Amazon Forges Deal with Robert Kirkman, Creator of 'The Walking Dead'

By Cara Lombardo Features Dow Jones Newswires

The creator of "The Walking Dead" has agreed to develop new programming that will air exclusively on Amazon.com Inc.'s streaming service, the web giant said Friday.

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Under the partnership agreement, Amazon will get a first look at new offerings from Robert Kirkman and the company he cofounded, Skybound Entertainment.

Mr. Kirkman, whose comic books inspired "The Walking Dead," AMC's popular show about zombies, will remain attached to his existing shows at the cable network, a person familiar with the deal said. In addition to "The Walking Dead," slated to enter its eighth season this fall, those include a spinoff called "Fear the Walking Dead" and a comic-book documentary series.

Amazon has been bolstering original programming on Prime Video, its streaming service available to Amazon Prime members who pay the $99 annual fee, in an effort to attract new members. Analysts have estimated that Prime members spend more than double what nonmembers spend on Amazon.com.

The company said the deal with Mr. Kirkman comes amid a push to expand science fiction, fantasy and horror offerings on Prime Video.

"Robert is a gifted storyteller who shares our passion for elevated genre storytelling that pushes boundaries," said the head of event series at Amazon Studios, Sharon Tal Yguado, who also had a hand in "The Walking Dead."

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Mr. Kirkman, whose company has also produced a virtual-reality series and has plans for another, said in prepared remarks that working with "a forward-thinking company" with the vast resources of Amazon would help Skybound further its ambitions to break new ground in storytelling.

The news comes days after rival streaming service Netflix announced it had made its first acquisition, purchasing comic-book publisher Millarworld for between $50 million and $100 million. Millarworld, founded by Mark Millar, is best known for characters and stories such as Kick-Ass and Old Man Logan.

Shares in Amazon were up 1.17% midday Friday.

Laura Stevens and Joe Flint contributed to this article.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 11, 2017 12:48 ET (16:48 GMT)