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Channel Hop

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Meatwad: 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!
Aqua Teen Hunger Force, "Bible Fruit" note 

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. Another channel grabbed the show up (sometimes after a move to reruns in syndication) 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.
  • Advertisement:
  • Behind-the-Scenes Politics: Waning interest in the show and a network makes a great offer, sometimes a package deal with a selection of other shows.
  • Vertical Integration: Certain shows are saved only because their production companies happen to be under common ownership with another network. Shows produced by an in-house company can be sold to other networks for their airtime, thus the hop is more of a "coming home."

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 "network premiere".


Example subpages:


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    TV Personality Examples 
  • Brazilian TV legend Xuxa switched from Rede Globo to Rede Record in 2015. The Channel Hop didn't stop Globo-owned Som Livre from releasing the next Xuxa Só Para Baixinhos album, however.
  • A variant of sorts occurred with the international Sesame Street Muppet character Sivan. She started off in 2009 with the Israeli co-production Rechov Sumsum, but in 2014 the character was transferred to the Brazilian co-production Vila Sésamo.

    Comic Book Examples 
  • Many companies were bought by DC Comics:
    • Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, Judomaster, Nightshade, Peacemaker and The Question all started off at Charlton Comics, but were bought out by DC Comics and brought into the official DCU 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 as 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. Later, they were licensed by DC, becoming part of the DCU proper. Later still, they were established as having their own universe in the DC multiverse, again under their own imprint.
    • The characters of WildStorm (publisher of The Authority, Stormwatch, Gen¹³, and Wild CATS Wild Storm) 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.
  • 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 '50s at L. Miller & Son before being revived by Quality Communications in the '80s. 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.
  • Speaking of Wildstorm, The Boys started there. But it only lasted for six issues because DC were uneasy with the anti-superhero tone, and they cut a deal to make the title fully owned by author Garth Ennis, who then continued it on Dynamite Entertainment.
  • 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 not only had all issues of the comic (with the exception of the last two) revised by original editor Aaron Sparrow and collected in an omnibus called Darkwing Duck: The Definitively Dangerous Edition, which was released in early 2015, but will also start publishing a new Darkwing Duck series.
  • Between 1979 and 1995, Doctor Who Magazine was published by the UK branch of Marvel Comics. As a result, its long-running Doctor Who comic strip often intersected with the Marvel Universe, including crossovers with Death's Head and Captain Britain and even a brief intersection with the Fantastic Four and other mainstream Marvel heroes. Around 1989, a second Doctor Who comic strip was published for about a year in the UK magazine The Incredible Hulk Presents. In 1995, the publishing rights for DWM were sold to Italian-based Panini (which continues to publish the magazine as of 2016), and the Marvel connections ended.
  • Scarlett was originally published by DC Comics, but is now owned by Monsterverse.
  • Ramayan 3392 AD was originally published by Virgin Comics, but has since been relocated to Graphic India.
  • Madman was for a long time published by Dark Horse Comics. Later, the series moved to Oni Press (under Mike Allred's Atomic Comics label), before moving again to Image.
  • The Transformers comics have changed hands twice.
    • The Transformers (Marvel) and its successor Transformers: Generation 2 were originally published by Marvel Comics from 1984 to 1994, with trade paperbacks released by Titan Books in 2001. In 2002, a young and relatively unknown Canadian comic studio called Dreamwave Productions (originally formed as part of Image Comics) obtained the license to make new Transformers comics, with their flagship title Transformers: Generation One (a reboot not connected to Marvel's comics) accompanied by adaptations of the then-new Transformers: Armada and Transformers: Energon toylines.
    • Dreamwave collapsed in 2005 due to management issues and the license was picked up by IDW Publishing later that year, with a new series and a new continuity launching shortly after. IDW has since printed a number of Transformers series in their continuity, a sequel series set in the original Marvel continuity titled Transformers: Regeneration One, and reprints of the Marvel and Dreamwave stories. However, IDW's initial Marvel reprints omitted issues (or sometimes just individual pages) featuring characters Marvel owns, such as Spider-Man and Circuit Breakernote , as they were unable to negotiate the fees to use these characters. The earlier reprints by Titan included everything because Marvel went a lot easier on them, though IDW eventually was able to work a deal with Marvel and reprinted the Marvel comics a second time with the issues featuring Spider-Man and Circuit Breaker intact.
  • The Angel: After The Fall (IDW Publishing) comic book series: After having crossed over with the Buffy (Dark Horse Comics) comics, Angel's story is now being continued in Dark Horse's spinoff of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9, Angel and Faith.
  • The comic book adaptation of Muppet Babies (1984) was a mild example, with the first 17 issues published by Star Comics and the remaining 9 published by Star Comics' parent company Marvel Comics.
  • The majority of The Muppet Show Comic Book and all five of the Muppet Classics miniseries were originally published by Boom! Studios. After Boom lost the license, the last intended arc of The Muppet Show Comic Book, titled Four Seasons, was published by Marvel Comics.
  • The Brazilian comic Monica's Gang and its associated titles have gone through three different publishers. The comics were originally published by Abril starting in 1970 until Globo took over publishing duties in 1987, with Panini being the current publisher as of 2007.
  • As with Transformers, the comic book license to G.I. Joe has changed a few times.
  • Archie Comics held the license for Sonic the Hedgehog for 24 years. After the cancellation of Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) and the end of their partnership with Sega in 2017, IDW Publishing was quickly given the Sonic license, and started Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW), set in a new continuity, the following year.
  • Little Audrey started with St. John Publications in 1948 before moving to Harvey in 1952.
  • Dead@17 was originally published by Viper Comics, but the franchise has since moved to Image Comics.
  • The Parker Brothers electronic toy ROM the Space Knight received a comic book tie-in by Marvel Comics titled ROM: Spaceknight, which notably outlasted the original toy and has since written out the title character after Marvel lost the license. Decades later, Hasbro would acquire the rights to ROM and IDW Publishing would publish a new comic series that was divorced from the Marvel Comics version and was part of the Hasbro Comic Universe.
  • The comic book tie-in to Mego's Micronauts toyline changed publishers as the toys themselves changed ownership. Mego originally licensed the IP to Marvel, who published a Micronauts comic book that was famous for crossing over with Marvel's other titles and running long after the original toyline went defunct.note  In 2002, Image Comics was given the license to produce a short-lived comic book series when they obtained the license from then-rights holder Abrams Gentile Entertainment. After the rights to Micronauts ultimately ended up in the hands of Hasbro and they gave the license to IDW Publishing as they did with most of their other properties, yet another comic was published, which, like IDW's take on ROM, was part of the Hasbro Comic Universe.
