With both DC Entertainment and Marvel Studios either producing or developing a number of projects over the next few seasons and their fellow indie powerhouse BOOM! Studios signing a massive first-look deal with Fox, IDW Publishing has thrown their hat into the crowded comics-to-TV arena by spinning off a new division, IDW Entertainment, who will be solely focused on developing IDW's properties for the small screen.
While the publisher has had success with licensed properties like Judge Dredd, The X-Files and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic in recent years, it's their creator-owned original properties that are of interest to veteran television executive David Ozer , who has worked with Sonar Entertainment, Starz Media/IDT Entertainment and DIC Entertainment in the past. In his new role, Ozer will work with CEO Ted Adams to identify, develop and oversee brand extensions across IDW Publishing’s portfolio of comics and graphic novels for the global television market. A key focus for the division is the financing, development and production of television series with the goal of securing straight-to-series commitments from networks, like the one Gotham just got with NBC.
“IDW Publishing’s significant growth over the past several years, particularly in the theatrical arena with a number of properties currently in development at major studios, together with the ever increasing popularity of our creator-owned titles, have provided us with the ideal opportunity to expand into multi-platform entertainment,” said Adams. “David’s depth of distribution and finance expertise in television, coupled with his production knowledge and his extensive relationships within the entertainment community, make him the perfect choice for spearheading our aggressive move into television.”
Like BOOM! and Dark Horse, IDW allows for creator-owned titles that give the publisher a stake in the property, so when it's developed for other media, everyone involved in the original publication gets a financial benefit.
“IDW Publishing’s properties have a proven track record and built-in appeal with today’s sophisticated entertainment consumer,” said Ozer. “Given the Company’s growth and subsequent financial success, investing in the development and production of its projects into television programming is the next logical and strategic step in growing IDW’s media empire, and further solidifies IDW as a key player in both the theatrical and television entertainment arena.”
Circle of Confusion, Executive Producer The Walking Dead, will oversee packaging and creative development of the division and will executive produce the company’s projects. Rick Jacobs will continue to run point on these efforts.
“The timing couldn’t be better for IDW Publishing to invest in television production,” added Jacobs. “IDW is a powerhouse of creativity, and the film studios recognize that potential. By financing its own television projects, the company is now poised to become a major player across all media platforms. We’re very excited to continue to help expand IDW’s reach beyond publishing.”
The initial focus will be on the development of a slate of properties from the company’s catalog including: Life Undead, to be co-executive produced by Chris Pollack, with showrunner Paul Zbyszewski, who wrote the comic book, attached to the project; Brooklyn Animal Control, based on the comic which was released in March 2013 from writer/director J.T. Petty and artist Stephen Thompson; and V Wars, edited by New York Times best-selling author Jonathan Maberry, for which IDW Entertainment is already in talks with an as-yet-undisclosed network.