Won't you ask that TV if he minds showing me some Futurama
? I like me some Futurama
. Master Shake:
Well now we're too damn cheap to receive it, so go the hell over to Carl Central
and watch it to your heart's content! Meatwad:
Carl gets Futurama
? Master Shake:
He didn't even want it until we started watching it!
Television shows are usually not directly owned by a particular channel, although once they have a contract to air the show they often have some creative control of it. The only exception is first-run syndicated shows that are owned entirely by the production company and distributed to individual stations, regardless of their network affiliation. At other times a show might be owned and produced by a specific network but the rights to air it were bought out by another network. It's a complicated business where all that matters sometimes is the bottom line
Just like sports teams, there are many reasons for a show to switch from one place to another.
- Contract Buy-Outs: The show is exceptionally popular and when a contract expires two or more channels bid for new seasons.
- Vindicated by History: The ratings weren't high enough on one channel so they didn't renew it for a new season, so another channel grabbed the show up and it moved over.
- And just like the trope, it may be poorly performing on one channel while on another channel it skyrockets in popularity. Of course, a 3.5 rating on ABC is cancel-worthy; a 3.5 rating on USA is cause for celebration.
- Behind-the-Scenes Politics: One network made a great offer and the current network isn't dedicated enough to hold on to the show.
- Vertical Integration: Certain shows are saved only because their production companies happen to be under common ownership with another network (as in the case of Scrubs, an ABC Studios production, or Medium, a production of CBS Television Studios)
Note that this only counts new
episodes; else, the sheer number of places they've shown Looney Tunes
reruns would make the page overflow. Channels calling episodes "premieres" when they know full well that they originally aired somewhere else are telling you Blatant Lies
— slightly more honest ones might use the Weasel Words
open/close all folders
From ABC to...
- The Danny Thomas Show (aka Make Room for Daddy) jumped from ABC to CBS in 1957.
- TJ Hooker was cancelled after four seasons by ABC, CBS picked up season five and aired the new episodes in its 11:30PM Crimetime After Primetime slot.
- Sister Sister from ABC to The WB.
- Family Matters from ABC to CBS.
- Step by Step made the ABC to CBS move at the exact same time as Family Matters. Neither lasted more than one season on the new channel.
- The Critic from ABC to FOX (Lampshaded: "I used to have a big show on ABC — for about a week!") to Comedy Central to "webisodes" on the Internet (also made fun of on the first "webisode").
- Rocky and Bullwinkle started on ABC in 1959 as Rocky and His Friends, then moved to NBC in 1961 where it was retitled The Bullwinkle Show. It ran in prime time for two years and Saturday morning for one more. It then moved back to ABC in 1964 for eight years in reruns until it was syndicated and given the title it is now best known by. It was also syndicated in 30-minute components as Rocky and His Friends and in 15-minute components as The Rocky Show.
- Whose Line Is It Anyway? (American) from ABC to ABC Family. Although all of its content was taped before the move, there were unaired episodes still in the can, as well as enough raw footage that the producers could create "new" shows several years after taping ended.
- The new run of the show airs on The CW.
- ReBoot from ABC to Cartoon Network, with 6 years or so between them. Apparently ReBoot was canceled solely because ABC was bought out by Disney, who wanted purely Disney owned programming, which Reboot did not fit. The third season was produced in syndication through Canadian channels and the US didn't get that season until Cartoon Network picked it up two years later. Being Vindicated by Reruns, that paved the way for a fourth season.
- The Hughleys moved from ABC to UPN in 2000.
- When Taxi was cancelled by ABC, NBC picked it up; it ran for one more season. They kept it at Thursday Nights at 9:00, and ran ads with Danny DeVito saying "Same time, better station!"
- After Muppets Tonight did bad in the ratings, the show moved to Disney Channel.
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch moved from ABC to The WB.
- Aaron Sorkin briefly contemplated moving Sports Night to HBO.
- Teamo Supremo started on ABC and moved to Toon Disney after One Saturday Morning went defunct.
- Webster moved from ABC to first-run syndication.
- It's a Living to syndication.
- Monday Night Football moved from ABC to ESPN after NBC bought the rights to the primetime game-of-the week package and moved it to Sunday.
- Cougar Town moved to TBS in 2013.
- Recess began on ABC, but from September 1999 to July 2000, new episodes would air on ABC and UPN (Season three on ABC, season four on UPN). September 2000 had new episodes only premiere on ABC (Reruns would air on UPN for Disney's One Too), and in 2001, new episodes premiered on UPN (ABC still reran the series until 2005).
- Wonder Woman started on ABC, until the network decided it was too expensive to keep producing a historical series set in the 1940s. It was immediately picked up by CBS, who also changed the setting to the (then) modern day.
- The Naked Truth from ABC to NBC.
- The Wonderful World of Disney is an interesting case. It moved from ABC to NBC, then to CBS, back to ABC, then back to NBC, and then ABC again, though permanently this time since it's owned by Disney.
- The Weekenders, Teacher's Pet, and Lloyd in Space began on ABC, but all three shows moved to Toon Disney in 2002 once One Saturday Morning became ABC Kids.
- Clerks: The Animated Series sadly only aired two of its six episodes on ABC following its swift cancellation. In 2003, Comedy Central picked up the series and aired all of the episodes.
- When soap operas All My Children and One Life to Live were canned, they attempted to move to internet syndication. However, problems with the distributor, Prospect Park, caused both productions to shut down.
From NBC to...
- JAG from NBC to CBS, where it ran for nine more seasons and spun off the even more successful NCIS.
- Baywatch from NBC to syndication (like JAG above, a rare instance where the series took off after its Channel Hop).
- Concentration from NBC to syndication.
- Diff'rent Strokes from NBC to ABC for its final season.
- For Your Love from NBC to The WB.
- In the Heat of the Night, from NBC to CBS for the last two seasons and four movies.
- The Hogan Family, from NBC to CBS in its final season.
- Scrubs moved from NBC to ABC in 2008. Apparently some people were confused because ABC owned the show anyway, so it was a strange instance of being owned by one network and aired by another (see also Caroline In The City, which though shown on NBC was made by CBS Productions).
- Medium from NBC to CBS in September 2009, cozied between Ghost Whisperer and NUMB3RS; before it moved, it was the last CBS-produced show that wasn't on CBS or The CW (which CBS owns half of).
- Passions and Friday Night Lights both went from NBC to The 101 on Direc TV (a US satellite provider, for those non-US tropers here).
- Get Smart moved from NBC to CBS for its fifth and final season.
- Southland from NBC to TNT.
- Late Night With David Letterman went from NBC to CBS in 1994, but because NBC owned the rights to the "Late Night" name, the show was renamed Late Show With David Letterman. Late Show is virtually identical to Late Night.
- I'll Fly Away was briefly revived on PBS after cancellation by NBC.
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent's seventh season was its first after moving to USA.
- Silver Spoons and Punky Brewster both jumped from NBC to syndication (both shows, along with ABC to CBS jumper Family Matters, were produced by David Duclon). In the case of Punky, the move was a lot more complicated (see "Production Company Examples")
- Conan O'Brien from NBC to TBS after some serious Executive Meddling.
- The Father Dowling Mysteries from NBC to ABC.
- The Ghost and Mrs. Muir from NBC to ABC.
- The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd from NBC to Lifetime.