  • The publishing rights for Star Wars comics has jumped back and forth between publishers over the decades.
    • The comic rights originally belonged to Marvel Comics from 1977 to 1987, having a singular comic series.
    • Dark Horse Comics published Star Wars comics from 1991 to 2014. After Disney purchased the rights to the franchise, their publishing license would end with Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (and due to being adapted from unreleased scripts of storylines from The Clone Wars, originally their only comic to not be under the Legends umbrella)
    • With Disney's purchase of the franchise, publishing rights returned to Marvel (also owned by Disney) starting in 2015. In 2017, Disney Lucasfilm also licensed IDW Publishing to produce an anthology comic aimed at younger readers, Star Wars Adventures.
    • In 2022, IDW's license expired, with Dark Horse Comics returning to publish Star Wars comics alongside Marvel. They also picked up the publishing rights to IDW's The High Republic Adventures, making it the only part of the Star Wars Adventures line to continue past its parent series.

    Literature Examples 
  • When news emerged of Harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment, the Hachette Book Group immediately shuttered the Weinstein Books publisher and transferred its authors to the main Hachette publisher.
  • When Brazilian publisher Cosac Naify went out of business in 2015, Companhia das Letras acquired the publishing rights to Captain Underpants and re-released the original translations.
  • The Harry Potter series was originally distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books. In 2010, the series was re-released by Penguin because of Bloomsbury's new distribution deal.
    • However, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was published by Scholastic (the series' US distributor) in Canada and Little Brown in the UK.
  • Family Skeleton Mysteries: The first three books were released by the Berkley publishing company under their "Berkley Prime Crime" imprint before the author switched publishers to Diversion Books for #4 and on.
  • Ezra Jack Keats had several publishers throughout his life: Viking, Harper & Row, Macmillan, Greenwillow, and Four Winds Press. Beginning in the 1990s, Keats' book rights reverted to his estate and were republished by Viking.
  • The Rotten Ralph books changed publishers multiple times. The first eight books were published by Houghton Mifflin, the next five by Harper Collins, the next four by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, the next book by Houghton Mifflin again and the last two books by Farrar, Straus and Giroux once more.

    Music Examples 
  • In 2013, right after acquiring Parlophone Records from Universal through EMI, Warner Music Group agreed to divest part of its combined catalogue to independent labels:
    • Radiohead had already moved to XL Recordings in 2007, and their Parlophone-era backlog was given to the label in turn. Because, Believe, Concord, Cherry Red, Woah Dad, the newly independent Chrysalis Records, RT Industries, and New State Music each acquired at least 10 former Warner/Parlophone artists. Some artists who went independent had their catalogues acquired by the labels they are currently signed to (in addition to Radiohead above, Hot Chip and Porcupine Tree’s major label catalogues went to Domino and Kscope, respectively). Because acquired nearly all of London Records (although Joy Division and New Order’s output stayed with Warner).
    • Perhaps the biggest divestment went to Tommy Boy Records, an influential label during The Golden Age of Hip Hop and the rise of House Music that had a long semi-independent partnership with Warner in its heyday, but became independent in 2002. It reacquired nearly all of its catalog it had left with Warner after the split. Most notably, De La Soul's catalogue would finally hit streaming services... that is, until De La Soul made it known to their fans that Tommy Boy would get the vast majority of royalties from streaming. A boycott ensued, De La Soul's music is still not on streaming, and the Tommy Boy acquisition serves as an example of when things might go wrong for catalog artists. In August 2021 Tommy Boy was sold to Reservoir Media, and De La Soul announced that their albums would soon be re-released thanks to re-negotiations with Reservoir.
  • 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).
    • This may have had something to do with The Jackson 5 / The Jacksons themselves jumping ship to Epic Records in 1975 after leaving Motown.
  • 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. Beginning in 2022, Aerosmith's entire catalogue will be re-released by Universal Music Group, which owns Geffen.
  • The Red Hot Chili Peppers were first signed to EMI America Records, 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). At the time, this label went 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 Hesitation Marks (in the US; it was released by Polydor in the rest of the world). Reznor would later sign a new distribution deal for The Null Corporation with Capitol (in the US and Canada) and Caroline International (worldwide) starting with Not The Actual Events.
  • Depeche Mode:
    • The band signed to Mute Records in 1980 and got licensed to Sire Records for North America. When Mute was bought by EMI in 2002, the band's deal with Sire 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 worldwide, but the logo for Mute still appears on their debut Columbia album Delta Machine.
    • When Mute's catalogue was acquired by BMG Rights Management, the label was licensed to INgrooves and PIAS (and later Warner Music; which still holds the American license to the pre-2009 Depeche Mode catalogue). However, Depeche Mode's catalogue was instead licensed to Sony Music Entertainment (the owner of Columbia).
  • 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.
    • In the UK, Queen were originally signed onto EMI until 1989, when they were moved to subsidiary label Parlophone Records. However, they ultimately kept their masters and signed a more lucrative deal with Island Records for their 40th anniversary reissue campaign in 2011. Thus, when Universal merged with EMI and had to divest Parlophone to Warner, their music stayed with Island, with 'new' releases being handled by Virgin EMI Records.
    • In the US and Canada, Queen signed to Elektra Records and WEA and released their music under those labels until 1984's The Works, when they moved to EMI subsidiary Capitol Records thanks to Elektra's hesitancy towards the disco sound on Hot Space. 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. These deals also encompass Queen members' solo output; perhaps most amusingly, Freddie's solo work has been rereleased by none other than Mercury Records.
  • 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.
  • Each solo member of The Beatles stayed with Capitol/EMI for the beginning of their solo/post-Beatles careers (as per their eight-year contracts to EMI in 1967 while still working as a group), but after the dissolution of Apple Records in 1975, each jumped ship; John, George, and Ringo in 1975 (for Geffen Records, Warner (Bros.) Records and Portrait respectively), and Paul/Wings in 1979 for Columbia Records (in the US and Canada; he stayed with EMI worldwide, and eventually returned to Capitol in the US). John and George's solo albums had already returned to Capitol/EMI/Universal by 2010. Paul's solo catalog didn't return to Capitol until his contract with Concord Music ended in January 2017. Ringo's discography remains scattered across different labels (including Capitol, Atlantic, Epic, and Koch).
  • After Mötley Crüe's contract with Elektra Records expired, they bought the rights to their masters and started their own label, Motley Music, before selling their entire catalogue to BMG in 2021.
