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Nickelodeon buys Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles For $60 million



sg_tmntHow many versions of a television show for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles can we possibly have? If you’re Nickelodeon, the answer may be “at least one more.”

Viacom’s children’s programming channel, Nickelodeon, has just acquired global rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles entertainment franchise from the Mirage and 4Kids Entertainment for a reported $60 million.

Nickelodeon said on Wednesday that the network plans to develop a new CG-animated TV series that is expected to co-inside with the release of a live-action feature-length film in 2012. Viacom’s goal will be to revamp and reintroduce the 25-year-old franchise to a new generation despite the multiple versions of the television show airing on Saturday mornings on the CW Network.

“Mirage has been the proud keeper of the Turtles’ brand since 1984, and in 2009 we celebrated their 25th anniversary with our legions of fans,” said Gary Richardson, CEO, Mirage Studios. “Nickelodeon is a powerhouse global brand, and we are confident that the company will be a wonderful steward for Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello and all the other TMNT characters and take them in all kinds of exciting and new creative directions.”

“We enjoyed our eight-year partnership with Mirage during which 4Kids and Mirage re-launched the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise for a new generation of kids around the world,” said Alfred Kahn, Chairman and CEO of 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. “We will also work with Mirage and Viacom so that our Turtles’ licensees can be assured of a seamless transition.”

As a result of the deal, the CW network will lose its animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series next summer. CW jointly produced the series with 4Kids and Mirage.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is global property created in 1984 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in the form of an indie graphic novel. After the comic book became successful, the franchise was changed to focus mainly kids. It became a hit animated TV show, a live-action television series, and later spawned four theatrical releases. TMNT also has translated into consumer products business with DVDs, video games, toys and more. Ninja Turtles has generated billions of dollars.

“Why did I sell the TMNT?” Creator Peter Laird wrote his blog yesterday. “There are a number of reasons, but first and foremost is that I have been doing this TMNT thing for twenty-five years, sixteen of them in partnership with TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman and the last nine as sole owner of the property. That is a long time. It is almost half my life (I’m 55). I never expected to be working on the same thing for this long. And it has worn me down. I am no longer that guy who carries his sketchbook around with him and draws in it every chance he gets. … I miss — I really, really miss — being that guy.”

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