- The Price Is Right (original version) and Missing Links to ABC.
- Match Game landed on CBS four years after NBC canceled it, had a syndicated daily edition in 1979 (a nighttime edition ran concurrently and started in 1975), then it reappeared on NBC in 1983 as The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour, then on ABC in 1990 as simply Match Game, and then another syndicated edition appeared in 1998.
- You Don't Say! was rebooted for ABC six years after NBC dropped it.
- Mamas Family went to first-run syndication after one year on NBC.
- The daytime version of Wheel of Fortune moved from NBC (where it began in 1975) to CBS in 1989, then back to NBC for a few more months in 1991 before it was canceled. (The current syndicated version began in 1983.)
- Community from NBC to the Internet (Yahoo! Screen) after season 5.
- Hallmark Hall of Fame started airing on NBC in 1951, then the network cancelled it in 1978 and the program alternated with ABC and CBS for the next 36 years. However in the summer of 2014, it was announced that the series would end its run on broadcast television and would become a Hallmark Channel original program.
From CBS to...
- Tom Corbett, Space Cadet (based on the Robert A. Heinlein novel Space Cadet) is the Most Triumphant Example of this trope, having started on CBS, moved to ABC, then to NBC, then to Du Mont, then back to NBC. The show ran from 1950-1955, meaning it enjoys the singular distinction of appearing on every national network available in the US at that time. A modern program would have to conduct dozens, if not hundreds of channel hops to match that today.
- Charles In Charge from CBS to syndication.
- The Jokers Wild and Tic-Tac-Dough from CBS to syndication.
- Search For Tomorrow from CBS to NBC.
- Edge of Night from CBS to ABC.
- Password started on CBS, then was canceled and revived on ABC. It was canceled and revived again on NBC as Password Plus, then later Super Password. It came full circle back to CBS, revived as Million Dollar Password nearly 20 years after Super Password was canceled and over 40 years since Password first debuted on CBS.
- Ghost Whisperer was supposed to jump to ABC for the 2010-11 season but Jennifer Love Hewitt turned down an offer to return for another season so the show was canceled instead.
- Flashpoint moved from CBS to ION effective October 18, 2011.
- Airwolf from CBS to USA Network for its final season.
- The $10,000 Pyramid to ABC. It was later retitled The $20,000 Pyramid and returned to CBS as The $25,000 Pyramid.
- Scooby-Doo originated on CBS then moved to ABC in 1976. Episodes have since premiered on The WB, The CW, Cartoon Network, and even home video.
- Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures to Fox. The new DIC-produced episodes were received so poorly that Fox replayed the far better Hanna-Barbera episodes aired the season before on CBS.
- Forever Knight started out as part of CBS's "Crime Time After Prime Time" rotation. When deals were made for Letterman to move into that timeslot, the first season was rerun for almost a second season's worth of time to keep the slot occupied. The show then moved to syndication for its second season, and to a rare combination of airing in syndication *and* on USA for a third season.
- Many fans came to regret that third season seal, as USA reportedly demanded younger cast members be added and focused on, to the detriment of the established cast. (Jon Kapelos stated at the time that *he* left because from the original pilot to the end of the second season, he'd been playing his character for six years and wanted a change.)
From The WB to...
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer moved from The WB to UPN after its fifth season. This temporarily put a halt to crossovers with spinoff Angel, which remained on The WB.
- Johnny Test left The WB at the end of the first season and went to Canada's Teletoon and Cartoon Network at the same time.
- Supernatural moved from The WB to The CW after the first season (as did all returning shows from both the WB and UPN, as the two networks merged to form the CW).
- Roswell moved from The WB to UPN after its second season, at the same time as Buffy.
- Mission Hill, The Oblongs, and Baby Blues, respectively. Only eight of each series' single 13-episode seasons note aired on The WB. Thanks to managerial changes following the AOL Time Warner merger which caused the Turner networks to "play nice" with The WB, [adult swim] managed to air the remaining episodes of each series in 2002.
From FOX to...
- Futurama is an interesting example. From Fox to [adult swim] was only reruns, but it was then picked up by Comedy Central, which then aired new episodes.
- Sliders from Fox to the Sci Fi Channel.
- Animaniacs from Fox Kids to The WB when the latter first formed. Lampshaded in several of the earliest promotional spots for the block.
- Power Rangers from Fox Kids to both ABC & Jetix (on both ABC Family & Toon Disney). Then another move, as of 2011, to both Nickelodeon & Nicktoons. In 2012, Power Rangers Lost Galaxy reruns will appear on The CW as a part of the network's upcoming Vortexx block.
- When 4Kids acquired the CW's Saturday morning airtime, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) and Dinosaur King moved their premieres over there.
- Grounded For Life from Fox to The WB.
- America's Most Wanted went to Lifetime beginning Dec. 2, 2011, after Fox canceled the show for a second time. Fox continues to air quarterly specials.
- Bridezillas began as a special on Fox and spent some time on the New York-only MSG Metro Network before finding its current home at WE (where it became Adored by the Network).
- COPS, from Fox to Spike TV, starting in the fall of 2013.
- American Dad! goes to TBS starting in the fall of 2014.
- One Piece from Fox Box (later 4KidsTV) to Cartoon Network. Partway through their broadcast, 4Kids just stopped airing the series on their block (alegedly due to content restrictions). The remaining 4Kids dubbed episodes later aired on Toonami, leading to the eventual FUNimation dub. In 2013, the FUNimation-dubbed episodes returned to premiering Toonami, now a part of [adult swim].
From a Cable Channel to...
- Doug from Nickelodeon to Disney's ABC.
- This happens with a lot of sister/parent networks, as they often show the same shows at the same time. Kappa Mikey was produced solely for Nicktoons Network, but because it was controlled by their larger parent network Nickelodeon, new episodes sometimes premiered there first. When episodes stopped airing on Nick but continued on Nicktoons, some took this to mean it was canceled. It never had a consistent airing schedule either, and time will tell if it gets syndicated somewhere else.
- WWE Raw from USA to TNN which renamed itself Spike TV, and then back to USA.
- WWE SmackDown! itself network hopped, from UPN to The CW, then to MyNetworkTV, and again to Syfy.
- Sunday Night HEAT went from USA to MTV, then it joined Raw on Spike tv for a few years before becoming an international and internet only show for the last years of its life.
- TNA Impact went from Fox Sports Net to a brief period of being Web Original to Spike TV to Destination America.
- The 90's version of The Outer Limits also moved from Showtime to the Sci-Fi channel for it's seventh and final season. (The producers of SG-1 were already known for the 90s Outer Limits when the show started)
- Project Runway moved from Bravo to Lifetime after the fifth season.
- 6teen, in America, had a brief stint on Nickelodeon, before being booted over to Cartoon Network.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars. As a result of Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm, fans speculated that the show was going to do this from Cartoon Network to Disney XD beginning in the sixth season, but it will instead be released on Netflix.
- Naruto, from Naruto on Cartoon Network to Naruto Shippuden on Disney XD and then, to much rejoicing, [adult swim].
- The Gundam franchise moved from Cartoon Network to SyFy starting with Mobile Suit Gundam 00.
- Phineas and Ferb is a rather odd example. From the second season onward, new episodes moved from Disney Channel to Disney XD, however it still airs regularly on the former which still treats it as its own series and airs brand new episodes anywhere from a week to a month after its sister network.
