Channel 5 and others buy breakout zombie series The Walking Dead

UK free-to-air broadcaster Channel 5 is among a handful of buyers for The Walking Dead, the zombie series that has been a huge breakout hit for cable channels AMC in the US and FX, which has international pay TV rights.

Five has taken free-to-air rights in the UK in a deal concluded by the distribution division of Entertainment One (eOne).

In France Orange has taken the premium pay TV rights and in Israel DBS has picked up pay TV rights.

eOne said it was close to sealing more deals for the series, which is produced by Frank Darabont and based on the comic book series from Robert Kirkman.

In the US the show has been AMC’s biggest hit, delivering much better ratings than its other high-profile original series, which include Mad Men and Breaking Bad.

It has been the most-watched basic cable series ever in the US in the 18-49 demo. Fox International Channels launched the series internationally this fall and it has also delivered good numbers around the world.

A thirteen-episode second season has been ordered and will deliver late next year.