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In a stunning move, Kirkman and his Skybound Entertainment company have exited their overall deal with longtime home AMC in favor of what is said to be a sizable two-year overall deal with Amazon Studios.
Under the pact, Kirkman will develop TV projects exclusively for Amazon’s Prime Video platform, which will also have a first-look deal with Skybound.
Skybound co-presidents of film and television Bryan and Sean Furst will oversee the Amazon project slate in conjunction with Kirkman and Alpert.
The deal reunites Kirkman with Sharon Tal Yguado, the former head of Fox International Channels who supervised the worldwide rollout of The Walking Dead and developed Kirkman’s exorcist comic Outcast for television before it was published. Tal Yguado joined Amazon in January as head of event series with a focus on science fiction, action, fantasy and horror series. She reports directly to Amazon head of originals Roy Price.
“Robert is a gifted storyteller who shares our passion for elevated genre storytelling that pushes boundaries,” Tal Yguado said. “Robert and the team at Skybound are some of the most innovative and fearless creatives in the business. Together, we plan to explore immersive worlds and bold ideas for Prime Video.”
Skybound is Kirkman’s imprint at Walking Dead publisher Image Comics. The company, co-founded by Kirkman’s longtime collaborator Dave Alpert, has been busy ramping up a slate beyond AMC’s The Walking Dead and prequel Fear the Walking Dead as well as Cinemax’s Outcast. The company has international play Five Year, VR series GONE for Samsung’s Milk VR and VR horror series Lies Within for Delusion.
“At Skybound Entertainment we strive to tell the best stories in the most unique and creative ways in an effort to always break new ground,” Kirkman said. “A forward-thinking company like Amazon is the perfect home for us. Their new foray into genre fiction has us at peak optimism for what can be accomplished during this unprecedented partnership. Sharon Tal Yguado has been an instrumental force in the success of Walking Dead and Outcast from Day 1. Being able to not only continue that relationship, but also expand it into new territory with the vast resources of Amazon, means great things are ahead for myself, David Alpert, Skybound and fans of awesome entertainment. Look out world, here we come!”
Kirkman is a big get for Amazon, which sources say has been making a push for genre fare that is said to be a top priority for the company’s CEO Jeff Bezos. Based on Kirkman’s comic book series of the same name, The Walking Dead is TV’s No. 1 scripted drama among the key advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic and a billion-dollar franchise. The series returns for its eighth season in October and has spawned a spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead, with Kirkman also executive producing Talking Dead and a few other comic book-themed docuseries.
The move is a blow to AMC, which has had a long relationship with Kirkman and signed him to his first overall deal back in 2015.
On the film side, Kirkman has an overall deal with Universal Pictures, where he’s been since 2015. He will next produce the feature Invincible, based on his long-running comic. The project will be written, directed and produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg for Universal. His film credits include Air, featuring Walking Dead star Norman Reedus and Academy Award nominee Djimon Hounsou.
Kirkman is repped by CAA, Alpert at Circle of Confusion and Katz Golden.
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