- Damages from FX to The 101 on Direc TV.
- Madeline from HBO to The Family Channel (now ABC Family) to ABC to Disney Channel.
- American broadcasts of Doctor Who moved from SyFy to BBC America (who had repeat rights previously) after New Series 4.
- American broadcasts of Torchwood moved from SyFy to Starz with the Starz co-produced Miracle Day. Starz saw a big subscriber jump as a result of the move.
- Stargate SG-1 moved from Showtime to the Sci-Fi Channel after its fifth season.
- Nashville Star hopped from USA Network to NBC for its sixth and final season.
- In Mexico, Garfield and Friends channel hopped from Cartoon Network to Boomerang. This is technically a minor example since Boomerang is usually where old Cartoon Network shows end up, and both channels are owned by Time-Warner.
- The American rights to broadcast the English Premier League went from a joint venture between ESPN and Fox to NBC Universal, beginning with the 2013 season. Most matches are shown on the NBC Sports network, with a few shown on NBC proper, and Spanish language on Telemundo.
- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, Legit, and Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell will all make the hop from FX to its new comedy-oriented spinoff channel FXX in Fall 2013. While it's understandable that FX wants to spruce up hype about the new channel, it's rather rare to see so many shows from one channel leave for another, let alone seeing all of them end up at the same destination. Read more about it here.
- In America, Braceface went from ABC Family (Which was still known as Fox Family when the first few episodes premieres) to Disney Channel.
- Totally Spies! from ABC Family to Cartoon Network after the second season.
- Digimon Fusion will now be premiering on Nicktoons after Nickelodeon tried the show, and gave up after two episodes.
- Transformers Prime aired on The Hub Network. Now that the channel was bought back by Discovery from Hasbro and will be rebranded into the Discovery Family Channel, Prime's sequel series, Transformers: Robots in Disguise, will instead premiere on Cartoon Network.
- Dragon Ball Z Kai went from airing on Nicktoons to [adult swim]'s Toonami.
- Star vs. the Forces of Evil, from it's sneak preview on Disney Channel, the cartoon will premiere on it's sister network Disney XD.
From ITV to...
- Auf Wiedersehen, Pet went from ITV (in the 1980s) to the BBC (the 2000s revival).
- Not a true Channel Hop, but Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), a 1960s ITV show, was remade in 2000 as Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) by the BBC.
- The Broadcast Rights of Batfink, Dangermouse, ,Looney Tunes, Pinky and the Brain, Scooby-Doo, Taz Mania, Tom and Jerry Kids, Tots TV, Uncle Max and Yoko! Tokamoto! Toto since 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010 have moved from ITV to the BBC.
- Similarly University Challenge is an ITV show that (after moving to Channel 4 for a while) was revived on the BBC (all versions produced by the ITV company Granada. Granada's production department is now  part of ITV Studios, so the Vanity Plate reads "ITV Studios production for BBC").
- Men Behaving Badly first appeared on ITV, but was dropped by them after two series due to disappointing ratings and Harry Enfield having left after the first series. It wasn't until the BBC got it and transmitted it in a later slot that it became a massive hit.
- Ronnie Barker's Hark at Barker on ITV had a more-or-less direct sequel, His Lordship Entertains, on the BBC, featuring the same cast. Unfortunately His Lordship Entertains was wiped (though the scripts have appeared in a book by Barker).
- Hill Street Blues and Scarecrow and Mrs. King were let go by ITV, but picked up by Channel 4 (the former can still be seen on Channel 4 today).
- Upstairs Downstairs was originally an ITV show that is now receiving a modern BBC sequel.
- Blockbusters moved from ITV to Sky, to BBC 2, back to Sky, and is now on Challenge.
- Home and Away was initially picked up by ITV in Britain. Around the turn of the century it hopped over to Five, but not before ITV enacted a clause that made us wait a year and a half to see new episodes.
- Magic Adventures Of Mumfie aired its' first thirteen episode on CITV, then aired 66 new episodes on Nick Jr.'s UK channel four years later.
From The BBC to...
- In the UK, Neighbours moved from the BBC1 (who broke the series and where it had been a fixed staple of the daytime schedules for over 20 years), to Five in 2008.
- Up until its seventh and final season Robot Wars had aired on BBC2, for its 7th season it moved to Channel 5.
- BBC Two's Red Dwarf was put on hold during Development Hell of The Movie but eventually after a surprise ratings success of reruns on the channel Dave — in 2009 the channel aired a three-part Easter Special Back to Earth. A new six-part series, Red Dwarf X, began airing on Dave on 4 October 2012.
- The Goodies was dropped by the BBC in 1981 and was picked up by LWT (now ITV London).
- In Britain Monk moved terrestrially from BBC2 to ITV1.
- Unlike Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel did not get shown on BBC2 but rather on Channel Four. The first season was shown at 6 in the evening due to a particularly dumb case of What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids? (David Fury's response to this scheduling — "Shock and disbelief are mine!" — was echoed by many fans). This led to the episodes being shown in heavily mutilated form, despite which they still got a formal reprimand from the then Censorship Bureau the Broadcasting Standards Council. After they'd buried the terrestrial premiere of the second season (and several season one episodes, three of them shown out of sequence when they realised they'd get more complaints if they showed them earlier) post-midnight, the third season got bought by Channel Five and bombed, partly because no-one had seen the first two seasons and didn't have a clue what was going on, partly because it was on opposite the two highest-rated shows in the country. The last third of the third season and the fourth season were shown post-midnight; the final season has never been shown terrestrially.
- Even The Simpsons fell victim; when it arrived on British (terrestrial) television in 1996 it was first shown on BBC1, with repeats airing on Sunday afternoons on BBC2 — and was beaten in the ratings by Sabrina the Teenage Witch on ITV (one of the few long-running American shows that ITV has screened every episode of). The show was eventually permanently moved to BBC2, where it was a much better fit, until Channel Four took it in 2004.
- The Office (US) went from BBC2 to ITV3, and is now on Comedy Central.
- How I Met Your Mother was originally shown in the UK on BBC2, but they dropped it after one season; it was taken up by E4, where it proved to be a more natural fit.
- Law & Order didn't last long on BBC1, but eventually found a happy home on Channel Five.
- Formula One had always been on the BBC until it was sold to ITV, until it went back onto the BBC and was in turn sold to Sky Sports. Technically they are currently split between the two, but there are always rumors that BBC will give it up.
- On the other side of the pond, after being on SPEED Channel for many years, F1's moved to the NBC Sports Network.
- The first three seasons of Damages aired on BBC1; season four jumped ship to Lifetime a couple of years (!) later.
From Syndication to...
- WWF Superstars (distributed in Canada as Maple Leaf Wrestling, also the name of a Toronto-based promotion purchased by the WWF in 1984) was on in syndication for about a decade before it hoped over to Sunday morning on the USA Network to replace Action Zone. It would hope one again five years later when WWF moved all their programs to Viacom channels and it landed on TNN for about a year before it was canceled. The show later had a revival on yet another network WGN America where it stayed for 2 years but its contract was not renewed, it is currently being aired only in overseas markets and is streamed online.
- Babylon 5 did four seasons in syndication before TNT ponied up the caysh for a fifth season plus ALL those TV movies (including the Re Cut Pilot Movie. It later made it to Sci Fi, which is the channel responsible for the first widescreen presentation (which eventually made it the format used on the DVD's.
