The comic strip icon Garfield has been adopted by a new owner – Viacom. The character will be heading to Nickelodeon to join the ranks of other popular characters such as SpongeBob, Dora the Explorer and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
According to a new report by Variety, Viacom has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Paws, Inc., the company that holds all global intellectual property rights to both Garfield and U.S. Acres, another Jim Davis creation. This includes rights related to content, consumer products, and location-based experiences, and the deal is expected to close in the upcoming weeks. Though financial terms weren’t disclosed, Garfield is expected to generate millions of dollars each year in just merchandise.
“I’m delighted that Garfield is going to be placed in the capable hands of the folks at Nick,” said Jim Davis, the character’s creator, in a prepared statement. “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!”
Nickelodeon intends to develop a new Garfield television series, with the merchandising rights to be managed by Viacom Nickelodeon Consumer Products.
“Garfield is a global evergreen franchise that is a natural fit with Nickelodeon and our portfolio of iconic properties. With fans around the globe that span both kids and adults, we are excited to ignite Garfield into a multi-generational consumer products juggernaut,” said Pam Kaufman, the unit’s president.