tmntnick tmntnick

Meet the new Nicktoon

Disney buys Marvel, so it only stands to reason that Nickelodeon would pick up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

But Nick didn’t just buy the old TV shows and movies, they bought the property in its entirety, including the merchandising rights and the ability to make new series and TV shows.

MTV Networks acquired the global rights to the Turtles from The Mirage Group and 4Kids Entertainment for roughly $60 million dollars. Nickelodeon plans to develop a new CG-animated TMNT television series to premiere in 2012 and, in partnership with Paramount Pictures, a new Ninja Turtles feature film for 2012.

One of the most popular kids’ television programs of the 1980s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was created in 1984 by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird as an independent comic book. Note, the current network TMNT animated series now running on CW4Kids Saturday morning will continue to air through Aug. 31, 2010.

  • Good God Y’all.

  • I loved these guys when I was kid. Donatello was always my favorite. Hard to believe they’re back in action.

  • Dave G

    That’s thinking outside the box.

  • So happy this stuff is still around. So many memories. I loved Eastman and Laird as a kid. Inlcuding the spin-offs like the Mighty Mutanimals, and April O’Neil’s comic series. :P

    I have to dig up all those comic books some day. They should really do another live action one. The first one was awesome.

  • Don’t forget the videogames! TMNT is huge among young Wii owners.

  • William

    I wonder if this affects Lionsgate’s release plans for the original series on DVD. I believe they just issued Season 8.

    If so, I hope Nick re-releases them with proper restoration. Some of the existing ones look simply atrocious.

  • Tom D

    And yet they passed on Silverhawks and Street Sharks.

  • Uh…cowabunga?

  • I will not argue against The Ninja Turtles being an amazing thing – but couldnt Mtv invest a little more time, money, and effort into creating some new and fun to watch – intelligent ideas are not of the past – Enough of this recycling old material crap already!

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Didn’t expect this to happen personally.

    Yet I end up having near 20 year old memories of dressing up as one of them guys for a Halloween dance party in junior high. :-)

  • jordan reichek

    I suppose this is a good investment for Viacom. Who doesn’t like to make money from an established property?

    What I don’t get, is how Nickelodeon, a company which profited a hellava lot more from creating/developing their own properties in-house, has severely pulled back from that tactic.

    If, say, Disney wanted to buy out the Spongebob property from Viacom, wouldn’t it sell for a lot more? I don’t know what Steve Hillenburg’s deal was with Nick to develop the show, but I’m fairly certain it was less than $60 million.

    Going back to the Frank Zappa comment you quoted a few months ago, where are the execs that will spend little to make a lot? Why is there so less being developed internally these days?

    I find it hard to believe that there is just nothing else out there that could generate income other than spending money on 20 year old properties.

    It like watching someone inherit a working farm, letting the crops die and then buy top priced produce from the grocery store to stick in their fields.

    What I’d give for Forty Acres and a Mule!

  • At Tom D:

    they also passed on Samurai Pizza Cats.

  • Dan F.

    What would be really interesting is if the team behind Avatar got behind this. I know it wouldn’t happen, but it’d be interesting.

  • The Nicktoons program has lost all meaning.

    Are there any new original Nicktoons being developed? Is SpongeBob the only such giving the network income anymore?

    Or has any kind of originality been banned from network television? :(

  • Fred Cline


    The unfortunate problem is that a company can develop 20 awful ideas that fail for every 1 Spongebob-sized hit show. That can be much more expensive that acquiring a pre-sold property that already has a profitable licensing arm.

    That being said, Nick did NOT purchase Strawberry Shortcake or Pound Puppies! TMNT seems to have a great fan base.

  • 40 acres and MULE!!

  • Jason

    **What would be really interesting is if the team behind Avatar got behind this. I know it wouldn’t happen, but it’d be interesting.**

    It’d be beneath them.

  • Nickelodeon is already hard at work developing a computer animated TMNT series for 2012… and they may as well, to help “make it their own.”

  • It’s always amazing to us what sticks and what doesn’t.

    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!!??

    But the funny thing is, they’re great…..from the names to their origins, to their original look.

    Our kids love ’em!

  • Rob

    I like the idea.
    I think the subject matter is fun, and actually really enjoyed the 2006? movie. A little disappointed they’ll be focusing on a cg tv-series (based off the film, presumably) instead of a second film.