- Oddly, Beakman's World from syndication to CBS.
- Trollz and the animated Sabrina both went from syndication to CBS (though this had to do with CBS's block renter DiC needing educational programming for said block).
- Tiny Toon Adventures moved from syndication to Fox Kids in Fall 1992, after which they added "The Fox network executives" as a new pair of villains.
- The Pokémon anime franchise spent its first half-season in Fall 1998 in syndication, then was picked up by Kids' WB! in early 1999, where it remained until 4Kids' rights to the show ended in 2006. Then, the new episodes of the show were handed over to Cartoon Network by Pokemon USA, who had been previously running reruns of the show for years. The original series is now in reruns on Boomerang, while Cartoon Network continues to play new episodes of the current series.
- Sailor Moon started out in syndication in 1995, but only the first 65 episodes were shown before the show went into re-runs and was ultimately pulled. It was then picked up for cable by Turner Broadcasting and spent a few months being re-shown on USA Network before it was moved to Cartoon Network's Toonami action block where it found new life, and premiered 94 new episodes, and 3 movies.
- Also, a few early (and inconsecutive) S episodes were shown on The WB's Toonami block before they were pulled after 9/11 (although this was supposedly a coincidence).
- The original Dragon Ball series was in syndication for only 13 episodes in 1995 before it was canceled. It was eventually picked up by Toonami in 2001 (with an all new English dub), due to the success of Dragon Ball Z, where it ended up finishing it's 153 episode run.
- Dragon Ball Z itself began in weekly syndication in 1996 before Cartoon Network famously picked it up and added it to its Toonami block in 1998, where it finished and was in reruns for almost ten years. In addition, The WB's Saturday morning Toonami block premiered the Garlic Jr. Saga episodes in the Summer of 2000 before they were rerun in Cartoon Network.
- Gargoyles from syndication to ABC; ReTooled as Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles. But the fans like to think ''The Goliath Chronicles'' never happened. So does the creator, who declared it non-canon.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987 version): went from syndication to CBS in 1990.
- Inspector Gadget had a brief run on CBS in 1992 after runs in syndication and Nickelodeon.
- 101 Dalmatians: The Series had an interesting example: it was syndicated and shown on ABC's One Saturday Morning at the same time!
- Possibly the first instance of this trope, Quick Draw McGraw premiered in syndication in 1959 before becoming part of CBS's Saturday morning lineup in 1963.
- Mister Ed spent its first half-year in syndication before CBS picked up the series.
- The 2003 Strawberry Shortcake started out by being syndicated out to The CW, before the first three seasons found a home in CBS on it's Kewlopolis block. Then came the 4-way DiC-Moon Scoop-American Greetings-Cookie Jar lawsuit, which left the show in a horrible limbo for a couple of years before all four seasons were finally picked up by Kabillion.
Production Company Examples
- Punky Brewster not only switched from network to syndication, it also changed producers. It was originally produced in-house by NBC, but the network had to license the rights to Columbia Pictures Television. Under Federal Communications Commission rules at the time, a network could not be involved in a syndicated show. Funny to think now considering that all five networks are owned by conglomerates that have their own TV syndication units.
- The Golden Girls nearly went towards this: In 1991 Touchstone Television decided against making any more episodes for financial reasons. Warner Bros. Television said they'd step into the breach, but that plan fell apart when Beatrice Arthur announced she was quitting. Touchstone would make a pseudo-spinoff, The Golden Palace, which aired on CBS for one year (making it a pseudo-Channel Hop, as The Golden Girls aired on NBC).
- On the other hand, when Cannon Television ran into financial problems of their own after the first few episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger, CBS (with some help from Columbia Pictures Television) agreed to foot the bill thereafter.
- Similarly, the NBC episodes of Baywatch were produced by GTG Entertainment — making for a strange-but-true link between this series and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, as MTM's ex Grant Tinker was the "GT"note — while the syndicated ones hailed from Tower 12 Productions/The Baywatch Production Company (and due to financial involvement from Britain's London Weekend Television thanks to Brits and Germans loving David Hasselhoff, the end credits carried the card "A Baywatch Production Company Production for LWT").
- The pilot for The Highwayman was made by Glen A. Larson's company at 20th Century Fox, but the series was produced on a lower budget by Larson's New West Entertainment.
- When The Man From UNCLE's reunion movie The Return Of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: The Fifteen Years Later Affair got the go-ahead in 1983, it wasn't made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (home of the original series); writer-producer Michael Sloan convinced MGM to lease the property to his company and Viacom Productions.
- Captain Planet and the Planeteers moved from DiC to Hanna-Barbera, starting with its fourth season, following Ted Turner's purchase of Hanna-Barbera.
- Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures, on the other hand, went in the opposite direction — the CBS episodes (which had Keanu Reeves, Alex Winter, George Carlin and Bernie Casey voicing the characters they played in the movie) were made by Hanna-Barbera in association with Orion, while when it moved to Fox (making this a channel hop AND a company hop) DiC took over production with the voices of the actors starring in a live-action adaptation of the movie.
- Doug was produced by the company it was on at the time: Nickelodeon Animation when on Nick, Walt Disney Television Animation when on ABC. Jumbo Pictures was there for all episodes, but was bought by Disney in 1996, precipitating the Channel Hop.
- The 1980s Alvin and the Chipmunks series stared out being animated by Ruby-Spears (a sister studio to Hanna-Barbera) for its first five seasons, before animation was switched over to DiC for the final three seasons, with 11 episodes in season six done by Murakami-Wolf-Swenson, the same company behind the first TMNT series.
- A huge example: every Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film made before 1986 is now owned by Warner Bros. because Turner Entertainment purchased MGM in 1985 and sold it back, while keeping its film library. Time Warner's purchase of Turner in 1996 resulted in the films ending up with Warner, where they remain today.
- George Romero's Living Dead films, in part due to his unwillingness to trim gore and violence from them. Latent Image, Laurel, Universal, Columbia, etc. However, the first such hop can be explained by the first film's public domain status: Romero blamed it on a copyright screw-up by the production company/distributor when the title was changed from Night of the Flesh Eaters and vowed never again to work with the guilty parties.
- The Chronicles of Narnia started out being released by Walt Disney Pictures; Walden (the actual film company responsible for the films) has since jumped ship and the next installments will be under 20th Century Fox (though since Walden lost the rights, it could even change the production company).
- Hellboy from Revolution Studios to Universal Pictures/Relativity Media.
- Universal did it again, taking Kick-Ass from Lionsgate.
- Bit of a subversion here, as Universal distributed the film in other territories (for example, the UK and Australia).
- Chronic with the Terminator films. Every. single. movie. Actual distribution is even worse (first one: Orion theatrically, currently MGM; second: TriStar Pictures theatrically and some video releases — others involved with home distribution include Lionsgate, Artisan and Universal; third/fourth: Warner domestically, Sony overseas; fifth: Paramount).
