Robert Kirkman leaves AMC, signs new development deal with Amazon

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Robert Kirkman is one step closer to ruling the entertainment world. The creator of the hit-zombie drama The Walking Dead is walking over to Amazon Studios in a new two-year deal to develop TV projects exclusively for Amazon Prime Video. This ends his long-running partnership with cable network AMC, which previously was the home for many of Kirkman's television projects.

Amazon Prime will have a first-look deal as part of the contract, which means they get to develop any not-yet-written scripts on new and existing properties. Skybound’s co-presidents of TV & Film, Bryan and Sean Furst, will oversee the development along with Kirkman and Skybound co-founder David Alpert. 

“Robert is a gifted storyteller who shares our passion for elevated genre storytelling that pushes boundaries,” said Sharon Tal Yguado, Head of Event Series, Amazon Studios, in a statement. “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.”

The key player in the deal is Sharon Tal Yguado, who oversaw the international release of The Walking Dead and developed Outcast for television while at Fox International Studios. Yguado was added to Amazon Studio’s roster in January to oversee specifically the development and production of hour-long science fiction, action, fantasy, and horror series. Yguado, Kirkman, and Alpert are reunited in what could be an exciting new genre venture for Amazon as it broadens its original programming out from more real-world-based dramas and comedies like Transparent, Bosch, Mozart in the Jungle, Hand of God, Red Oaks, andThe Man in the High Castle.

“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 one. 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!”

This deal does not include shows that are already in production or development, including The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, Talking Dead, Heroes and Villains: The History of Comics, and Thief of Thieves for AMC, Clone for SYFY, and Outcast for Cinemax. Kirkman is extremely busy keeping several plates spinning. Last month, Kirkman, along with Joe and Anthony Russo (Avengers: Infinity War) and Noah Hawley (Fargo and Legion), will develop a crime drama called The Mastermind for the FX Network. But wait, he’s not done. On an international scale, Kirkman is also developing five seasons of a pre-apocalyptic Korean drama called “Five Year” that will air locally on Korean television and digital streamer Viki for the rest of the world. 

This also does not interfere with Skybound’s film ventures, including their first-look deal with Universal Pictures, where Air, which starred Norman Reedus and Djimon Hounsou, was made, and also where Kirkman is producing an adaptation of his long-running superhero comic Invincible. Skybound Entertainment has also entered the virtual reality medium with their first-ever narrative VR series, Gone, for Samsung’s Milk platform, and the upcoming horror series Lies Within with theatrical company Delusion. 

As the streaming war continues to wage, Netflix announced a deal to purchase comic writer Mark Millar’s Millarworld earlier in the week, and now Amazon has countered with this deal with Kirkman. At the very least, this has us thinking about other Skybound comic titles, like Manifest Destiny (watch below), Demonic, Ghosted, Redneck, and Birthright, which could be on the fast track to a new medium, as well as anything new that hits comic shops bearing the Skybound logo.

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