  • ask

    I was associated with one of those “different, original Nicktoon titles that never built up steam” a few years ago… and now I see them buying adaptations of superhero names and 80’s properties?! What happened to Nick supporting fresh animation ideas?!

  • I am truly shell-shocked by this decision. Now I know how Marvel devotees felt when Disney bought the House of Ideas. But I have to say, in a way, this is potentially worse than the Disney/Marvel thing. At least Disney is keeping Marvel pretty the way’s been going prior to the merger, and all the players at Marvel are still in place (for better or worse). This doesn’t clarify if anyone involved in the Turtles’ history (like Steve Murphy, Dan Berger and Ryan Brown) will guide the franchise’s future.
    One that worries me is that if the Turtles are exclusively under the Nickelodeon brand, does this mean an end to TMNT stories geared towards older audiences? I’m not saying that the Turtles have to be dark gritty, but what I love about the comics from Mirage is that they had some quite genuinely mature storytelling and character development. Will the original Mirage comics even get more reprints?
    What about the TMNT movie Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures were going to make? It’s kinda like how Sony is making the Smurfs even though Nick and Paramount were originally producing it (I think they may have even been well into production). It would be profoundly surreal if the TMNT movie were taken away from WB in the same year they announced the TMNT movie that was supposed to come in 2011 (which it still make that date?).
    This could work out if they hire people who know, love and respect the TMNT franchise. There’s potential for a good series and movie but they need to hire the right people.

  • Marc Baker

    The sad fact is that pitching an original idea to a network is now considered a ‘dangerous’ risk with no guarantee of success. when they see an original idea, they think, ‘who’s gonna watch this? Where as something that already has a pre-existing fan base will guarantee huge returns. they’re was a time when Nick took chances of the ideas of John Krisfalusi, Steve Hillengurg, and Butch Hartman, and their creations made them millions. Now, suddenly, Nick is opting to play it safe with an established property. I guess you can’t keep a good turtle down. Anyway, this could be an indication that the current ‘Turtle’ series could be on it’s last legs since the syndication market is deader than disco, and hasn’t found a network to showcase it’s reruns. (Heck the original series hasn’t been seen in years, too.)

  • Mesterius

    Ninja turtles “back in action”? Well, the truth is they’ve been back in action since the early 200s, when co-creator Peter Laird started reinvigorating the series… first, with a new, quality black and white comic book with a continuing story; then, with the new cartoon TV series (2003-) which generally stayed far closer to its dark comic strip counterpart than the old series from the 80s. I’m worried about this whole deal. Will Nick have a chance of handlign the Turtles as well as one of its creators? Will they even care?

  • Jason

    I guess Nick gave up on new toons riddled with Kricfalusi and Hartman influences, on account of the fact they all flopped. So now they’re doing it the Disney way. Kinda understandable, yet very very sad…

  • TMNT has many distinct timelines – the original comic book series, the Archie Comics timeline, the Image Comics timeline, the 1987 cartoon series, the 1990s movies, the 2003 cartoon series, the 2006 film, the Japanese anime (shudder). At this point, I don’t know how one can reconcile the diverging timelines (or would want to), but I’d hate to see another reboot.

    You’d figure something like Groo the Wanderer or Usagi Yojimbo would get a television series by now, as long as we’re talking 1980s cartoon properties. I’d even go for a Matt Howarth cartoon.

  • Odeon

    Nick has been floating on Spongebob for ten straight years. They know Squarepants can’t rule forever as their highest rated program. Their choices in new material were not nearly as good as Spongebob, on any level. So they made what they think is a safe choice.

  • All I gotta say is: Eastman & Laird can’t possibly be worried about the recession.

  • Jeff Nichols

    So… how long until Viacom takes all the clip off of Youtube?

  • i hope this doesn’t somehow affect the release of the comic book collections. the first volume came out in may. it includes the first 12 comics and the oneoffs that tie in to that storyline. it’s really awesome and i’d be bummed if they didn’t continue because now nick owns the rights or something.

    though since the books are already published maybe it’s not an issue.

  • Bit of a surprise. $60 million though, I thought the turtles were worth more than that.

  • According to my sources, the TMNT comics produced by the artists at Mirage will cease. Mirage will close officially by the end of the year.

