Garfield is a hugely successful character who has fronted cartoons, a range of toys, and two live-action movies. Between 2004 and 2006 those movies brought in almost $350 million dollars, and Garfield is easily one of the most identifiable cartoon/comic strip characters in the world.

But who owns Garfield?

Who created Garfield?

Garfield was created by cartoonist, Jim Davis.

Who owns Garfield?

Image: ©Paws, Inc/Viacom

Garfield is owned by Viacom – the parent company of Nickelodeon. The character became part of Viacom/Nickelodeon in August 2019, after Viacom acquired the rights to Paws, Inc – the company that owns comic book characters, Garfield and U.S. Acres (aka Orson’s Farm).

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the deal included global merchandising rights, as well as the rights to create ‘location-based experiences’.

Speaking at the time of the acquisition, Viacom Media Networks COO Sarah Levy, said:

“Great content is core to the strength of our brands, and Garfield is a beloved character that continues to be part of the cultural zeitgeist with universal resonance across all ages.

“The acquisition of Paws, Inc. provides another opportunity for Viacom to leverage our platforms to extend the global reach of iconic IP.”

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Why did Viacom buy Garfield in 2019?

Image: ©Paws, Inc/Viacom

In recent years, Viacom has made a success of buying existing properties, such as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles brand, which it acquired in 2009 from the Mirage Group. That deal led to the development of two animated shows, two live-action movies (with a third on the way) and a HECK OF A LOT of toys.

Viacom picked up the rights to Garfield to produce similar results to TMNT. Garfield is a globally successful property, with cross-generational appeal, so was viewed as having the potential to generate significant income.

Garfield was also deemed a good fit for Nickelodeon (the two share the same colour scheme) and slotted in well amongst the channel’s iconic characters such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Power Rangers.

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Does Garfield’s creator, Jim Davis still have any involvement with the character?

Despite Viacom’s ownership of Garfield, Jim Davis remains a part of the character’s life. The artist continues to draw Garfield comic strips, so continues to provide a voice to the lasagne-loving feline.

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