The Walking Dead: Spinoffs and Future for Skybound Entertainment

TV megahit “The Walking Dead” will end its historic run on AMC this Sunday, but that conclusion does not signal the end of the franchise.

There are a slew of current and upcoming expansions to the zombie-happy franchise, courtesy of the production company that created it, Skybound Entertainment. CEO David Alpert, who co-founded the company with series creator Robert Kirkman, has plans for “Walking Dead” that go years into the future.

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“We think that there are opportunities to tell stories in this space for the rest of our natural lives,” Alpert said on the latest episode of the Variety podcast “Strictly Business.” The interview was conducted earlier this month at the Future of Television Summit, ahead of a lawsuit filed earlier this week by Alpert and other producers seeking profits from the franchise.

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There are already three “Walking Dead” spinoff series and three more on the way, as well as brand extensions from video games to wine. But as big as the franchise’s shadow looms, there are plenty of other intellectual properties blossoming at Skybound, including Prime Video series “Invincible,” Audible audiobook series “Impact Winter” and the upcoming theatrical “Renfield,” starring Nicolas Cage .

And like “Walking Dead,” which began as a comic conceived by Kirkman before jumping to TV, the other IP at Skybound is being created with no specific medium in mind. “I would say historically, production companies are oriented around a method of distribution,” Alpert said. “They make television to be shown on cable or broadcast. They make movies to be in theaters, or now in streaming. But we are organized around building IP, and connecting creators with their audience in every area in every medium they want to operate. And I think that’s the thing that separates us.”

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After securing another round of funding in May, Skybound is in growth mode, building out its capabilities in animation, audio and video game publishing. The company is also seeking investment from non-traditional sources, including Kickstarter, and is awaiting approval for a crowd-share raise in partnership with Republic, which will give fans of Skybound IP the opportunity to own a piece of the business.

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“We’ll have an opportunity to bring more people into the company, so they can feel like partners,” says Alpert, who is also on a Variety podcast in 2017

“Strictly Business” is Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of media and entertainment. A new episode debuts every Wednesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher and SoundCloud..



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