaine is a “muscular crime drama” of the ilk that Brancato has made in the past, he told the Deadline-moderated keynote, with themes that reflect the modern day.

“I look for themes such as hedonism that was part of the American and worldwide culture at that time,” said Brancato. “Did it amount to anything? To examine this, you want to make a period piece to comment about and I think this offers commentary about today as well.”

If he gets a second season, Brancato said he will pick up from a “devil’s bargain” made by the main character played by Michael Chiklis and his brother, leaning into the wider cocaine trade in Miami and what was underpinning it at the time – the notion of a second American invasion of Cuba.

Brancato reflected on a three-decades-long career during which he forged Narcos, the smash U.S. Netflix hit that was one of the first to be filmed partly in another language. Since then, hits like Squid Game and Money Heist have exploded from different regions of the world.

“If you said one line in another language [back then], it was like, ‘Absolutely not’,” he added. “There was this prejudice against even a single line of subtitles.”

He said he told then-Netflix commissioning boss Cindy Holland that if the Narcos family spoke English it’s “going to be bullshit” and she said “OK.”

“I was so stunned walking out of there with the exec thinking what world we were in that we could do a show in another language.” He joked that he was then told Netflix was trying to expand to Latin America, so was “happy” with his decision.

Peak TV

Chris Brancato. Image: Patricia J. Garcinuno/Getty Images
Chris Brancato. Image: Patricia J. Garcinuno/Getty Images

The era of peak TV being over has been much discussed at Series Mania and Brancato acknowledged that fewer shows are being bought.

“You can’t go to Hollywood with a pitch now that isn’t perfect,” he added. “Things you would have sold five to seven years ago you now wouldn’t be able to. I don’t know if it’s risk aversion or the studios losing billions of dollars during the strike. There are a whole bunch of conflicting reasons why they will make less product.”

Series Mania finishes Friday and has featured keynotes from the likes of Netflix, Disney+ and HBO execs.

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