It is time to start the music because, ABC is officially developing a reboot of the classic television series, The Muppet Show. The show is being written by The Big Bang Theory co-creator and executive producer Bill Prady and Bob Kushell. The show will be produced by Muppet Studios and ABC studios, both of which are owned by Disney.
The show initially received interest from Netflix before finally landing with ABC. Prady began his career writing for The Jim Henson Hour, as well as writing for Muppet Classic Theater and other specials, so returning to Henson’s best known creation seems as though it would be a bit of a homecoming. Prady wrote for the show until 1990, the year after Henson’s death. This is Prady’s second attempt to bring the Muppets back to television screens across the country. He filmed a pilot before the start of The Big Bang Theory that Disney ultimately passed on.
This rebooted pilot of the Muppet Show will be unveiled by ABC at a presentation for Madison Avenue advertisers this May. The pilot is reported to begin filming this weekend at the Disney lot in Burbank, California. The reboot will feature most of the original cast members. The initial concept for the pilot will be the show’s cast meeting with ABC executives to talk about a possible revival of the classic series.
They were originally created by Jim Henson in 1955. The original characters appeared on the show Sam and Friends from 1955 to 1961. They went on to appear on many late night talk shows as well as commercials before going on to appear regularly on Sesame Street. The original show was a comedy variety show that ran from 1976 to 1981. It was a critical success and spawned many successful spin off films over the years. The last Muppet show to air was Muppets Tonight which ran briefly in 1996 on ABC.
Typically when one hears of a franchise being rebooted these days the studios tries to take it in a darker direction. Hopefully this will not be the case with the Muppets. It is possible that ABC may take a look at these characters and decide they may need a gritty reboot. They may find it irresistible to re-imagine Fonzy Bear as a down on his luck comedian much like Louis C.K in his succesful show Louie. As appealing as that idea may be it is doubtful that ABC will go in that direction with the family friendly puppets.
Henson’s original creation is iconic in not only America, but around the world. This is a family friendly sitcom that many grew up with since their inception in 1955. This franchise has a very large fan base that will most likely translate into big ratings for the variety show reboot. With the recent surge of networks looking to stage their own comedy variety shows, launching a successful, and proven franchise will help set ABC apart from other networks. As of now, it is not known when ABC’s Muppet Show reboot will be coming to homes across America, but it will more than likely be sooner rather than later.
By James Dixson
Photo by: JeffChristiansen – Flickr License