  • When soundtrack albums are expanded, they're not always on the same label that put out the original - examples are legion, like Jay Chattaway's Invasion U.S.A. (1985) (originally released on LP in 1985 by Varèse Sarabande in North America and Milan internationally; Intrada later issued the complete score in 2008).
  • Cat Stevens' first two albums were released by Deram Records while his albums from Mona Bone Jakon to Back to Earth were released on A&M Records in North America and Island Records elsewhere. Since he returned to recording as Yusuf Islam he released An Other Cup on Atlantic, Roadsinger on Hip-O and Tell 'Em I'm Gone on Columbia.
  • The Avalanches have always been signed to Modular in their home country of Australia and XL Recordings in the UK, but the North American rights to their debut album Since I Left You transferred between London-Sire, then Elektra Records, and currently, Interscope, with the Japanese rights going from independent label Toy's Factory to Universal. Their second album Wildflower was released worldwide in collaboration with four labels, the first three of which are Universal subsidiaries: Modular, EMI Australia, Astralwerks, and XL Recordings.
  • One of the most legally important examples in music is Teena Marie, who was embroiled in a legal battle with Motown in 1982 as a result of signing with Epic Records: Motown had sued her for breach of contract, despite refusing to release the new material she had recently recorded, which prompted a countersuit from Teena that accused the label of withholding royalties in spite of her history of contractual compliance. In a huge victory for artists' creative freedom, Teena won the case, which caused a law entitled The Brockert Initiative to be passed that prohibits record companies from keeping artists under contract if they refuse to release any new material by them; this law enabled a number of popular artists in the 1980s and 1990s to leave their unsupportive record labels, such as George Michael, Tom Petty, Luther Vandross, and the Mary Jane Girls.
  • For many years, a common practice for recording artists that changed labels would be to record an album (or two) of re-recordings of past hits, in order to allow the new label to reap some additional airplay and sales benefits. Here are a few examples:
    • Johnny Cash initially recorded for Sun Records. He later signed with Columbia Records and eventually recorded an album of re-recordings of Sun-era songs. In the late 1980s, Cash left Columbia and signed with Mercury Records and one of his first releases for the new label was yet another album of recordings of songs he'd previously recorded at both Sun and Columbia.
    • The Olympics ("Hully Gully", "Big Boy Pete" and others) recorded the original versions of their big hits on the Demon, Arvee and Tri-Disc labels. In 1966, they signed with Mirwood, who had them record Something Old, Something New, an album which included re-recordings of their past hits alongside newer material. Much to the annoyance of collectors, many reissues and various artists compilations have used those versions instead of the originals.
    • Little Richard had a short stint on Vee-Jay in the mid-60s, during which he recorded an album with re-recordings of his 1950s hits on Specialty.
    • Roy Orbison, as part of his all too brief Career Resurrection in the late '80s, was one of the first signings to the then-new American division of Virgin Records, His first album for Virgin (and last during his lifetime) was In Dreams, a two-disc set of re-recordings of his famous hits from his long stints on Monument, London, and MGM.
      • Orbison's catalogue is now distributed by Sony's Legacy Recordings.
  • Another notorious Motown example involves Mary Wells, one of the early stars of the label. Right after getting her biggest hit in her career with "My Guy", Wells, angry that the money made from "My Guy" was reinvested into promoting The Supremes instead of her, freed herself from her Motown contract using the old "contracts signed by minors are null and void" trick (she signed the contract at 17) and went to 20th Century Fox's record label. Berry Gordy tried (and failed) to sue her for breach of contract; unsubstantiated rumors claim that he sabotaged her post-Motown career (after Fox, she went to Atco, then Jubilee, then Reprise) by putting pressure on radio stations and distributors with threats of withholding future Motown product if they played or sold her records.
  • The Del-Vikings were involved in a rather messy example of this trope. After hitting it big with "Come Go with Me", which was initially on Fee Bee Records before Dot Records licensed it for national distribution, the group got a new manager. Said manager got the members who were underage at the time they signed with Fee Bee, which was all of them minus one, to sign a new contract with Mercury Records. This resulted in two different Del-Vikings groups, one on Mercury and one on Fee Bee/Dot, who released new records simultaneously to great confusion. (Meanwhile, some of their early demos were issued on an album by Luniverse, a label otherwise known for their Buchanan and Goodman "break-in" records.) Eventually, a lawsuit resulted in Mercury gaining exclusivity on the Del-Vikings name for recordings and the Fee Bee/Dot group renamed themselves The Versatiles.
  • The Offspring released their first album through Nemesis Records, who dropped them after just two years. Brett Gurewitz later signed the band through his Epitaph label, releasing Ignition and Smash within two years. When Smash ended up becoming a Sleeper Hit, Epitaph tried to screw The Offspring out of royalties for album sales by attempting to sell the label to another corporation. Frontman Dexter Holland wasn't pleased and reluctantly signed with Columbia Records in 1996 just to flee from Gurewitz. The band continued to release their music through Columbia (though their Columbia debut, Ixnay on the Hombre, was released through Epitaph in Europe for contractual reasons) until 2012's Days Go By. The Offspring is now signed to Concord Records, and their Columbia catalogue (and all their older compositions) are now owned by Round Hill Music.
    • After the group's signing to Columbia was announced, some in the music press trashed them as sellouts once it was revealed Epitaph had offered them a more lucrative contract. Holland had this to say about that:
      We took less money to sign with Columbia. We had to sign for more records to go with Columbia. Our signing with Columbia was not to try and make more money. We did it because we won't record for someone who thinks he can force us to. We won't record for a guy who's worse than a major label. We're gonna do whatever the fuck we want to."
  • Hoo boy, David Bowie. One of the most label hop-happy solo artists in the music business, Bowie had recorded and released music under at least fourteen different labels over the course of a career spanning roughly half a century; this actually ended up making his back-catalog the source of quite a few legal quandaries over the years, most notably with his pre-Space Oddity material, as illustrated with the infamous shelving of Toy in 2001. In order, Bowie has operated under the following record labels:
    • Vocalion Pop (1964)
    • Parlophone Records (1964-1965)note 
    • Pye Records (1966)
    • Deram Records (1966-1967)
    • Philips Records/Mercury Records (1969-1971)note 
    • B&C Records (1971)note 
    • RCA Records (1971-1982)note 
    • EMI (1983-2001)note 
      • EMI America Records (1983-1988)
      • Virgin Records (1993-2001)note 
    • Rykodisc (1989-1992)note 
    • Victory Music (1991)note 
    • Arista Records (1993-1997)note 
    • Columbia Records (2002-2017)note 
    • Warner Music Group (beginning in 2023)note 
  • Chicago released its albums first through Columbia Records, where they would thrive for more than a decade until 1980's Chicago XIV. After their release from Columbia the following year, Chicago then signed a joint record deal with Full Moon Records and Warner (Bros.) Records to release Chicago 16, and they would stay in both labels (though they were transferred to Warner sister label Reprise starting with Chicago 19) until Twenty 1 in 1991. After a one-album deal with Giant Records in 1995, the band went indie, and in the process reacquired their Columbia output from Sony Music Entertainment under a legal settlement. The band then signed with Warner-owned Rhino Records, sending their Columbia albums to them in the process, for eight years before deciding to go indie again in 2011.