- To elaborate why: The first was made by Hemdale Film Corporation, who ended up going undernote , and the rights were eventually bought by Mario Kassar, who ran Carolco Pictures, which later went bankrupt (destroying chances of James Cameron's Terminator 3 and Spider-Man) and had their film library bought by Studio Canalnote , who sold the rights to C2 Pictures (also ran by Kassar and his partner Andrew G. Vajna) and Intermedia, and the possibility of any more Terminator sequels became the subject of a legal deadlock (thanks to a feud between Kassar and Vajna), eventually culminating in the rights going to The Halcyon Company. Who sold the rights after going bankrupt.
- Interestingly, Hemdale was the only production company among them to hang around long enough to see the sequel to its movie premiere in theatres; in fact, Hemdale was still around for a few more years after Terminator 2 (and Bruno Mattei's own unofficial sequel with a similar name, released in the United States under the name Shocking Dark due to trademark issues) was released.
- Hannover House, a company formed by a former Hemdale employee, even tried to make a new animated movie, but was blocked to do so by Pacificor, the hedge fund who purchased the rights from Halcyon (because they helped them purchase said rights in the first place).
- In 2012, Pacificor sold the rights to Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures. Her brother David joined afterwards, and given his Skydance Productions have a deal with Paramount, they got a distributor. Annapurna eventually left, albeit Megan remained as executive producer.
- Rambo from Carolco Pictures to Lionsgate/The Weinstein Company. Amusingly, Lionsgate owns the home video rights to the first three films in the series.
- Friday the 13th from Paramount (Warner Bros. overseas) to New Line after the first 8 films. This allowed them to Cross Over with their franchise.
- Then Warner became New Line's parent company and sold the rights back to Paramount so both can produce Christopher Nolan's Interstellar. Platinum Dunes, responsible for the 2009 remake, is attached to a possible new movie under Paramount.
- Warner Bros. also got the domestic sub-license to the first 8 films to do an entire franchise Blu-ray set.
- The Halloween franchise went from Compass International for the first film to Universal Pictures for the second and third films, to Galaxy International (with distribution from 20thCenturyFox) for the fourth and fifth films, and finally to Dimension Films for the sixth, seventh, and eighth films (under Miramax and Buena Vista/Disney). The latter three are now owned by FilmYard Holdings following their purchase of Miramax. The two Rob Zombie films were both Dimension under The Weinstein Company (working with MGM on the first).
- The home video distributors are Anchor Bay for films 1, 4-5,note Shout! Factory (under their Scream Factory label) for films 2 and 3,note and Lionsgate for films 6-8 note In addition, Genius Products released the first Rob Zombie film and Sony Pictures released the second (both under The Weinstein Company). Overseas, the 5 Dimension-owned films are released by various independent distributors (such as Alliance in Canada), as with all films from Miramax/The Weinstein Company.
- However in 2014, Anchor Bay teamed up with Shout! Factory/Scream Factory to release a complete franchise Blu-ray boxset. Films 6-8 had to be sub-licensed from FilmYard Holdings and since Anchor Bay is now The Weinstein Company's home video distributor, they were able to use the existing Rob Zombie film discs for the set from Genius/Sony.
- The Scream films have always been Dimension Films, but because Dimension switched from being under Miramax (Buena Vista/Disney) to The Weinstein Company, the fourth film averted this. The first 3 films are currently owned by FilmYard Holdings (an investment consortium that bought Miramax in 2010 and licenses the US home video rights to Lionsgate), and the 4th by The Weinstein Company (with DVD/Blu-ray by Anchor Bay).
- The same goes for the Spy Kids and Scary Movie franchises, as the first three films of their respective series were also distributed by Miramax under the Dimension Films label and their subsequent films were released by The Weinstein Company under the Dimension Films label.
- Sin City, on the other hand, has an interesting subversion of this. The first film was initially distributed by Miramax, as with the other aforementioned franchises, while its sequel is being distributed by The Weinstein Company, but Miramax under Filmyard Holdings is co-producing it.
- Speaking of The Weinstein Company, it's home video division had several distributors through the years (Genius Products from 2006 to 2009, Vivendi Entertainment from 2009 to 2010 and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment from 2010 to 2011). It's currently distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment (2011-present) as TWC bought a share of Starz Media, which is Anchor Bay's parent company.
- Walter Lantz, who made Woody Woodpecker, jumped ship from Universal Pictures to United Artists in 1947. Lantz then briefly shut down his studio in 1949. The studio reopened in 1951 and went back to Universal as his distributor.
- Hellraiser from New World to Dimension.
- Death Wish from Paramount to Filmways to Cannon to Trimark. To go even further, MGM holds the remake rights and Columbia Pictures held foreign rights to the first two films.
- As Marvel Comics opened a studio, they are starting to get back the rights to their characters (leading Fox and Sony/Columbia to try to keep the ones they own — X-Men / Fantastic Four for the formernote , and The Amazing Spider-Man for the latter). Marvel has gotten back Blade, Ghost Rider, The Punisher, and The Incredible Hulk, but so far Hulk is the only one to actually appear in the MCU (in The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers and The Avengers: Age of Ultron). Daredevil is getting his own Netflix show set in the MCU, but the others are still MIA.
- As Marvel Studios' deal with Paramount ended and Disney bought Marvel Comics, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (of which only The Incredible Hulk was shipped by another studio, Universal) is now distributed by Walt Disney Pictures (though Executive Meddling pasted Paramount's logo into the first Disney-handled pic, The Avengers, even on the home video release, and Iron Man 3).
- And now, effective September 2013, Disney has the rights to the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe save for The Incredible Hulk.
- The first Child's Play movie was made by United Artists, who supposedly dropped it on "moral grounds." The other four movies have been produced by Universal or by Universal-owned companies (and indeed Universal is planning to remake the original).
- This can happen to singular movies as well. When Miramax was sold by Disney, their unreleased movies ended up going to different distributors. Gnomeo and Juliet and The Tempest stayed with Disney and were released by Touchstone, Don't be Afraid of the Dark went to Film District (releasing through Tristar Pictures domestically), Last Night went to Tribeca (and returned to Miramax through Platinum Disc/Echo Bridge for DVD) and The Debt went to Universal's Focus division. An older Miramax release, Princess Mononoke, briefly went to Lionsgate along with most of the catalog, but Disney renegotiated the rights and re-released the film on DVD themselves in 2012.
- Fright Night was backed by Columbia Pictures and a production of Vista Films; for the sequel was done by Vista and distributed by Columbia's sister studio Tristar internationally — and the remake came from Dreamworks and was distributed by Touchstone Pictures.
- Arlington Road was to have been originally released by Polygram Filmed Entertainment but after a delay (due to Columbine) and Polygram merging with October Films (to become USA Films and later Focus Features), the film was sold to Screen Gems.
- Mulholland Dr. was originally shot for the ABC network and financed by Touchstone Pictures. After ABC passed on it, director David Lynch decided to rework it and got production company Studio Canal to buy the film and finance the shooting of new footage. Universal ended up releasing the film as part of their relationship with Studio Canal.
- The Emmanuelle films released theatrically went from Columbia to Paramount to Miramax to Cannon. Four films, four distributors.
- The Muppets films have gone from ITC/Associated Film Distribution with the first film to ITC/Universal Pictures with the second to TriStar Pictures (you can blame the lawsuit over The Lone Ranger's mask for that one) with the third to Walt Disney Pictures with the fourth and fifth to TriStar's sister studio Columbia with the sixth and back to Disney from the seventh onward.
