Variety reports that Haim Saban's newly formed Saban Brands company has gotten the rights to the Power Rangers back from Disney. This is the franchise that built Saban's fortune in the mid-1990s.
Saban has put together a deal with Nickelodeon for 20 new Power Rangers episodes. The library of some 700 older segments will start airing on cable channel Nicktoons later this year.
Financial terms of the deal were not offered, but it's believed that the property commanded a price tag in the nine-figure range. When Disney acquired Power Rangers along with Fox Family Worldwide in 2001, the franchise had pulled in an astounding $5 billion in retail sales alone.
Saban Brands president Elie Dekel said Haim Saban approached Disney about getting the Power Rangers franchise more than six months ago because he believed it had the potential for a strong revival. Disney still owns some Power Rangers merchandise licensing and has episodes of the show airing in foreign markets.
"Haim has always felt that the brand could truly be evergreen, and while Disney continued to produce the series and support consumer products part of the business, we still see tremendous untapped potential," Dekel stated.
Haim Saban developed the Power Rangers after being impressed by similar live-action kid fare he saw in Japan. He put together a deal in the late 1980s with Toei Film to develop his own spin on the genre. He offered it to U.S. outlets for years but didn't get any takers until Fox Kids picked it up. The Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers as the show was known in its first two seasons, was hugely successful on Fox Kids when it debuted in 1993.