'Walking Dead' Creator Inks Overall Deal at AMC (Exclusive)

Robert Kirkman
Christopher Patey

Writer/creator/executive producer, "The Walking Dead"

AMC is putting Robert Kirkman on lockdown.

The cable network has inked the Walking Dead creator to an overall deal, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

See more 'Walking Dead' Comes to Life: From Comics to the Small Screen

Under what is said to be a rich, multiyear deal, Kirkman will develop new projects and continue to serve as executive producer on the zombie drama. Since its launch in 2010, The Walking Dead — based on Kirkman's long-running Image/Skybound comic book of the same name — has become TV's No. 1 drama among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 set. The series, which is produced by AMC Studios and distributed internationally by Fox International Channels, will launch a prequel/spinoff of sorts with Fear the Walking Dead, which premieres this summer with Dave Erickson serving as showrunner.

Read more 'Fear the Walking Dead' Boss Reveals Details of AMC's Big Spinoff

"Robert Kirkman is a remarkable creative talent, a partner and a friend," AMC and SundanceTV president Charlie Collier said. "We at AMC feel so fortunate to be working with him in-house and — beginning this summer, among other shared endeavors — extending our fight against the zombie masses to another major metropolitan area."

The overall deal excludes Cinemax's Outcast, Kirkman's latest comic-to-TV adaptation, which also marks the first time Kirkman has penned a pilot script. That series, which landed at Cinemax following a multiple-network bidding war, hails from International Channels — which identified Kirkman's exorcism comic and signed on early — as well as Circle of Confusion, which also produces both Walking Dead and Fear, the latter of which was picked up to series and renewed for a second season before its premiere.

In addition to Outcast and both Walking Dead shows, Kirkman has Chris Hardwick's post-episode Talking Dead series on AMC, which he executive produces.

Kirkman's deal comes as comic book adaptations continue to play a major role on both broadcast and cable. In addition to overseeing Image's Skybound comics imprint as CEO, Kirkman also has Thief of Thieves in development at AMC, with Circle of Confusion's Dave Alpert attached. Kirkman is also readying an adaptation of David Schulner's comic Clone for Universal TV and Syfy.

On the film side, Kirkman's Skybound Entertainment recently inked a two-year first-look film deal with Universal Pictures. Skybound recently made its first foray into film with Air, starring Walking Dead fan favorite Norman Reedus (Daryl), which is due in August.

With both Mad Men and Breaking Bad off the air, Kirkman and the Walking Dead franchise are increasingly valuable to AMC, since the cabler recently abandoned nearly all of its unscripted fare to focus on drama. AMC recently inked Walking Dead exec producer/director and special effects guru Greg Nicotero to a multiyear overall development deal as well. AMC Global will also handle international distribution for Fear.

Kirkman is repped by CAA, Circle of Confusion and Katz Golden. The Walking Dead returns for its sixth season in October, while Fear is set to debut later this summer.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit