Site deal a first as Kaplan toon moves from 'Net to net

HOLLYWOOD – Icebox.com has licensed “Zombie College” to Fox to develop the Web toon into a live-action, half-hour pilot for the network’s 2001-02 programming season. Pact marks the first time a series has made the jump from the Net to one of the major networks.

“Zombie College” was created by Eric Kaplan, a writer and producer on Fox’s “Futurama,” and is animated by Smashing Ideas with ani director John Rice.

Webisodes focus on the travails of Scott, who gives up MIT to follow his girlfriend to Arkford University, a school populated by zombies.

Opening windows

“As in film and television, entertainment that starts on the Web will need many different distribution windows to realize its full economic potential,” said Steve Stanford, CEO and co-founder of Icebox.

“It is very difficult to reach profitability on advertising alone. While advertising will continue to be an important revenue stream to us, we will also focus on building a second-run Web syndication business, forming international distribution partnerships and developing pay-per-view and subscription services.”

Stanford expects the Netco to be profitable by the end of 2001.

Icebox’s “Starship Regulars” was licensed to Showtime in August to be produced as a half-hour, live-action series to bow next summer. Icebox will receive rights payments, backend revenues and producing fees.

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