  • Alice in Chains released all of their albums through Columbia Records until their breakup in 2002, after the death of lead vocalist Layne Staley. When the band reunited with William DuVall replacing Staley several years later, they signed with Virgin Records for their 2009 comeback album, Black Gives Way to Blue. When Virgin parent EMI went belly-up, they were transferred to Virgin parent Capitol Records for The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here in 2013. Five years after that, the band parted ways with Capitol and signed with BMG for Rainier Fog.
  • Genesis were originally signed onto Decca Records, a deal which lasted all of one album before the band were dropped due to it underperforming. They would then sign with Charisma Records in the UK and Impulse! Records in the US, the latter of which also lasted all of one album before having Charisma distribute them on both sides of the Pond. In the UK, they would stay on Charisma until its 1986 absorption by Virgin Records, onto whom the band would move. In the US, meanwhile, Genesis would sign onto Atco Records in 1974 before moving onto their parent label, Atlantic Records, after the departure of Steve Hackett. Atlantic would inherit the US rights to the 1971-1973 albums as a result.
  • While Peter Gabriel stuck with Charisma Records for British distribution of his albums until Charisma folded in 1986, leading him to switch to his Real World Records vanity label, he certainly wasn't as consistent with his American distributors. His debut album was released in the US by Atco Records (who were also Genesis' American distributors at the time), and his second album was released on Atco's parent label, Atlantic Records. Shortly before his third album's release in 1980, Atlantic dropped him because they no longer considered his work commercially viable (both due to the heavier influence of African music and because executives misinterpreted "Lead a Normal Life" as a Creator Breakdown). As a result, the album was released on Mercury Records instead. Just before Mercury's US release of the album, Gabriel decided to hop over to Geffen Records, becoming one of their earliest signed artists. Gabriel would stick with Geffen for US distribution of all his later albums until 2008, when he switched to Rykodisc for distribution of his collaborative album Big Blue Ball. Afterwards, all his albums would be distributed in the US by Real World Records.
  • Taylor Swift left her longtime home of Big Machine Records in 2018 for Universal Music Group's subsidiary Republic Records after her contract with the former had been fulfilled.
  • Brazilian singer Tim Maia's tempestive behavior was easily demonstrated by how he released albums in every major between the 1970s and 1990s, usually leaving on bad terms. Twice he was forced to release independently due to this.
  • Thanks to frustrations with Capitol Records' distribution of their work in the U.S., Pink Floyd switched to Columbia Records in the region for the release of Wish You Were Here (1975) and stayed there until the rights to the band's post-Dark Side albums transferred back to Capitol in 2000. The band's back catalog transferred back to Sony again in 2016 under the band's Pink Floyd Records imprint in the wake of the sale of EMI, while Parlophone Records handles distribution in the U.K. and Europe.
  • Rush switched to Atlantic Records from Mercury Records for U.S. and international distribution with Presto in 1989. In 2011, they switched to Roadrunner Records for the remainder of their career. In Canada, they released their debut on Moon Records, which led to their deal with Mercury. The band then moved to Anthem, where they stayed until their breakup, though Anthem itself switched distribution several times, from Polydor to Capitol, to Sony, to Universal.
  • Joni Mitchell started her recording career on Reprise Records before moving to Asylum Records (a sister label of Elektra Records) for her most popular work. She was one of Geffen Records' first signings in the '80s, before moving back to Reprise, then finally to Starbucks' Hear Music before her retirement. 1991's Night Ride Home would be the first time her work was on a label not distributed by Warner (Bros.) Records after Geffen changed its distribution to MCA in 1990.
  • R.E.M. released their debut single, "Radio Free Europe", on local indie label Hib-Tone Records before signing onto I.R.S. Records the following year. In 1988, they famously jumped ship to Warner (Bros.) Records after their already-shaky relationship with I.R.S. became increasingly volatile over the years, especially after they shifted distributors from A&M Records to MCA in 1985. R.E.M. would remain on Warner for the remainder of their lifetime. In 2013, Concord bought the rights to their catalog, and in 2017 began re-issuing their material under Craft Recordings.
  • British artist management company EG cycled through a number of different distributors over the years.
    • In the UK, EG initially licensed out their artists' work to Island Records until 1975, when the group eventually transformed into their own record label and entered a distribution deal with Polydor Records. This lasted until 1991, when they moved over to Virgin Records, where they now remain.
    • In the US, the band were consistently aligned with Warner Music Group until the shift to Virgin in 1991. Exactly which Warner labels an act was signed to varied: Roxy Music for instance bounced between Reprise Records, Atco Records, and Warner (Bros.) Records, while King Crimson stayed on Atlantic Records until their first breakup in 1974, then moved to Warner Bros. from their 1981 reformation until 1989, when EG gained the rights to their material worldwide. The Crim themselves would found their own Discipline Global Mobile label in the '90s, shifting from EG & Virgin to Sanctuary Records in 2002 before moving to a self-distributed model when Sanctuary closed in 2007.
  • Hoo boy, Sparks. The Mael brothers' idiosyncratic style has scared off record labels left and right, with their initial deal with Bearsville, the vanity label from Todd Rundgren distributed by Warner Bros., ending after only two albums. Yet, their gigantic popularity in Europe led to stints on respected mini-major labels there such as Island (where their highly successful Kimono My House made them superstars), Virgin, Oasis (owned by Giorgio Moroder), Carrere, and Logic. In the US, they seemed to hop from album to album after their deal with Bearsville ended, with their homes including Island’s fledgling US division, Columbia, Elektra, Atlantic, Curb (with distribution by MCA), Rhino, Roadrunner, Oglio, Palm (founded by Island founder Chris Blackwell), Artful, their own vanity label Lil' Beethoven, and In The Red. The masters for much of their output after their stint on Island remain with them, and they recently signed a deal with the new incarnation of BMG for worldwide distribution of that. Their supergroup with Franz Ferdinand, FFS, released on that band’s label Domino. And if that wasn’t enough, the soundtrack to their documentary The Sparks Brothers was released by Universal Music Group, and the soundtrack to their film Annette went to respected soundtrack label Milan (owned by Sony since 2019).
