Showtime partners with Rolling Stone for new docu-series

showtime orders pilot of news docuseries from rolling stone el chapo sean penn
Reuters/Rolling Stone
Showtime is in the early stages of developing a documentary series that will be based on popular Rolling Stone articles. The newtwork is ordering a half-hour pilot with the potential to make it an ongoing series, according to WWD.

The new show would focus on pop-culture news from the legendary music magazine. If the series gets picked up, it will make the company the third in a group of content producers to grab mostly-print publications for ongoing docu-series, following HBO’s Vice and Amazon’s New Yorker Presents.

Given the click-worthy content coming out of Rolling Stone recently — including a viral article about actor Sean Penn’s clandestine meeting with one of the world’s biggest drug lords — the partnership would likely be quite fruitful for the network in terms of viewership. That is, provided the production quality is high enough.

But quality shouldn’t be too much of a problem here; Showtime has a long history of creating top-notch content, and has partnered with Left/Right — the same company that helps the network create political documentary show The Circus — to craft the project. Rolling Stone’s head of digital operations, Gus Wenner, will work on the show as an executive producer.

Rolling Stone has had plenty of its own controversy spurred by investigative reporting, with the El Chapo story coming a little over a year after a botched investigative report on a fraternity-centered rape case at the University of Virginia, for which managing editor Will Dana was forced to leave the publication.

That said, viewers are always looking for interesting content, and they often need look no further than the pages of Rolling Stone to get it. That’s something that Showtime will is likely relying on to beat out the competition in the docu-news category.

If the project is picked up, the first episodes should hit airwaves and the Internet some time before the end of this year.

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