Season 9 of Telemundo’s ‘Lord of the Skies’ Takes Off Feb. 13, Features Unprecedented Chinatown Location Shoot (EXCLUSIVE)

In an exclusive interview with Variety, Ronald Day, Telemundo’s president of entertainment & content strategy, drilled down on what has made action-packed series “Lord of the Skies” (“El Señor de los cielos”), the company’s longest-running Super Series franchise and a bonafide hit.

With Season 9 set to premiere Feb. 13, “Lord of the Skies” has earned its street cred across a spectrum of young adults, split evenly among males and females. Per Nielsen, its eighth season “ranked as the #1 drama series in primetime, regardless of language, 6 out of 9 nights since its premiere, among adults 18-49, and on 8 out of 9 nights among adults 18-34.”

More from Variety

Season 9’s trailer, loaded with explosive scenes and showcasing the first time the series shot in Mexico’s Chinatown, clocked more than a million hits in 24 hours, he noted.

Drug lord Aurelio Casillas, played by Mexico’s Rafael Amaya, is “relatable,” observed Day. Despite his ruthless nature, “he’s always out to protect his family, something that we’ll see more of during this upcoming season,” he said.

Season 9 follows Casillas as his son’s arrest triggers a wave of violence across the country while he seeks revenge. He will go to any lengths to reclaim his power and ensure the safety of those he holds dear.

“Since its original premiere ten years ago, ‘El Señor de los cielos’ has consistently been a trailblazer thanks to its high-octane production value and a talented cast led by Amaya,” said Day, adding that there are touches of humor that add to its appeal.

And then there are these statistics for Season 9:

  • More than 1,000 extras supporting a cast of 55 lead and ensemble cast members

  • 250 exterior locations across Mexico City and surroundings

  • 60 action scene events, including 30 explosions and an estimated 400 cars on scene

  • A crew of more than 500 people behind the scenes, from writers to stunt coordinators, costume designers, camera operators.

The stellar cast also features Carmen Aub as Rutila Casillas, Ivan Arana as Ismael Casillas, Isabella Castillo as Diana Ahumada, Africa Zavala as Mercedes “Mecha” de la Cruz, and Robinson Diaz as Milton Jimenez “El Cabo.”

Joining this season are Mexican actress Itati Cantoral as Belen San Roman, and Arturo Peniche with a special appearance.

“We are committed to choosing stories that are relatable to our audiences in the U.S. and across all our platforms,” said Day who looks forward to Season 10, which starts pre-production in three to four months.

Telemundo retains its position as the second largest Spanish-language network in the U.S., with an estimated 40% share of the marketplace.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.