On October 21, Nickelodeon announced it has purchased the intellectual property rights to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from Mirage Studios and 4Kids Entertainment for $60 million. That can buy a lot of pizza.
As part of the deal, Nickelodeon—part of Viacom’s MTV Networks—will revitalize the property by developing a computer-animated TMNT television series, which is slated to debut in 2012.
Also in 2012, Viacom’s Paramount Pictures—which has turned fellow 1980s children’s properties G.I. Joe and Transformers into movie franchises—will release a new TMNT feature film. Nickelodeon has also acquired merchandising rights to the Turtles, and will continue working with Playmates Toys, producer of Ninja Turtles action figures and accessories since 1988. If you’re reading this blog, chances are you accumulated quite a few of those growing up.
While Nickelodeon will likely play up the kiddie appeal of these heroes in a half shell (as they should), part of me hopes this 2012 relaunch of the Turtles will retain some of the edginess of creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s black-and-white comic books, which debuted in 1984. But, then again, the kid-friendly, cartoonish version of the Turtles brought us the timeless Vanilla Ice classic, “Ninja Rap.” So that’s...something.