    Kevin Eastman, who is no longer part of Mirage, continues as publisher of Heavy Metal and Peter Laird has maintained a separate comic book imprint. Whether or not Laird will continue in comics remains to be seen.

  • The best thing that could come of this is that Alex Deligiannis could finally get a chance to help out on a TMNT cartoon. Check out his website, he works at Nick on The Fairly Oddparents and creates some awesome TMNT art on the side.

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    Does EVERYTHING have to be a corporate property these days?

  • Nothing is as powerful as 1980s nostalgia.

    Not even quality.

  • Mesterius

    Mike Dobbs:
    “According to my sources, the TMNT comics produced by the artists at Mirage will cease. Mirage will close officially by the end of the year.”

    According to the weblog of Peter Laird himself (, it is currently unknown whether or not Mirage will close or continue on with other projects. As Peter writes:

    “Mirage still exists, and it’s still my company. It just doesn’t own the TMNT intellectual property anymore. I’m not sure what its future will be. (…) What I am hoping, however, is that this little core group of creators sticks together, both as friends and collaborators. And I think that is certainly possible. — PL”

    So in one sense, it does seem like Peter would like to continue on with some new project with his crew, if the desire to do so strikes him.

    Also, he mentions that because of him being tired of all the day-to-day work on Turtles, “the production of TMNT Volume 4 comics has slowed to a crawl. That’s not good. I have a conclusion planned out for that series, and at some point I want to get to it. Maybe this sale will help me get to that point. We’ll see.” Which seems to suggest that he maybe has the option to do more Turtles comics if he feels like it. Not easy to tell excactly what’s gonna happen.

  • Phil


  • This is interesting news.

    I think the original TMNT graphic novels really rocked.
    I have always, ALWAYS wanted to see a loyal translation of
    the books in animation form, with that great dark tone and style.

    Remember, all 4 head-bands were RED?!
    Mannnnn, those were the DAYS.

  • Anna

    2000s – the year all the 80s nostalgia was bought out and remade by fanboys. Thus ruining not just one decade, but two!

    if I wanted to watch old shows – I’d bust out the VHS & DVDs. Oh wait.. I already do that as most of current tv programming bores me to tears.
    Very well, NICKToons, You got my attention for a few episodes when they happen

  • CartoonCrazy

    Totally radical.

  • Dock Miles

    I’ve never quite gotten TMNT — should have been a savvy, graphic-decent satire of ’80s comic-book trends that lasted 10 issues tops. Like the kung-fu hampsters thing, right?

    Instead, it’s like Spinal Tap becoming as big as Led Zep and nowadays mentioned in the same breath. Weird.

  • mike

    How bizarre, this is near 2010 doesn’t the suits know, that these old washed up characters and animations are just, that?

    I purchased a Great Plush toy for my son over the Christmas holiday, called Queetles. I spoke to one of the persons at their 1-800 number, and they are getting ready to release a series of short animated films, from what I hear these are going to be fascinating.

  • Aaron Bell

    Good god is right! Hasn’t anyone watched Nick’s newest show? Fanboy and Chum Chum? It’s the worst f**king show I’ve ever seen in my life! These four a** kicking heroes in a half shell is all to Nick! I can imagine the f**kin’ show right now! Mickey would burp and Raph would then fart. You see, Nick now sucks, and doesn’t even know a THING about Comedy! This was Peter Laird’s most f**king bad move, and one more thing to Nickelodion, YOU BETTER MAKE A GOOD A** KICKING GOOD OL’ COMEDY SHOW OR YOUR F**KING A**ES WILL BE KICKED!

  • Toon Out

    “How bizarre, this is near 2010 doesn’t the suits know, that these old washed up characters and animations are just, that?”

    And yet they still make a boatload of money.

  • Joey

    Personally, I think this is great news. The Ninja Turtles aren’t an “old, washed-up” idea. They were only maybe out of the spotlight for about 5-6 years, between ’97 and ’03, and even during that period there were TMNT clothes, accessories, etc. in stores. I hope the new movie and show are done well. But come on, there’s no merit in insulting the property itself, you guys. No one at Nickelodeon could come up with an idea as good as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to target the same demographic, anyway (with the exception of maybe A:TLA).