  • Another high-profile hop was ABBA. Always with Polar Music in Sweden, their manager negotiated separate deals with multiple record companies around the world, territory by territory, in their heyday. This was an unheard of approach then, and certainly not always the case now. The Swedes' worldwide label homes included, to name a few, Atlantic in the US and Canada, Epic in the UK and Israel, RCA Victor in Oceania and Latin America, Vogue in France, Sunshine in South Africa, Discomate in Japan, and Polydor in the rest of Europe and Asia. Most of these arrangements ended in 1989, when PolyGram (Polydor's parent company) acquired Polar, and ABBA's catalog with it. The remaining arrangements expired in 1992. To celebrate ABBA's catalog going under one worldwide roof, as well as their burgeoning return to mainstream popularity, Polydor released ABBA's Gold: Greatest Hits later that year. Almost three decades later, they jumped ship to Capitol, another label under the umbrella of what is now the Universal Music Group, for their comeback album Voyage.
  • This happened quite a lot with Yellow Magic Orchestra, especially internationally.
    • In the US and Europe, YMO were originally signed onto A&M Records; an executive from them signed the band on after catching a live performance in support of their debut album. The band remained on A&M until 1981, when the label dropped them following diminishing commercial returns that culminated in the chart failure of BGM, resulting in an 11 year period where YMO's music was relegated to No Export for You status in the States. For European distribution, meanwhile, YMO switched over to using their Japanese label, Alfa Records, directly for Technodelic and a belated release of Solid State Survivor, before Alfa partnered with indie label Pick Up Records to handle the rest.
    • For the 1992-1993 reunion, the band signed onto Toshiba EMI subsidiary Eastworld Records in Japan rather than Alfa; the fact that Alfa still owned the trademark rights to the "Yellow Magic Orchestra" name meant that the band had to bill themselves as "Not YMO" during the reunion. EMI would distribute Technodon themselves in Europe, but not North America. Meanwhile, Alfa would partner with indie label Restless Records to release the 1992 remastered CDs of YMO's 1978-1984 catalog in not only Europe, but for the first time since 1981, the US as well. Unfortunately, presumably due to low sales (given the rise of grunge the previous year, reflected in the later scarcity of secondhand copies), the Restless deal ultimately fell through, and Alfa would never again pursue distributing YMO in America.
    • During their later reunions in the 2000s and 2010s, they would switch over to Ryuichi Sakamoto's own Commmons Records label (note the three M's), while Alfa, now owned by Sony Music, would license out the band's back catalog to Sony affiliates Epic Records and GT Music for reissues in Japan, Europe, Canada, with reissue label Music on Vinyl (and its sister branch Music on CD) taking over in Europe from 2015 onwards. Meanwhile, Technodon would fall under the ownership of Universal Music Group, who bought out most of EMI's assets following their initial dissolution in 2012; UMG would reissue Technodon on both SACD and, for the first time, LP in 2020 to coincide with Alfa's 40th anniversary reissues.
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto's work is scattered across a huge amount of labels, so much so that it plays a big role in why the majority of his discography is stuck in Keep Circulating the Tapes purgatory (Sakamoto is known for many things as an artist, and commercial success is not one of them outside his soundtrack releases).
    • In Japan, Sakamoto's work bounced between Better Days Records, Alfa Records (due to his contract as a member of Yellow Magic Orchestra), School Records, Midi Inc, Terrapin Records, Virgin Records, Güt Records, and Warner Music Group before finally settling on his vanity label, Commmons (note the three M's). Sony Music would inherit the rights to a good chunk of Sakamoto's back-catalog in Japan, making it easier to keep his earlier albums in print.
    • Internationally, Sakamoto's catalog has changed hands even more frequently, shifting from Island Records, Epic Records, 10 Records, CBS Records, Virgin Records, Elektra Records, Milan Records, KAB America, and Decca Records, in many cases hopping back and forth between previous labels (for instance, Neo Geo was distributed by Epic in the US after being away from them since Left Handed Dream six years prior, while Milan has handled most of Sakamoto's international releases in The New '10s after briefly distributing his work in the mid-'90s).

    Online Examples 
  • As Interlopers is a multiple animator project, episodes aren't hosted on just one channel, which can admittedly be confusing for newcomers. Chara Vs Buddy and Chara Vs Jim Sterling were uploaded on NCHProductions, VS Béte Noire was hosted by Camila Cuevas, Chara's Hate came out on Jael Peñaloza's channel, and The Good, The Bad, and the Kiwi, Pt.1 was uploaded to xxTC-96xx, TC-96's official youtube-channel. And that's not to mention the shorts, which are uploaded in a random pattern with no trailers or release dates beforehand.
  • When closed down in 2015, everyone on there either had to Channel Hop or go dark.
  • Many of the current and former contributors to Channel Awesome, including Doug Walker himself, started out on YouTube. In Walker's case, he was driven to create the site because YouTube started removing his videos due to copyright issues.
    In 2012, Doug, Brad, Lindsay, and Todd came back to YouTube with the help of Blip on the League of SuperCritics channel. However, various issues as the years went on led to respective dissolutions surrounding Blip's 2015 shutdown. The contributors moved onto their own individual channels: Channel Awesome, Stoned Gremlin Productions, Lindsay Ellis, and Todd in the Shadows.
  • Many video reviewers changed their video providers several times: Usually starting at YouTube, they'd bounce to Revver, Blip, Springboard, Maker, Screenwave, Vessel, and Vidme, many, if not all, shut down as of December 2017. Doug Walker's current non-YouTube host is Vimeo, after losing Blip and the latter three in a 28-month span.
    • Brad Jones ended up with a weird compromise: The Cinema Snob started releasing his reviews of Parallel Porn Titles on Pornhub to bypass how YouTube got less acceptive to even mentions of objectionable content.
  • 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. After that, they got their own website with their videos hosted on their YouTube channel, and now the website is mostly defunct and content is split between two YouTube channels ExtraCredits and Extra Play.
  • Rooster Teeth actually predated streaming, but has since been on a lot of providers, such as Blip, Youtube, and their current preference (as the Adpocalypse is making Youtube less viable), VRV.
  • Discussed in the Script Fic Calvin & Hobbes: The Series:
    Jack: Faster than the speed of light, eh? When did this show move to the Sci-Fi Channel?
  • Jimquisition started out on Destructoid before being syndicated by The Escapist. Eventually, Jim Sterling left The Escapist as well to make their show completely ad-free by funding it through Patreon.
