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MTV Networks’ Nickelodeon has acquired the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) franchise, for $60 million. The bulk of the payout goes to The Mirage Group — the company founded by the franchise’s creators, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird — but embattled media company 4Kids Entertainment will get roughly $11 million from the deal, in exchange for giving up its franchise licensing and production rights.
The deal, which includes global rights to TV shows, films, video games and toys, comes amid the TMNT franchise’s 25th anniversary. Nickelodeon is working on a new animated TV series slated to premiere in 2012, as well as a new movie with Viacom (NYSE: VIA) sibling Paramount Pictures. In the meantime, the cartoon produced by 4Kids and Mirage will continue to air on the CW Network, through the end of the 2010 broadcast season. The current TMNT site could definitely use a revamp, and the franchise could easily be ported to a simple iPhone or casual game, but a source said that Nickelodeon didn’t have any immediate video game or interactive projects lined up for it. Release.