×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Remote Controlled: Skybound Entertainment CEO David Alpert Stands by ‘The Walking Dead’ Brand

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.

In this week’s episode, Variety’s co-editor-in-chief Andrew Wallenstein talks with David Alpert, CEO of Skybound Entertainment. While involved in a broad range of projects across media ranging from comic books to virtual reality, Skybound is best known as the production company behind “The Walking Dead.”

Asked how he felt about the steep fall-off in the ratings for the recently concluded season of the hit AMC series, Alpert expressed confidence in the vitality of his zombie franchise. He believes the audience that any given episode delivers the night it airs is an increasingly misleading metric for gauging the overall health of “TWD.”

“I don’t think in any way the brand has lost its relevance in general,” he said. “I think we’re just seeing a decline in urgency across all media to consume something at a specific time.”

Together with his Skybound co-founder Robert Kirkman, Alpert is betting that what will distinguish their company from the competition is using the “TWD” template to breed another generation of artists empowered to translate intellectual property across multiple media. To avoid the misfires too many content companies suffer along that path, Skybound envisions digital distribution connecting creators and fans in a way that will redefine entertainment and make good on Alpert’s ambitions to turn Skybound into the next Marvel or Pixar.

“The ability to connect digitally with our fans to find out what they want and serve them content from great creators, media agnostic — it’s not a little idea, it’s a huge idea,” Alpert said. “We could be the media company for the new millennium.”

Even Superfight, a social card game Skybound has helped turn into a phenomenon, is being developed to eventually be adapted into a TV series or movie. “In a world where Lego is an amazing movie, this is something you could do similarly,” Alpert said.

He also offered the inside scoop on what motivated Skybound to move from AMC to Amazon for an overall deal: Sharon Tal Yguado, Amazon Studios’ head of scripted programming, who worked with Skybound to turn “TWD” into a global juggernaut while she was still at Fox International Channels, which distributed the series all over the world.

While he also cited Amazon’s renewed interest in trying series that are broader than the prestige fare like “Transparent” that has succeeded for the streaming service to date, Yguado was also key to Skybound’s decision to come aboard. “It’s not just the fact that Amazon is one of the dominant companies on the planet, although it doesn’t hurt,” Alpert said. “It’s that, coupled with the fact that there’s a trusted partner there that made it possible for us to grow.”

You can listen to this week’s podcast here:

New episodes of “Remote Controlled” are available every Friday, and you can find past episodes here.

More TV

  • Tyler Perry

    Tyler Perry Sets White House Drama 'The Oval' at BET

    Tyler Perry has scored a straight-to-series order at BET for a drama set at the White House, Variety has confirmed. The series, titled “The Oval,” will introduce viewers to the new first family moving into the White House. Ed Quinn will star as President Hunter Franklin, while Kron Moore will play First Lady Victoria Franklin. The [...]

  • Kira Kelly Cinematographer Queen Sugar

    'Queen Sugar' DP on How Ava DuVernay Encourages Creativity on the OWN Series

    Cinematographer Kira Kelly, who earned an Emmy nomination for her work on Ava DuVernay’s “13th,” feels that her time spent on nonfiction projects over the past two decades has improved her ability to cope with the demands of shooting narrative fare.  The scaled-down resources — often just Kelly and maybe a focus puller or a [...]

  • MY SO CALLED LIFE

    'My So-Called Life' 25 Years Later: Claire Danes and Wilson Cruz Look Back

    When “My So-Called Life” debuted in 1994, there weren’t many portraits of gay teenagers on television. But Wilson Cruz changed that with his depiction of Rickie, a proudly rebellious high school sophomore who was a key member of Angela Chase’s social circle. As a true confidant to Claire Danes’ Angela, Rickie was both a TV [...]

  • Producer John Wells photogrpahed at his

    John Wells Productions Sets Rich New Deal With Warner Bros. Television

    John Wells Productions has renewed its ties to Warner Bros. Television with a rich five-year overall deal that will extend the prolific producer’s tenure at the studio to nearly 40 years. The deal, which is said to reach into nine figures, runs through 2024 and calls for Wells’ company to develop a wide range of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content