  • Seasons 1 through 5 of Epic Rap Battles of History were produced by Maker Studios, but after Maker got fully absorbed into Disney (getting rebranded as the Disney Digital Network), ERB opted to go independent from Season 6 onwards.
  • Fuse TV's Insane Clown Posse Theater was intended as a web series but caught on and became part of the regular network lineup.
  • Seth in the Pokécity originally published new episodes on Poké Town, the same website that The Pokémon Squad and The Looney Scientists Show are published on. As of the episode "Don't Trust the J in Apartment 23", it was moved over to DeviantArt. The first four episodes are still readily available on Poké Town, though.
  • The first season of Meta Runner premiered on the mainline SMG4 channel. The remaining two seasons are exclusive to the standalone Glitch Productions channel, while a Compilation Movie of Season 1 was uploaded to the Glitch channel on its launch day.
  • Originally Robotbox And Cactus was hosted on, along with a mirror at The latter was then moved to, where the webcomic of a similar name and Hot Ham Water were also eventually hosted. The animated cartoons stayed on until the site changed to Tumblr format to host only the comic. Meanwhile, as the keentoons subdomain expired, the main Keenspot website took up the mantle of hosting Robotbox and Hot Ham Water.

    Pinball Examples 

    Radio Examples 
  • 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.
  • Major Bowes' Amateur Hour stated out as a local progam on WHN in New York in 1934, then was picked up by NBC for one season in 1935-36 before going to CBS, where it stayed until 1945. A revival under the title The Orignal Amateur Hour hosted by Ted Mack (Bowes died in 1946) aired on ABC from 1948 to 1952. Mack also hosted the TV adaptation, one of the few programs to air on all the networks in the 1950s, which was on DuMont in 1948-49, then NBC in 1949-54, then ABC in 1955-57, then NBC again in 1957-58, then CBS in 1959, then ABC again in 1960, then CBS again in 1960-70, after which it fell victim to The Rural Purge.

    Toy Examples 
  • Arthur has saw this happen to its toy license. The license originally belonged to Playskool, but then passed on to Eden Toys after just a short stint. When Eden Toys went defunct, it passed on to a little-known company called Crocodile Creek and has remained since.
  • Care Bears: Originally started out on Kenner. Executive Meddling involving forcing the Green Aesop down people's throat among other things note  caused the toys to lose popularity in the late 90s, and the license was sold to Play-Along Toys in 1999, who managed to salvage the franchise and bring it back to profitability. Then Hasbro managed to pry the license out of Play-Along's hands in late 2007. Hasbro proceeded to treat the franchise poorly note . When the show wasn't renewed for a second season in 2013, it displeased American Greetings, who then revoked Hasbro's license and sold it to a company called Just Play Inc.
  • Strawberry Shortcake: Originally started out on Kenner like Care Bears, but then eventually lost steam due to neglect of the franchise. The license was sold to Bandai in the early 2000s, who like Play-Along managed to bring the series back to profitability. Then executive meddling happened and the license went from Bandai to Playmates Toys. The decision by Playmates to revamp the franchise note  had a negative effect on the fanbase. Coupled with the poor availability of the toys due to distribution issues, the franchise started to collapse. The rights were then revoked and sold to Hasbro (which happened at the same time as Play-Along losing the rights to Care Bears to also Hasbro), who while initially gave the series excellent treatment, started to slide because the toys weren't moving note . This had a net result of the rights being revoked at around the same time as the Care Bears'. The rights was then given to another upstart called Bridge Direct, a company with limited distribution coverage.
    • And on a higher level, American Greetings finally relinquished the rights of Strawberry Shortcake to Iconix Brands in April 2015. This is noticeable since all pictures posted to social networks since has the copyright of "SBSC" (Strawberry Shortcake Holdings, an Iconix company) instead of "TCFC" (Those Characters From Cleveland, an American Greetings company).
  • Littlest Pet Shop: Again, originally started out on Kenner in the 90s. Then, after the purchase of the company, Hasbro acquired the rights to the franchise from 2005 onwards.
  • Sesame Workshop, then the Children's Television Workshop, historically licensed the production of toys based on Sesame Street and their other franchises to Fisher-Price. However, in the early 90s, they moved to Playskool. Later they switched to Tyco, before going back to Fisher-Price once their parent company Mattel acquired the company. They held onto the license for the entirety of the 2000s, before switching back to Playskool again. Playskool is set to retain the license until 2023, when Florida based manufacturer Just Play will obtain the rights.
  • Popples were first made by Mattel in the 1980s. In 2001, Toymax got the rights to make them. Six years later, Playmates made their own line of Popples. In 2015, Spin Master made Popples plush dolls and figurines to tie in with the 2015 TV series.
  • Puppy In My Pocket and the other In My Pocket series are a rather funny case. The toyline has always been owned by Morrison Entertainment Group (MEG), though when it came to distribution it was tossed around different companies like a game of hot potato over the years. First, Hasbro had the rights to distributing the figurines in the 90s, then it was passed to Jakks Pacific in the early 2000s after a rebrand that turned the figurines into more cartoonish-looking, cute pets with flocking. In 2010, when the show, Puppy in My Pocket: Adventures in Pocketville, started airing in Europe and eventually made its way to US networks in 2012, the rights were split between Giochi Preziosi, who distributed their own line among European countries (including the UK), Flair, who distributed a completely different style of figurines for the UK markets, and Jakks Pacific continued with its US distribution (the figurines being the same as Flair's), though the figurines based on the show didn't make it to US markets until 2013 due to an unfortunate delay. Then in 2015, Just Play acquired the rights to distributing the toys.
  • Teddy Ruxpin was first made by Worlds of Wonder from 1985-1991. When they went bankrupt, Hasbro, under their Playskool banner, distributed the version that Worlds of Wonder had introduced three years prior. Yes! Entertainment made a version of toy in 1998, followed by Backpack Toys and Wicked Cool Toys, who currently owns the rights.
  • Cabbage Patch Kids were first made by Coleco, then by Mattel in the late '80s until 2000. It went into the hands of Play Along Toys during the 2000s, before being taken by Wicked Cool Toys.
  • Sailor Moon toys were first made by Bandai in North America, which then switched hands with Irwin in 1997.
  • Marvel Legends was originated by the now-defunct ToyBiz, before Hasbro took over the license in 2007.
  • Power Rangers toys were made by Bandai from 1993 to 2018, but Hasbro took over the license (and the rights to the franchise overall) when Power Rangers: Beast Morphers began in 2019.
  • Toys based on the Disney Princess and Frozen franchises were held by Mattel for several years, before Disney sold the licenses to Hasbro, with their starting in 2016. This article actually goes quite in depth on how they got their hands on the license, as well as some history involving the franchise.
