Everyone's favorite comic strip cat is soon getting another new animated series, as Viacom has acquired the rights to Garfield from owners Paws. With the deal described as a "definitive agreement" and expected to close in the near future, the acquisition will bring about a new Garfield animated series for Nickelodeon with creator Jim Davis producing. This is seen as a big win for the popular children's network, as the deal brings in another big name series to a line-up that includes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, SpongeBob SquarePants, and an upcoming Rugrats revival. Additionally, Viacom will manage the property's global merchandising rights.
Dating all the way back to the late '70s, Garfield began its life as a comic strip series in local newspapers. It follows the adventures of an overweight and lazy cat, his meek owner Jon Arbuckle, and dimwitted dog and fellow pet Odie. The strip had its first animated TV special in 1982 with Here Comes Garfield, starting what would become many various small screen appearances for the feline. The next three specials would each win Emmy Awards, bringing about the long-running animated series Garfield and Friends in 1988. Featuring Lorenzo Music as the voice of Garfield, the popular series ran for seven seasons until 1994 on CBS.
While various animated primetime specials would continue to air, it wouldn't be until 2009 when Garfield had his next ongoing series on The Cartoon Network. Called The Garfield Show, the series consisted of CGI animation, updating the franchise for a new generation of young viewers. This time, the voice of the titular cat was portrayed by famous Scooby-Doo voice actor Frank Welker. The show was a hit, running until 2016 and spanning five seasons with 109 total episodes.
The animation style for Nickelodeon's new Garfield series remains to be seen. It could be given the 2-D treatment more akin to the original series and Spongebob Squarepants, or it might have the 3-D computer animation look as shown in the Cartoon Network version. In any case, the goal will be for the new series to be better-received than the live-action Garfield movie and its sequel, which are reputed to be among the worst movies of all time. As long as Garfield and Odie are animated in a way that keeps the characters faithful to how they appear in the original comic strip, then fans of the Monday-hating and lasagna-loving feline should be satisfied.
Garfield creator Jim Davis is stoked to see another adaptation of the legendary series in the works, though the artist is also making it clear he still loves working on the long-running comic strip. "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," Davis is quoted as saying. "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." This news comes to us from Deadline.