Nickelodeon has a dizzying array of popular animated characters at its disposal. Now it has a few more: The Smurfs.
The ViacomCBS outlet has struck a deal with the worldwide licensors of the popular blue figures, LAFIG Belgium and IMPS, under which it will launch a new animated series and manage consumer products licensing for the property across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Singapore and Malaysia. The company intends to seek a new product line tied to the new series, ranging from toys, stationery, apparel to accessories, and home and consumer packaged goods, all planned to launch at retail in 2022.
The series, which could make use of individual Smurfs such as Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Brainy, Hefty, Clumsy or others, is expected to debut in 2021 in the U.S., followed by Nickelodeon channels internationally. The companies declined to describe financial terms of the deal.
“The Smurfs’ is an iconic global franchise that has resonated with audiences for decades,” said Pam Kaufman, president of ViacomCBS Consumer Products, in a statement. “By partnering with LAFIG, we are able to join our creative forces to bring an all-new line of consumer products across multiple categories to consumers, along with a fresh and original animated series.”
Nickelodeon last August acquired Paws Inc., the entity that controls the rights to popular comic-strip feline “Garfield” as well as “U.S. Acres.” Both properties were created by illustrator Jim Davis. Nickelodeon has in recent years shown an interest in expanding its rights to use outside properties enjoyed by younger consumers, striking deals involving the famous children’s bear Paddington and characters from recent Lego movies.
The property will be supervised by Layla Lewis, senior vice president of global acquisitions and partnerships, and Dana Cluverius, senior vice president of current series animation. The series will be produced by Peyo Productions and Dupuis Edition & Audiovisuel. It will be directed by William Renaud and written by Peter Saisselin and Amy Serafin.