Nickelodeon Secures Rights to Original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cartoon

The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series that ran from 1987 to 1996 is officially headed to Nickelodeon.

Per Variety, the Paramount-owned Nickelodeon — current owner of the TMNT franchise — has secured the global rights to the original ’80s television series produced by Fred Wolf Films. This development comes ahead of the theatrical release of Nickelodeon and Paramount’s new animated feature film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem next month.

Under the new deal — which was announced at San Diego Comic-Con — Nickelodeon has access to all 193 episodes of Fred Wolf’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. These episodes will debut digitally in the United States later this month via platforms like Nickelodeon’s YouTube channel, its Pluto TV channel, and its owned-and-operated linear channels. Nickelodeon-branded channels and digital platforms will then begin distributing the episodes internationally at a later date.

The legacy of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on TV

Based on the comic book of the same name created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon was one of the defining animated series of the ’80s and ’90s. The show initially aired on first-run syndication before finding a home at CBS starting with Season 4 in 1990. 10 seasons were produced in total.

A reboot animated series of the same name subsequently aired on Fox and The CW for seven seasons from 2003 to 2009. It was also in 2009 that Laird sold the TMNT franchise to Nickelodeon’s parent company. (Eastman had previously sold his share of the franchise to Laird in 2000.) A second reboot series premiered on Nickelodeon in 2012. It aired for five seasons through 2017. Nickelodeon’s most recent reboot, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, aired for two seasons from 2018 to 2020.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem opens in theaters on Aug. 2.