- Other Jim Henson works have hopped too. The Dark Crystal was a ITC/Universal Pictures release that originally was released by Thorn EMI Video in The Eighties, then Walt Disney Home Video in The Nineties. At the end of that decade, Columbia/TriStar Home Entertainment picked it up. Labyrinth was originally released by TriStar Pictures but the initial video release was through Embassy (later Nelson) Home Entertainment; again, Columbia/TriStar (re)claimed it at the end of The Nineties.
- The Studio Ghibli films have a history of this in the US. Disney and Buena Vista has distributed most of them since 1997, but there have been a few exceptions:
- If you count it, The Castle of Cagliostro (Miyazaki's first directoral film) was originally distributed in the US by Streamline Pictures before their rights expired and Manga Entertainment picked up the rights and redubbed the film with Animaze and David Hayter as Lupin. Their rights later expired, and the film was rescued for a DVD/Blu-ray re-release from Discotek Media with both dubs (along with a bonus version of the latter dub which removed much of the gratuitous profanity).
- The original US release of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind in 1985 was under New World Pictures with video distribution from Veston Video and later First Independent Video featuring a heavily edited dub that Miyazaki despised so much, he put forth a no editing clause into his future contracts. Disney would later acquire the film and redub it in 2005 for their releases beginning that same year.
- Streamline Pictures dubbed and/or distributed Laputa Castle In The Sky, Kikis Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro (with a home video release from 20th Century Fox) and Porco Rosso in the late 80s/early 90s before Disney picked up the rights and redubbed/re-released them all.
- Because Grave of the Fireflies had a different licensor in Japan, it wasn't included in Disney's deal. Central Park Media distributed it on video and DVD (with a dub from Skypilot Entertainment in 1998) before they went under and ADV Films rescued it. When they went under, Sentai Filmworks picked up the rights and released a remastered DVD in 2011 with a Blu-ray release in 2012 containing a new dub from Seraphim Digital.
- Princess Mononoke was distributed by Miramax because of it's intense content. When they went under, Disney picked up the rights after they renewed their contract with Ghibli; see the Miramax example on this page for more.
- In 2011, GKIDS picked up the theatrical rights to the Studio Ghibli catalog from Disney, who still retains home video rights, with the exception of From Up on Poppy Hill and The Tale Of Princess Kaguya, whose home video rights also went to GKIDS (who released the films to DVD and Blu-ray under Cinedigm for Poppy Hill and Universal for Princess Kaguya).
- The Wind Rises is being distributed theatrically and on video by Disney's Touchstone Pictures label.
- This trope is averted in the UK and Australia where the entire Ghibli catalog is handled by Studio Canal (formerly Optimum Releasing) and Madman Entertainment respectively.
- The Pokémon films are owned by different distributors in the US. The first 3 films were distributed by Warner Bros. Films 4-7 were distributed by Miramax and Buena Vista, and are now owned by FilmYard Holdings (with Lionsgate for home video, formerly with Echo Bridge Home Ent.). Films 8 onward have been with Viz Media (who distributes through Warner Bros. and have the home video rights to the anime), with the strange exception of the 11th film, which went to Universal. Also, Cinedigm distributed the 14th film in theaters in the US (the "White" version).
- AKIRA has gone from Streamline Pictures to Orion Pictures/MGM to Pioneer/Geneon to Bandai Visual to Bandai Entertainment to FUNimation.
- The Miley Cyrus film So Undercover was financed by The Weinstein Company but was sold to Open Road Films (a joint venture of the AMC and Regal theatre chains) for its theatrical release. Then the North American theatrical run got canceled and Millennium Films ended up distributing the film for home video (the failure of LOL at the box office obviously didn't help matters).
- Haywire was to have initially been released by Lionsgate but the film's producers (Relativity Media) backed out of their deal with them and chose to distribute themselves. The film went back to Lionsgate for its DVD and Blu Ray releases.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars notwithstanding (as this one was handled by Warner Bros. ), the Star Wars franchise has officially moved from 20th Century Fox to Walt Disney Pictures after the latter's purchase of Lucasfilm Ltd. However, under the terms of the deal, Fox will retain A New Hope in perpetuity.
- The home video distribution of the Peanuts TV specials moved from Media Home Entertainment and sometimes its children's sublabel Hi-Tops Video (or otherwise Kartes Video Communications in a few cases) to Paramount in 1994, then to Warner Bros. in 2008, primarily due to longtime specials producer Bill Melendez being a former Looney Tunes animator. (as an aside, Fox is doing an animated feature through Blue Sky Studios)
- Most films that Media Home Entertainment had originally released on home video saw their rights transfer as well to other distributors, principally Anchor Bay, but the assets of the company when it folded in 1993 following the conviction of Gerald Ronson, CEO of parent company Heron Communications, were sold to 20th Century Fox, which co-distributed some of the very last releases by Media Home Entertainment. For example, Media originally released the first VHS releases of the first five Nightmare on Elm Street films. After Media Home Entertainment ceased to exist, New Line, which originally theatrically distributed the five films became the rights holder for their home video releases, eventually being transferred to corporate parent Warner Bros.
- Little Monsters and Blue Steel were financed by Vestron Pictures but ended up being distributed by MGM/UA due to Vestron's financial issues.
- My Fair Lady transferred from Warner Bros. to CBS during the 1970s, since CBS sponsored the Broadway musical that the movie was based on. Since then, the film has been released by MGM/CBS Home Video, CBS/Fox Video, Warner Home Video, and Paramount Home Entertainment at various times, mainly due to joint ventures and output deals made by CBS.
- DreamWorks went from an independent studio (with Universal handling home video) to distribution from Paramount, and now the live-action films are with Disney/Touchstone Pictures (20th Century Fox overseas) and DreamWorks Animation with 20th Century Fox. Their live action back-catalog stayed with Paramount, who's own home video back-catalog is distributed by Warner Bros.
- Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho was originally released through Paramount, but the rights to re-release the movie transferred to Universal (on whose lot Hitchcock filmed Psycho) eight years later. Universal eventually gained the rights to four more movies Hitchcock directed for Paramount: Rear Window, The Trouble with Harry, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and Vertigo.
- Rights to Hitchcock's adaptation of Rope transferred from Warner Bros., to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, to United Artists, and finally to Universal.
- The rest of the Psycho series was released under Universal, although Psycho II and III have been sub-licensed to Good Times and Shout! Factory/Scream Factory for home video at different points.
- Two victims of The Shelf of Movie Languishment after MGM's bankrupcy: The Cabin in the Woods (rescued by Lionsgate) and Red Dawn (2012) (minor studio Film District).
- The Seventh Son started out as a Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures feature, but when Legendary announced that they were breaking up with WB, the latter decided to cancel its planned January 2014 release date and ditch the film entirely. Distribution rights will now be held by Legendary's new partner, Universal.
- Universal also got the rights to distribute the upcoming Pacific Rim sequel from Warner Bros. under the new deal.
- The Walt Disney-produced Oswald the Lucky Rabbit films were sold from Universal to The Walt Disney Company in a deal that sent Al Michaels to NBC's Sunday Night Football from ESPN.
- In a case of films switching from one brand to another within the same parent company, Touchstone Pictures release The Nightmare Before Christmas received the Disney logo for its 3D re-release.
- Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was distributed by Paramount during its theatrical premiere. After it flopped, they decided not to renew distribution rights. Warner Bros. then added the movie to their library, where it belongs to this day.