    • It seems like Hasbro's time with the license didn't last, as the rights are going back to Mattel in 2023.
  • Jurassic Park toys went over to Mattel after the contract with Hasbro expired. They first released a set of toys for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
  • American Girl dolls were initially made by Germany-based Götz using existing molds from the company, but has since been owned and manufactured by Mattel when series creator Pleasant Rowland sold the line to the toy giant in 1998.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants toys in kids' meals sold in the United States were first sold at Wendy's in 2001. A set was released annually through Burger King from 2002 to 2011. The rights shifted to McDonald's from 2012 to 2015, but only two sets were released. Sonic got the rights from 2014 to 2016 before a 4-year hiatus happened. The rights went back to Wendy's in 2020, and then went back to Burger King in 2021.
    • As for the master toy license, Mattel would own the rights at the height of the show's popularity in the 2000s. However, they did switch production to their Fisher-Price subsidiary around the time the movie was released. In 2009, Jakks Pacific acquired the rights to create SpongeBob toys in time for the tenth anniversary. Another manufacturer called Just Play would acquire the license in 2014 and also produced toys for the second movie. As of 2022, the main licensee is Alpha Toys. In addition to the standard plush toys and action figures, Alpha also produced a set of vinyl figurines based on the several memes the show has spawned.
  • Pokémon toys were mostly distributed by Hasbro from 1998 to 2005, Jakks Pacific from 2006 to 2013, Tomy from 2013 to 2017, and Wicked Cool Toys (a division of Jazwares) since 2017. However, Tomy (under the Takara Tomy brand) still distributes Pokémon toys in Japan.

    Video Game Examples 
  • Bayonetta is a Sega-owned franchise, but Nintendo owns the publishing rights for Bayonetta 2 onwards, as part of their agreement to fund the development of those titles.
  • Rareware used to be partially owned by Nintendo, but the British developer found themselves bought wholesale by Microsoft in the early 2000s. Rare retained ownership of all games and characters not made specifically for the Donkey Kong franchise in the transition.
  • Monolith Soft was formed by former Square Enix employees who had worked on Xenogears, and was first owned by Namco. Under Namco, Monolith Soft produced the Xenosaga trilogy, but the low sales of the game left Namco more restrictive of the Monolith Soft's future endeavors, while the developers were in a state of low morale. Enter Nintendo, who advised Namco to allow Monolith Soft more creative freedom, influencing Monolith Soft to separate from Namco and instead become a subsidiary of Nintendo, now developing games exclusively to their platforms, most notably the Xenoblade Chronicles series of games.
  • Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon jumped from Sony Computer Entertainment to Vivendi Universal Games (later simply Vivendi Games), who later released the game through their subsidiary Sierra. The rights then went to Activision after the company was merged with Vivendi Games to form Activision Blizzard. However, Sony never owned the rights to either franchise to begin with as the IP was completely owned by Universal Interactive before being fully owned by Universal's former parent Vivendi after the latter company was split from Universal, with Universal leaving its gaming and music division with Vivendi following financial-issues over mismanagement under the short-lived merger.
  • 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, and EA later became a competitor in that regard.
  • 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 due to the higher-ups at Activision not being interested in the IP. The other Sierra franchises are retained by Activision.
  • Sierra also dropped Ghostbusters: The Video Game in the process, only for Atari to acquire that game a few months later.
  • Command & Conquer went from Westwood Studios to EA Games, and some were not too happy about it. It is questionable if this one counts, however, since EA bought over Westwood and proceeded to screw with it, and when Command and Conquer 4 tanked, EA shut down Westwood but was reluctant to let the franchise go.
  • When the original THQ went bankrupt in 2013, they sold off many of their franchises.
    • Nordic Games acquired the THQ brand and most of their franchises, as the studio was rebranded THQ Nordic.
    • The video game rights to SpongeBob SquarePants and various other Nickelodeon properties went from THQ to Activision after THQ's bankruptcy. When Activision's contract expired in 2017, THQ Nordic took over publishing rights for most Nick-related titles, with Game Mill Entertainment occasionally publishing games since then as well.
    • The WWE game franchise moved 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, due to a deal with Electronic Arts, Crytek parted ways with Ubisoft 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, as well as the Classic remake of the first game, are rendered in Ubisoft's own proprietary Dunia Engine.
  • Insomniac Games were Sony-exclusive for 18 years, before hopping to Microsoft for Sunset Overdrive, although Insomniac completely owns the right to the IP. However, Insomniac were purchased by Sony in 2019, with the rights to Sunset Overdrive being owned by its parent Sony.
  • Halo began development as an in-house Bungie property before the company was purchased by Microsoft, and remained in the hands of Microsoft's 343 Industries after Bungie parted ways with them.
  • Monster Hunter spent five years exclusive to Sony platforms before the development team chose to release Monster Hunter Tri on the Wii, due to the high cost of developing games for the PlayStation 3 at the time. While Monster Hunter Portable 3rd would be released on the PlayStation Portable, the next five years of main series games were primarily released on the Nintendo 3DSnote . The official logline is that they simply wanted to reach a wider audience over the Play Station Vita, with fans assuming it actually concerned them butting heads with Sony over Portable 3rdnote . As of Monster Hunter: World the series has gone Multiplatform.
  • The current Atari company controls the pre-crash arcade game library from the original company, as well as all first-party games made for their consoles. The post-crash arcade library, which formed the nuclei of the spun-off arcade division of Atari, Inc. called Atari Games (which includes games such as Paperboy, Gauntlet and Primal Rage), was owned by Atari's former parent Warner Communications until they sold a majority interest in the company to Namco in 1984, who later sold their shares to a group of former employees the following year. Warner (who later merged with Time Inc. to form Time Warner, and is now known as WarnerMedia) retained a minority interest in the company until Midway Games purchased it wholesale in 1996. Midway continued to use the Atari Games brand name for their games until retiring it in favor of their own brand in 1999, with San Francisco Rush 2049 being the last-ever arcade game published to use the Atari name. As of 2009, all of the post-crash arcade games are back at Warners as a result of the studio purchasing Midway's assets.
    • When Atari went bankrupt again in 2013, they sold off almost all their video games to different parties.
  • Midway's in-house franchises, which include Mortal Kombat, Rampage and Spy Hunter, were transferred to Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment as part of the aforementioned sale, in addition to the also-aforementioned post-crash Atari arcade library. The sale came with two of Midway's studios, their flagship Chicago studio and their Seattle studio (formerly Surreal Software). The former was reincorporated as NetherRealm Studios, while the latter was absorbed into Monolith Productions.
