MIPCOM 2012: FIC's Sharon Tal Yguado on Launching 'The Walking Dead' Globally

 Gene Page/AMC

CANNES – For Fox International Channel’s Sharon Tal Yguado, the irony in persistent rumblings about a feature film based on AMC’s The Walking Dead is the hit zombie drama debuted simultaneously worldwide in 2010, much like a Hollywood blockbuster movie.

“TV carries local brands in local languages. But it’s a different story when you talk about American content, especially with the Internet where global conversations are triggered,” Tal Yguado, executive vp of scripted programming and original development at FIC, told a MIPCOM panel on Tuesday on her channel’s unique release strategy with AMC.

She added that, beyond capitalizing on the global conversation about the TV adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s comic book, the risk of piracy also drove The Walking Dead to a global release strategy.

Of course, marketers have mostly done their job on a global movie release after the opening theatrical weekend.

The original 2010 near date-and-date globally release of The Walking Dead Series in 120 countries and 33 languages called for unprecedented coordination between FIC and AMC for the duration of the series.

And that included not a few sleepless nights for Tal Yguado when AMC changed the debut airdate for the first season, and inserted a hiatus into the second season.

“There were calls where Marci (Wiseman) gave me heart attacks, as when she said we’re creating a mid-season break,” Tal Yguado recalled of conversations with Marci Wiseman, AMC senior vp of business affairs.

For Gale Anne Hurd, who executive produces The Walking Dead, the second season hiatus gave the writing room a breather after the first seven episodes, and scope for two finales.

“We knew in advance that we were going to have the hiatus. So we completed two story arcs, and those sequences are still the most talked about,” Hurd recalled.

For the third season of the hit zombie drama, which bows on Oct. 14, AMC and FIC ordered 16 new episodes, up from the six in the rookie season and 13 in the sophomore cycle.

Series lead Sarah Wayne Callies said the third season has a new cast, which includes Brit David Morissey and Danai Gurira.

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