- The Little Rascals franchise went from Hal Roach Studios to MGM in 1938. The latter studio distributed the series on behalf of the former for a decade before taking over. The 1990s movie was co-produced by Universal and the company that now owns the franchise, then known as King World, now CBS.
- After losing Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to Universal, Disney turned to Celebrity Productions to distribute his new Mickey Mouse cartoons. He released the Silly Symphonies through Columbia Pictures in 1929, and they took over distribution of the Mickey series in 1930. Disney then turned to United Artists from 1932 to 1937, after which RKO Radio Pictures released Disney's shorts and features until 1953, when Disney formed their own distribution company.
- Godzilla has always been owned by Toho. But American distribution is quite complicated. Most are now held by Columbia, who produced the 1998 American movie. After their rights to a new movie lapsed, Legendary Pictures bought them and their then-partner Warner released the 2014 movie. Unlike the Pacific Rim franchise, though, Warner will continue to make future Godzilla films in association with Legendary.
- The history of Power Rangers distributors is something that requires branching out along different areas of distribution. On television, it was self-distributed by Saban at first before Fox purchased the company. Then Disney purchased the Saban library from Fox and later sold the franchise rights back to Haim Saban himself, with his new company, Saban Brands, co-distributing new installments in association with MarVista Entertainment since. The theatrical films were first handled by Fox, with Lionsgate (itself distributed on home video by Fox) taking over the film series starting with the third film. On video, PolyGram and Warner Music Group, the latter then owned by Warner Bros. , were the first to distribute the franchise, followed by Fox (which had already issued the first film on video), then Disney, and presently Shout! Factory and Lionsgate.
- Dumb and Dumber and its 2003 prequel Dumb and Dumberer were both distributed by New Line, but its 2014 sequel Dumb and Dumber To was picked up by Universal (though New Line stayed on as producer).
- Earth To Echo was originally produced by Disney. After seeing the final cut, the studio lost faith in the project and they sold the distribution rights to Relativity Media.
Rare TV-To-Film Examples
- Firefly was produced by Twentieth Century Fox Television (oh, all right, and Mutant Enemy) but the big-screen film version, Serenity, was made by Universal.
- Orion — owners of Filmways, which made The Addams Family — was having financial issues and elected to sell domestic rights to Paramount for the first film in order to cover some debt (they had a deal with Columbia for overseas distribution). After they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Paramount picked up the sequel rights from Orion. And things don't stop there: Fox got the rights in the late nineties and did a sitcom out of them (with Warner Bros. distributing on home video the pilot, Addams Family Reunion), and now Universal is planning an animated flick with Tim Burton.
- The film of Lost in Space was made by New Line, though the series itself was from Fox.
- Although The Fugitive was a Quinn Martin Production in association with United Artists Television, and the series itself is owned today (like almost the entire QM back catalogue) by CBS and Paramount, the film is owned by Warner Bros. (This came about due to QM Productions's sale to Taft Broadcasting; Taft executive Keith Barish eventually left the company and took the rights to The Fugitive with him, so when former QM employee and latter-day producer Arnold Kopelson wanted to do a film based on the series with regular partners Warner Bros., a deal was seen to be made.)
- Star Trek: The Original Series was originally produced by Desilu Studios and aired on NBC. Desilu Studios was bought out by Paramount during the show's run, and with the CBS-Viacom split, Paramount's television division stayed on CBS's side. None of the spin-offs (other than Star Trek: The Animated Series) aired on NBC or an NBC-affiliated network. So after NBC canceled the series, it became a Cash Cow Franchise and not only has NBC not seen a dime of it, the money all goes to the people who own their rival. Call it Laser-Guided Karma if you want. (Ironically, CBS originally passed on Star Trek in favor of Lost in Space.)
- The A-Team was produced by Universal and Stephen J. Cannell Productions (Universal owns the series now), but the film was released by 20th Century Fox due to Universal putting the film in turnaround several years before it finally got produced.
- Dark Shadows was made by Dan Curtis Productions, but the film was released by Warner Bros. , who purchased the rights directly from series creator Dan Curtis' estate.
- Magical Mystery Tour was originally a Made-for-TV movie produced by Apple Corps in association with the BBC before it was rereleased in theaters in 1974 by New Line Cinema and again in 2012 by Apple.
- The film of The Equalizer was made by Columbia Pictures, while the series was made by Universal.
Comic Book Examples
- Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, Judomaster, Nightshade, and The Question all started off at Charlton Comics, but were bought out by DC Comics and brought into the official DC Universe during Crisis on Infinite Earths. Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt was also briefly published by DC, but is currently published by Dynamite Entertainment (as the rights to the character returned to the estate of his deceased creator).
- Shazam (formerly Captain Marvel), Black Adam, and the Marvel Family were originally owned by Fawcett Comics, but ended up being bought out by DC after a massive lawsuit. They (as well Fawcett's other heroes) are currently part of the DCU.
- Plastic Man and Blackhawk were originally owned by Quality Comics, but like the above examples, were bought out by DC and integrated into their universe. A number of other Quality properties like the Ray, Phantom Lady, Black Condor, and Uncle Sam were later published together as the Freedom Fighters.
- The Milestone Comics heroes (the most famous among them being Static) were originally part of a creator-owned imprint published by DC, but separate from the DC Universe. They're currently licensed by DC and part of the DCU proper.
- Archie Comics had a line of superheroes in the Golden Age, collectively known as the Red Circle. DC briefly licensed the rights from Archie and integrated them into the DCU, but poor sales resulted in the rights going back to Archie. Archie now publishes the Red Circle heroes once again, treating their DC adventures as Canon Discontinuity in the process.
- Miracleman (formerly Marvelman) is a famously complicated example. He started off in the 50's at L. Miller & Son before being revived by Quality Communications in the 80's. He was then licensed out to Eclipse Comics, before that publisher folded (as had Quality), and floated around in limbo for years. Todd McFarlane tried to bring the character into the Image Comics universe, but legal issues prevented this from happening. Marvel Comics supposedly has the rights as of now, and have reprinted some of Miracleman's original 50's stories, but it is unclear whether or not they have rights to the Quality and Eclipse material (which featured legendary work from Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman).
- Marvel has started reprinting the Alan Moore stories, although the writer is now credited to "The Original Writer".
- Amazing-Man was originally published by Centaur, but after lapsing into the Public Domain, he has appeared in stories published by Malibu and Dynamite Entertainment (such as Project Superpowers). He's also appeared in the Marvel Universe (in Immortal Iron Fist, Secret Avengers, and The Defenders, but is called the Prince of Orphans due to copyright reasons.
- Rob Liefeld's Youngblood originated at Image Comics, but Liefeld eventually left the studio and brought them over to his own publishing house, Awesome Comics (where they were ReTooled by Alan Moore). After Awesome folded, the characters (and Liefeld) returned to Image.
- Mantis is a truly bizarre example. She originated at Marvel Comics as a member of The Avengers, but after being written out of the series, was briefly published by DC Comics under the name "Willow", and later by Eclipse Comics under the name "Lorelei". She finally returned to the Marvel Universe a few years later, and is currently part of the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise.
- The New York Four started off as part of DC Comics' Minx Line, but the sequel, The New York Five, was published by Vertigo Comics.
