Film Roman

Film Roman, LLC
Subsidiary of Waterman Entertainment
Industry Animation, motion pictures, television
Founded October 26, 1984 (1984-10-26)
Founder Phil Roman
Headquarters Woodland Hills, California, United States
Key people
  • Steve Waterman (CEO)
  • Phil Roman
  • (chairman emeritus)
  • Dana Booton
  • (president of production)[1]
Parent Waterman Entertainment
Divisions Film Roman Baja J.V.
Phil Roman Entertainment

Film Roman is an American animation studio owned by Waterman Entertainment, the production company of producer Steve Waterman.[2] Founded by veteran animator and director Phil Roman in 1984, it is best known for producing source animation for series such as The Simpsons (1992–2016), King of the Hill and Family Guy for 20th Century Fox Animation, as well as Garfield and Friends and various Garfield animated television specials.[3]



Phil Roman, veteran alumnus of MGM Animation/Visual Arts and Bill Melendez Productions, founded Film Roman in 1984 as a means to continue the production of the Garfield series of animated prime time television specials, since Melendez's own studio was unable to work on both the Garfield and Peanuts series of specials. Peanuts executive producers Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez and their aforementioned studio had produced the first two Garfield specials (Here Comes Garfield (1982) and Garfield on the Town (1983) respectively, both specials directed by Roman), but due to both Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz' and Garfield creator Jim Davis' concerns about conflicting interests in allocating production priority at Melendez's boutique studio, the production had to be moved. While he was leaving him and Melendez for his already-established studio, Roman was offered the opportunity to produce the next Garfield prime time special, Garfield in the Rough (1984), for CBS by Mendelson, which he accepted and went on to produce and direct all by himself, winning an Emmy in the process.


In 1985, CBS' head of children's programming Judy Price had commissioned an animated television series based on the Garfield prime time special series, later ultimately titled Garfield and Friends, which took three years for Roman to decide developing and producing the program before it eventually aired on the network's Saturday morning time slot, premiering on September 17, 1988. The aforementioned show was Film Roman's first regular series. In 1986, in an effort to expand and diversify the studio, Roman hired Marvel Productions VP of Business Affairs and his own personal attorney, Michael Wahl, as President and Bill Schultz, Marvel's Director of Development, to join in the company as the fledgling studio's VP of Production and Development. Garfield and Friends was expanded to an hour on CBS' number one rated Saturday Morning block and the studio grew to increase its capacity.

In 1988, the new management team developed, sold and produced a new series, Bobby's World, to the brand new Fox Kids Network, headed up by former Marvel Productions president Margaret Loesch. In 1992 to 2016, Film Roman took over the source production of 20th Century Fox's The Simpsons from Klasky-Csupo who had produced the one-minute teaser cartoon shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show as well as the animation for the first three seasons and the first two episodes of the fourth season (in total 61 episodes).[4][5] The studio went on to grow and produce many popular animated series now seen all around the world.

Waterman Entertainment ownership

In 2015, Film Roman was acquired from its parent company Starz Distribution by Waterman Entertainment, the production company of executive producer Steve Waterman. As such, it now does business with Starz, which owns the company's catalogue.[1]

On November 22, 2016, the company formed a joint venture based in Tijuana, called Film Roman Baja J.V. (also known as Film Roman Baja Productions), with Boxel Studios, a Baja California-based animation facility.[6]


The original studio was located on Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake, California, where Roman was also joined by Melendez producer Lee Mendelson. Years later, the studio moved to a new location on Chandler Blvd. in Studio City, before settling into another location at Starz Plaza on Hollywood Way in Burbank, which it shares with the former Hub Network and Hasbro Studios, and finally settling into its present location in Woodland Hills.

Television series

Show Creator(s) Year(s) Co-production(s) Notes
Garfield and Friends Jim Davis 1988–1994 United Media (Season 1)
United Media/Mendelson (Seasons 2–3)
United Media/Lee Mendelson Productions (Seasons 4–6)
Lee Mendelson Productions (Season 7)
Paws, Inc.
Now distributed by 9 Story Media Group
Bobby's World Howie Mandel 1990–1998 Alevy Productions
20th Century Fox Television
Now distributed by Splash Entertainment
Zazoo U Shane DeRolf 1990–1991 Fox Children's Productions
Mother Goose and Grimm Mike Peters 1991–1993 Tribune Media Services
Grimmy, Inc.
Lee Mendelson Productions
MGM Television
MGM-Pathe Communications
Animated Classic Showcase 1993–1994
Cro Mark Zaslove Children's Television Workshop
Mighty Max Mark Zaslove
Rob Hudnut
The Baby Huey Show Bob Jaques 1995 Harveytoons
Claster Television
Season 2 only
The Mask: Animated Series Duane Capizzi 1995–1997 Sunbow Entertainment
New Line Television
Dark Horse Entertainment
The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat Pat Sullivan
Otto Messmer
C Bear and Jamal Earl Richey Jones
Todd R. Jones
Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm Sean Catherine Derek 1996 Threshold Entertainment
New Line Television
Richie Rich Harveytoons
Claster Television
Bruno the Kid Joel Madison 1996–1997
Free For All Brett Merhar 2003
Eloise: The Animated Series Kay Thompson
Hilary Knight
2006 Anchor Bay Entertainment
HandMade Films
Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! Bob Boyle 2006–2010 Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Bolder Media
Slacker Cats Andy Riley
Kevin Cecil
2007–2009 Will Vinton Studios/Laika
ABC Family Original Productions
Dan Vs. Dan Mendel
Chris Pearson
2011–2013 The Hatchery

Subcontracted from others:

for 20th Century Fox Television/Animation:

Show Creator(s) Year(s) Notes
The Simpsons[1] Matt Groening 1992–2016 Seasons 427 only
King of the Hill[7] Mike Judge 1997–2010
Family Guy[7] Seth MacFarlane 1999–2000 Seasons 12 only

for Marvel Animation:

Show Creator(s) Year(s) Notes
X-Men: Evolution Marty Isenberg
Robert N. Skir
David Wise
The Super Hero Squad Show Stan Lee 2009–2011
The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes Ciro Nieli
Joshua Fine
Christopher Yost
Ultimate Spider-Man Marvel Animation 2012–2017
Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. Paul Dini
Henry Gilroy
Marvel Animation

various other studios:

Puppet/CGI shows:

Television specials

Garfield specials

Other specials



Theatrical features

Special effects for other movies


Web series


  1. 1 2 3 McNary, Dave (November 12, 2015). "'Simpsons' Animator Film Roman Bought by Waterman Entertainment". Variety. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  2. McNary, Dave (12 November 2015). "'Simpsons' Animator Film Roman Bought by Waterman Entertainment". Variety. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
  3. Hofmeister, Sallie (April 2, 1998). "COMPANY TOWN; Drawing on Creativity; A Struggling Film Roman Tries to Reanimate Itself". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-23.
  4. Kirkland, Mark (2004). The Simpsons The Complete Fourth Season DVD commentary for the episode "Kamp Krusty" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
  5. Bernstein, Sharon (1992-01-21). "'The Simpsons' Producer Changes Animation Firms". The Los Angeles Times. p. 18. Retrieved 2011-08-24.
  6. N'Duka, Amanda (21 November 2016). "Film Roman Teams With Boxel Studios To Form Film Roman Baja J.V."
  7. 1 2 3 "Film Roman, Boxel Studios form animation JV in Mexico".
  8. "Video Games, News, Reviews".
  9. "WWE Studios".
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