This whole story is just bizarre to me. From The Verge:
If you were watching FXX at 1:30 AM EST [Monday] night, and are a fan of Robert Jordan’s 10,000 page spanning fantasy epic, The Wheel of Time, you were treated to an unusual surprise: the half-hour pilot of The Wheel of Time: Winter Dragon. Furthermore, you weren’t alone: In a statement released earlier today by Jordan’s editor and widow, Harriet McDougal, .
McDougal explains that "Bandersnatch [Jordan's estate] has an existing contract with Universal Pictures that grants television rights [to The Wheel of Time] to them until this Wednesday, February 11 – at which point these rights revert to Bandersnatch."
It appears Universal had been working with Red Eagle Entertainment to bring the series to the screen when they received the rights in 2008. However, the terms of Universal's contract with Jordan's estate and their involvement with Red Eagle Entertainment's pilot still remain unclear. Rick Selvage, the CEO of Red Eagle Entertainment, stated in io9 that the timing of the pilot was a factor in its sudden airing, and that it should be viewed as "a pilot for a high-budget production television series," with more announcements coming soon.
The Wheel of Time is an epic fantasy series written by Robert Jordan and later concluded by author Brandon Sanderson after Jordan’s death in 2007. It spans over 14 books and details the story of Rand al’Thor, the Dragon Reborn. The pilot itself portrays the events of the prologue to the first book, The Eye of the World, depicting events and characters from hundreds of years before the series is set.
With the massive popularity in Game of Thrones, itself famously adapted from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books, it’s easy to see why Red Eagle Entertainment would want to attempt to keep their rights to a similar epic fantasy series in an attempt to produce a TV series farther down the road. It's a shame it had to have been done in such a clandestine manner.