By now, Netflix is pretty well-versed in the art of the true-crime documentary and the latest addition to their roster of grim tales is stranger than fiction.
Killer Ratings delves into the story of Brazilian television host Wallace Souza, who, in an attempt to boost viewing figures, ordered murders to be carried out.
Souza was the host of Canal Livre, a TV show broadcast in Manaus, a remote town in the middle of the Amazon.
The programme was a hit but became embroiled in controversy when one of Souza's former bodyguards claimed the presenter was only able to make it first to a crime scene because he was responsible for the killings himself.
In 2009, the presenter-turned-politician was charged with a number of crimes, including murder and drug-trafficking and was kicked out of the state assembly.
However, he managed to evade police and disappeared, before eventually giving himself up. The following year he died after a heart attack.
The presenter was accused of ordering murders to boost ratings for his TV show. Credit: Netflix
The show is directed by Daniel Bogado (The Hunt for Boko Haram). Speaking to Broadcast Now about the making of the documentary, he said Killer Ratings was a show he had been planning to make for years.
"I first heard the story of Wallace Souza at the same time as everyone else - in August 2009.
"For a couple of days, the world was mesmerised by the strange story of a Brazilian television presenter who had been ordering the murder of criminals and then sending crews to film them in order to increase the ratings for his show. I wrote it down on my ideas list but presumed someone else would make a film about it before I got a chance."
The presenter was charged in 2009 but died of a heart attack a year later. Credit: Netflix
He added: "Numerous people - many of whom collaborated with police - were allegedly killed by the Souza criminal group. That's why people were, and remain, scared of talking. But the fact that they were still scared, years after the case finished, was encouraging: was there more to the story?"
As he delved deeper into the celebrity's story, Bogado says he realised there was much more to the story than he had first imagined.
He said: "What I thought I knew about Wallace Souza when I set out, turned out only to be the starting point of this extraordinary story. When I looked deeper, I saw the events that followed were full of the most jaw-dropping turns, twists and shocks which would be deemed too outlandish in a Hollywood script."
Killer Ratings will be available on Netflix from 31 May.
Featured Image Credit: Netflix