Cast member Angie Cepeda attends a screening of "Love in the Time of Cholera" on the closing night of the American Film Institute's (AFI) Fest 2007 film festival in Hollywood November 11, 2007. (Photo : REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)
Despite his controversial persona and notoriety, people always seem to be attracted to the legend of Pablo Escobar.
The same holds true for Telemundo's latest TV Series, "Pablo Escobar: Boss of Evil" which finished its first week with stunning ratings and viewership.
The program brought in an average of 2.1 million viewers through its first five days, including an average of 1.2 million viewers in the 18-49 age-range per day. That figure represents the second highest novela premiere week in Telemundo's history among adults aged 18-49. Only "La Reina del Sur," another drug related novela, performed better in its first week with audiences aged 18-49.
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More impressive of all was that "Escobar" outperformed CBS and NBC each night last week at 10 PM among adults 18-34. The show averaged 1 million adults ages 18-49 each night and took in 31 percent of that age group watching major Spanish-language television broadcast networks that include Telemundo, Univision, and Telefutura.
The show itself has been hailed as one of the "great television programs of the 21st Century" by El Tiempo critic Omar Rincon, who added that the show was more revealing about Colombia than the news. When the program premiered in Colombia it garnered more than 11 million viewers in its opening episode, a record for Colombian television.
The biopic was written and produced by victims of Escobar's violence. Juana Uribe, Caracol's vice president for programming, wrote and produced the series. Her mother, reporter Maruja Pachón, was kidnapped by Escobar and her uncle Luis Carlos Galán, was also murdered by the cartel.
Uribe's co-producer, Camilo Cano, was 20 years old when Escobar's henchmen killed his father, the director of El Espectador newspaper. His father wrote anti-Escobar articles which eventually drew the drug lord's attention. He had Cano killed just days before Christmas in 1986, when his car was strapped with an explosive.
The show is based on the book La Parabola de Pablo by Alonso Salazar and traces Escobar's rise from small-time thug and cigarette trafficker to becoming one of the richest and most powerful men in South America.