According to Variety, the global rights to the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" franchise is now owned by Nickelodeon.

Viacom, which owns Nickelodeon and Paramount Studios, acquired the rights from The Mirage Group / 4Kids Entertainment-the original owners of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise--for roughly $60 million.

Nickelodeon plans to develop a new computer-generated TV series that will begin airing in 2012. Paramount Pictures will also put the Turtles back on the big screen in 2012 in a new live-action film.

New Line Cinema released the original three live-action TMNT films, and Warner Brothers released the recent animated movie from 2007.

The "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" were created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in 1984 before they became the focus of comic books, TV shows, films, toys, lunch-boxes, Halloween costumes and more. When the adolescent crime-fighters weren't devouring tons of pizza, they used their martial arts skills to keep New York's streets clean from bad guys like Shredder.

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a property that maintains a very passionate global fan base, is rich with opportunity for a tent pole movie, and is exactly the right property for us to work together with Nickelodeon," said Adam Goodman, President of Paramount Pictures.

"In the world we live in today, in the golden age of superhero movies, we need to get back to where this all started," said Scott Mednick, one of the producers on the upcoming film.

Mednick, along with fellow producer Galen Walker, said during this year's Comic-Con that they plan on going back to the roots of the original "TMNT" comics. The new film is supposed to be a "Batman Begins"-like look at the origin of the Turtles.

"Our point of view is this: go back and look at the original Turtles comics," Walker said. "They are very dark. The audience is much more sophisticated than they were in 1990. This is 2009. Take the new 'Harry Potter' for example. It is rated PG and it's still a very dark film. We are headed that direction."

With this new film focusing on an origins story, a whole new generation can get in on the fun-filled action of the "TMNT." Hopefully it won't be too dark, because I truly enjoyed the humor and heart of the original "Turtles" films and cartoons.

This is great news. I'm glad to see a very strong studio like Paramount behind the upcoming live-action movie. The original trilogy mixed a great blend of action and comedy to keep fans happy. The recent animated film was a disappointment because it was marketed to children rather than the older audience (like our generation) that grew up with the "TMNT."

The new "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie is being written by John Fusco, whose credits include "Hidalgo" and "The Forbidden Kingdom."

Do you think Viacom will bring back the spark that the "TMNT" once held, or is the franchise dead and not coming back?