Viacom has scored a big, fat hairy deal to acquire the rights to classic cartoon Garfield. The media group has entered a “definitive agreement” to acquire the IP from owners Paws and will develop a new Garfield animated series.
The deal, which is expected to close in the coming weeks, will add to Nickelodeon’s library of big names including SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and PAW Patrol.
In addition to the new animated series – the first since The Garfield Show aired on Cartoon Network in the U.S. in 2009 – Viacom will manage the global merchandising rights to the property.
Garfield creator Jim Davis will continue to produce the syndicated comic strip as he has done since the lazy feline first hit newspapers in 1978. The strip has chronicled the life of the eponymous cat, his owner Jon Arbuckle and Odie the dog, as well as various friends. Known for his love of lasagne and coffee and his disdain for Mondays, Garfield has spawned a slew of movies and TV shows and has received four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Animated Program.
“This acquisition marks another step in our evolution toward being kids’ first stop for the best new content and characters,” Nickelodeon President Brian Robbins said, “so we’re incredibly happy to have Garfield join our growing roster of globally loved franchises and to introduce this cool cat to a new generation of fans.”
Said Sarah Levy, Chief Operating Officer of Viacom Media Networks: “Great content is core to the strength of our brands, and Garfield is a beloved character that continues to be part of the cultural zeitgeist with universal resonance across all ages. The acquisition of Paws provides another opportunity for Viacom to leverage our platforms to extend the global reach of iconic IP.”
Davis added: “I’ve always tried to make people laugh with humor that is classic and appealing to both kids and adults. I’m delighted that Garfield is going to be placed in the capable hands of the folks at Nick. They know how to entertain and will be great stewards for the franchise. I am also excited to continue to do the thing that gets me out of bed every morning — the comic strip.”