Film Roman is an American animation studio, jointly owned by Starz Inc. and The Weinstein Company as a subsidiary of Starz Media, LLC. Founded by veteran animator and director Phil Roman in early 1984, it is best known for producing the source animation for The Simpsons, King of the Hill for 20th Century Fox Animation, as well as the Garfield and Peanuts animated TV specials.
Phil Roman, veteran alumnus of Chuck Jones Enterprises and Bill Melendez Productions, originally 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 the wishes of 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 it 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 executive producer Margaret Loesch. In 1992, 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). The studio went on to grow and produce many popular animated series now seen all around the world.
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 its present location on Hollywood Way in Burbank.