8:30am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Walking Dead' Creator Sells End of the World Drama Series
The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman is ready to explore the end of the world — again.
Kirkman and his Skybound Entertainment has sold drama Five Year to Korean streaming service Viki, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Based on an original story, the pre-apocalyptic series centers on a family living under the threat of a deadly meteor headed toward Earth. It will be filmed as a Korean drama. Viki has handed out a 16-episode order. The series will take place over five years, with Kirkman and Skybound Entertainment president and co-founder David Alpert overseeing the drama. A premiere date has not been determined.
"This has been a story I have wanted to tell for quite some time, but David and I wanted to make sure it found a proper home where it could grow and breathe creatively. Looking at what Viki has done in not only the dramatic series space, but transforming the way viewers consume and translate media, we knew immediately Five Year had found its home," creator and Skybound CEO Kirkman said.
Added Alpert: "As devoted fans of Korean cinema, television and culture, we're thrilled to be launching what we hope is the first of many collaborations with the Korean entertainment industry. Five Year, which tells the story of one family dealing with the impending apocalypse, is the perfect property to launch our partnership. It highlights the intense interpersonal moments that Korean dramas capture so well and sets them against the epic backdrop for which Skybound has become known."
Kirkman created Five Year after The Walking Dead. The concept had its roots with the idea of society knowing it had a finite end — unlike feature films Armageddon or Deep Impact, both of which explored meteors crashing toward Earth. The series, Alpert tells THR, is a metaphor for life in which everyone has an "end date," but nobody likes to think about it. The series will use the family to explore what people would do knowing that the world would end in five years — starting with denial, then acceptance and ultimately their reactions.
"The bang for the dollar they're able to get is amazing," said Alpert, who has been to Seoul dozens of times. "They do great dramas and interaction with people, but what they can't do on a k-budget is large-scale spectacle," he said, noting that Five Year will feature the epic scope but be told through the lens of a family to offer a more intimate and personal story a la finding love in wartime.
If successful, Alpert said they're open to having the Five Year format adapted worldwide or even dubbed for stateside distribution.
For Skybound, Five Year becomes its latest scripted series. The company also produces AMC's The Walking Dead, prequel Fear the Walking Dead and their companion talk shows. They next have Cinemax's Outcast, based on Kirkman's exorcism comic book of the same name. Last year, Skybound, which has its own Kirkman-led imprint at Image Comics, released its first feature film, Norman Reedus starrer Air. It also produces multiple ongoing comic book series, including The Walking Dead and Invincible, and has original series Gone, available on Samsung's Milk VR headset, as well as Scare PewDiePie, available on YouTube Red.
Kirkman is repped by CAA, Alpert at Circle of Confusion and Katz Golden.
Viki.com is a global TV site offering TV shows, movies and other premium content translated into more than 200 languages by fans. Viki is a subsidiary of Japanese Internet services company Rakuten.