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seifd avatar 11:39 PM on 10.22.2009  (server time)
Viacom Buys the Rights to the Ninja Turtles

I've been meaning to start a c-blog and I may as well start with a bang. Viacom bought the rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for $60 million. All that Mirage Studios, the creators of TMNT, has retained was the right to publish 18 issues of TMNT a year.

As of right now, Nickelodeon is working on a CG TMNT cartoon for release in 2012. Paramount is working on a CG movie for the same year. There's been no word about whether Imagi, the creators of 2007's TMNT, will be involved. It's been announced that Playmates will retain the rights to toys.

The video game licensing issue is a bit muddled (Hey, I guess this isn't totally non-video game related). As most of Destructoid's readers know, Ubisoft currently has the rights to make TMNT games. However, TMNT is now a Nickelodeon property, which THQ holds the license for. That licensing agreement ends next year with the possibility that Viacom will give those rights to their own company MTV Games. In any case, all current Ninja Turtle games will come out as planned, though the only one I know of is TMNT: Arcade Attack.

Both Peter Laird (TMNT's co-creator) and long-time artist Jim Lawson commented on the sale at their respective blogs. Laird is relieved, saying, "I never expected to be working on the same thing for this long. And it has worn me down." Lawson agrees, commenting, "...I'm thinking, yeah- perhaps it IS time."

Personally, I'm not too optimistic about this buy-out. The last thing that Nickelodeon put out that I enjoyed was Avatar. There's also a sadness about it. Mirage was the one independent comic studio to really make it big and now, they're being absorbed by a conglomerate like Viacom. Hopefully, I'll be wrong and this will be the best thing to happen to the Turtles.

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