- Peter David's Fallen Angel started off at DC (in fact, the heroine, Lee, was heavily implied to be Linda Danvers under an assumed name), but was later picked up by IDW Publishing.
- The characters of Wildstorm (publisher of The Authority, Stormwatch, Gen 13, and Wild CATS) started off as a sub-studio at Image, before being bought by DC Comics. The characters existed on their own until the events of Flashpoint and the New 52, where they were brought over into the rebooted DC canon.
- Neil Gaiman's Angela was originally created for the Spawn series at Image Comics. After a massive legal battle that spanned years, Gaiman regained creative control of the character, and brought her over to Marvel Comics. She entered the Marvel Universe at the close of the Age of Ultron Crisis Crossover.
- It is very common for comics based on an external license to change publishers, with the new publishers often reprinting the material commissioned from a previous publisher.
- The short-lived Darkwing Duck comic book was originally published by Boom Studios, but a new publisher known as Joe Books will not only have all issues of the comic (with the exception of the last two) be revised by original editor Aaron Sparrow and collected in an omnibus called Darkwing Duck: The Definitively Dangerous Edition, set to be released In early 2015, but will also start publishing a new Darkwing Duck series after the omnibus is released.
- It's quite common for artists to start on lower labels but then sign to a bigger one — commonly, to the cries of "Sell Out" by the Fan Dumb.
- And in recent years, there is the opposite: artists leave the major labels after being fed up with their policies, and start releasing independently. The breakout example of this practice was Radiohead in 2007.
- Michael Jackson released his first solo albums on Motown, the same label to which The Jackson 5 were signed. For his fifth, Off The Wall, he went for Epic Records instead. The rest is history (to the point that some think that was his solo debut).
- Aerosmith started their career on Columbia Records. As their career started to dwindle on the early 80s, the label dropped them, so when they started Putting the Band Back Together, they signed with Geffen Records. The Career Resurrection that followed was enough for Columbia to sign them back in 1996.
- The Red Hot Chili Peppers were first signed to EMI America, but it was mostly fruitless — only their last album there, Mother's Milk, caused impact. So afterwards came a bidding war, a deal with Warner Bros. Records and Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and they became superstars.
- Van Halen were signed to Warner Bros. Records for all their career, but for their comeback album A Different Kind of Truth in 2012, they signed with Interscope instead.
- When Dave Grohl decided to form the Foo Fighters and release his playing all instruments record as the Self-Titled Album, he signed to Capitol as he knew their president from his Nirvana days. So when said executive left after the Foos did their second album in 97, Grohl left Capitol, and only signed to RCA when the home-made third album was done.
- The musical projects of Trent Reznor are an interesting case. After he left major label Interscope in 2007, he set up his own independent label, The Null Corporation, to release new material (such as Ghosts I-IV, The Slip and his and Atticus Ross' Oscar-winning soundtrack to The Social Network). This label goes through RED Distribution, a distribution channel owned by Sony Music. After the success of Null's releases, Reznor's musical project How To Destroy Angels would end up signing with Sony subsidiary Columbia Records, and he would do the same with Nine Inch Nails for its comeback album.
- Depeche Mode signed to Mute Records in 1980, and got a US deal with Sire Records shortly after. When Mute was bought by EMI in 2002, the band's US deal remained in place until 2009, when they moved to Virgin and Capitol (two other EMI subsidiaries) to release Sounds of the Universe. In 2012, however, they left EMI altogether for Columbia Records, but the logo for Mute still appears on their debut Columbia album Delta Machine.
- Queen: Greatest Flix underwent this before release due to the controversial Warner Home Video Rental Drive of '81, being released by Picture Music International through Thorn EMI Video (whose parent company, EMI, distributed their records in the UK), instead of by WEA (who distributed them in the USA) as was originally planned.
- For the record, the rights to Queen's music itself are another example of this. In the UK, Queen originally released their music through EMI/Parlophone, but they kept their masters and signed a more lucrative deal with Island Records in 2011. Thus, when Universal merged with EMI and had to divest Parlophone to Warner, their music stayed with Island. In the US and Canada, Queen signed to Elektra and WEA and released their music under those labels until 1984's The Works, when they moved to Capitol (an EMI subsidiary), in part because of the above fiasco. That deal would go on until 1991, when the band signed a new deal with Disney's Hollywood Records (which just so happened to be distributed by Elektra until 1995, when Polygram, and later Universal, took over), taking their back catalog with them. Now, Universal distributes Queen's music worldwide.
- Limp Bizkit left their longtime label Interscope in 2012 and signed on to Birdman's Cash Money Records. Yes, Limp Bizkit is now labelmates with artists like Lil Wayne, Drake, and Nicki Minaj.
- Many of the contributors of That Guy with the Glasses, including That Guy himself, started out on YouTube. In That Guy's case, he was driven to create the site because YouTube started removing his videos due to copyright issues.
- Some of them seem to have moved back to YouTube recently, such as Doug, Lindsey, Brad and Todd on the League of Super Critics, while still continuing on Blip. Doug even go as far as to make a few YouTube jokes in recent Nostalgia Critic episodes.
- Zero Punctuation started out (very briefly) as a series of YouTube reviews before getting picked up as a proper series by the online "magazine" The Escapist.
- Likewise Extra Credits, which then hopped again when The Escapist cut out the funding for the series, moving back to YouTube briefly before ending up on Penny Arcade's PATV.
- Discussed in the Script Fic Calvin and Hobbes: The Series:
- Some video reviewers changed their video providers a lot: YouTube, Revver, Blip Tv, Springboard...
- In the late 1940s, CBS head William S. Paley conducted a famous "talent raid" of rival NBC, snatching away such popular shows as The Jack Benny Program, Amos 'n' Andy, The Burns and Allen Show, The Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy Show, and The Red Skelton Show. The move led to CBS becoming the ratings leader in 1949, establishing a position of dominance that the network would enjoy into the television era and wouldn't relinquish until the late '70s.
Video Game Examples
- Bayonetta began as a Sega franchise, but as of Bayonetta 2, Nintendo now owns the publishing rights. Sega still owns the franchise, but Nintendo is publishing all further games in the series.
- Rareware and Silicon Knights used to be Nintendo-owned companies, until Nintendo sold their shares to Microsoft.
- Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon jumped from Sony Computer Entertainment to Vivendi Universal, who later merged with Sierra. The rights then went to Activision after the fall of Sierra.
- Valve Software's (retail) games used to be distributed by Sierra, until the release of The Orange Box, in which they are now distributed by EA Games. Valve handles their own digital distribution, though.
- Leisure Suit Larry began as a Sierra franchise, until it was sold to Codemasters (who picked up and released Box Office Bust) after Sierra's fall. The other Sierra franchises are retained by Activision.
- Command & Conquer went from Westwood Studios to EA Games, and some were not too happy about it.
- The WWE game franchise went from THQ to 2K Sports following THQ's bankruptcy.
- Interesting example with the Far Cry series. The series started off with the first installment being made by Crytek Studios and Ubisoft with Crytek's proprietary CryEngine. However, after the first game, Crytek parted ways with Ubisoft, took their engine with them and went on to make the Crysis series. Ubisoft kept the Far Cry trademark and continued the franchise, producing Far Cry 2 and the very popular Far Cry 3. The non-Crytek installments of the Far Cry series are rendered in the Unreal Engine.