  • Williams Electronics' video game division (Defender, Robotron: 2084 and Joust, among others) was traded to their then-subsidiary Midway Games in 1996 in exchange for Midway's pinball assets (which Williams specialized more on than video games) before spinning Midway off entirely two years later. Warner Bros. now owns Williams' video games as part of the Midway library.
  • The TNA video games went from Midway Games to SouthPeak Games after Midway's bankruptcy.
  • Ready 2 Rumble Boxing and Ready 2 Rumble Boxing: Round 2 were published by Midway, but Ready 2 Rumble: Revolution was published by Atari due to Midway's bankruptcy. Unlike the first two games, Revolution is a Continuity Reboot and therefore doesn't feature any of the franchise's original characters as Atari doesn't own them.
  • The Ultimate Fighting Championship video games were first published by Crave Entertainment, then picked up by TDK Mediactive, then Take-Two Interactive, then THQ, and finally EA.
  • Wolfenstein was originally created by Muse Software, who developed Castle Wolfenstein and Beyond Castle Wolfenstein. After Muse Software was shut down in 1987, the rights to the series were purchased by id Software, who developed Wolfenstein 3-D. Later games in the series were developed by Gray Matter Interactive and Raven Software, but still published by id, with Activision being its distributor. After id was acquired by ZeniMax Media in 2009, Bethesda Softworks took over as publisher and MachineGames as developer.
  • The Cruis'n series was a Midway/Nintendo co-developed franchise for most of its history. After Midway's bankruptcy, however, the rights reverted to Nintendo wholesale (though Cruis'n Exotica is co-owned by Nintendo and Midway successor Warner Bros., due to featuring original characters created by Midway).
  • The NBA Jam (along with its related spin-offs) was developed by Midway until Acclaim acquired the rights to the franchise, with Midway continuing to release NBA games under different names. After Acclaim's bankruptcy in 2004, the franchise reverted back to the NBA, who waited six years before licensing the property to EA.
  • NFL Blitz was always a Midway franchise, but Blitz: The League got published without the National Football League banner due to EA's exclusive licensing agreement for their Madden NFL series. When Midway went bankrupt in 2009, EA bought the NFL Blitz franchise as well. Unlike the NBA Jam example above, though, Midway retained their NFL Blitz games already published and are thus now owned by Warner Bros.
  • The rights to Technos Japan's former IPs (Kunio-kun, Double Dragon, and The Combatribes) went to a small company named Million after Technos went out of business. They mostly acted as a licensing farm for their IPs, having their games developed and published by various companies (most notably Atlus during the early 2000s for the GBA versions of River City Ransom and Double Dragon 1) until they eventually settled on Arc System Works as their main publisher, who would go on to absorb Million in 2015.
  • LucasArts published Sam & Max Hit the Road, but after a long-awaited sequel was unceremoniously canceled, Telltale Games (itself formed by former LucasArts alumni) took over the license for their own series, Sam & Max: Freelance Police. When Telltale closed, a group of former developers founded Skunkape Games to acquire the rights and develop remastered versions of the games.
  • Zig-zagged with three other LucasArts properties, Grim Fandango, Day of the Tentacle and Full Throttle. Although the remasters were developed and published by Double Fine, Lucasfilm still owns the IP and directly oversaw all remasters.
  • Hydro Thunder was developed and released by Midway. After Midway's bankruptcy, its sequel, Hydro Thunder Hurricane, went to indie studio Vector Unit and was an Xbox Live exclusive published by Microsoft Game Studios.
  • The Sakura Wars series was originally co-developed by Sega and Red Entertainment. In 2017, Sega gained ownership of every Sakura Wars project co-produced with Red shortly after Sakura Wars (2019) began development.
  • Infamously the case with Final Fantasy. While developed by Squaresoft (now Square Enix), the first six installments in the series were produced and released exclusively for Nintendo consoles, along with related spinoffs and gaiden games. However, when developing Final Fantasy VII, Squaresoft concluded that the CD-based technology that the PlayStation ran on benefitted the game much more than the cartridge-based technology of the Nintendo 64. The result was an acrimonious breakup between Nintendo and Squaresoft that lasted for several years, while every installment from VII until XII remained exclusive to Sony platforms. Then the series went Multiplatform with Final Fantasy XIII, likely due to the poor sales of the PlayStation 3 in North America compared to that of the Xbox 360. As of 2020, the first twelve games are all available on various platforms, with VII finally seeing a release on a Nintendo platform in 2019 via the Nintendo Switch, and Final Fantasy VII Remake only being a timed exclusive for the PlayStation 4, as opposed to a full one.
  • Traveller's TalesLEGO games went through a handful of publishers early on before being entirely handled by parent company WB Games since 2013:
    • The first LEGO Star Wars was released under Eidos in collaboration with LucasArts. (Eidos would also later publish BIONICLE Heroes) LucasArts would take over publication full time with The Original Trilogy, which continued with The Complete Saga and The Clone Wars; LucasArts also published both LEGO Indiana Jones games in between those two games. After LucasArts was shuttered in 2013, WB Games published the next two installments, The Force Awakens and The Skywalker Saga.
    • LEGO Batman, LEGO Harry Potter, and LEGO The Lord of the Rings, which were already based on Warner Bros.-owned properties, were naturally published by WB Games from the get-go. WB also published handheld spin-off games based on existing LEGO playthemes.
    • LEGO Rock Band was also published by WB Games, as opposed to that series’ traditional publisher at the time, Electronic Arts.
    • LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean, being based on a Disney property, was published by Disney Interactive. After Disney left the videogame market directly in 2016, the next explicitly Disney-themed LEGO game, LEGO The Incredibles, was published by WB Games.
    • LEGO City Undercover was published by Nintendo when it initially debuted as a Wii U exclusive in 2013, making it the last LEGO game to date to be published by someone other than WB Games. When the game was remastered and rereleased for 8th-gen consoles, Nintendo Switch and PC in 2017, it was published by, you guessed it, WB Games.
  • Aleste was originally a Compile series before Compile would go under. 20 years later, M2 obtained the rights to the series and produced three new Aleste games: GG Aleste 3: Last Messiah, Aleste Branch, and Senjin Aleste. They also put out a Compilation Rerelease featuring four of the Compile-era games and GGA3, and ported M.U.S.H.A. to the Nintendo Switch as part of the Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack's Sega Genesis library (the rest of which was also ported by M2).
  • Them's Fightin' Herds originally had Humble Bundle as a publisher, but on December 1, 2021, Mane6 ended the partnership and self-published until January 20, 2022, where they were acquired by Modus Games.

Alternative Title(s): Studio Hop