Disney confirmed Friday that ABC will start filming a pilot for a TV comeback of The Muppets. Expected to start filming this month, the show will go under the title The Muppets 2015. The plan for the show is to have it take place on a set that is behind the scenes of a late night talk show.
Bill Prady, who is the co-creator of The Big Bang Theory will be one of the co-writers for the pilot episode of the new show. Hopes are to have the pilot shown in May, and with the right amount of success, have it go straight to a series. This will actually be the second go around for Prady in attempts at revitalizing the Muppets with their own TV show. Before The Big Bang Theory, he had shot some Muppet footage that was in the end turned down by Disney. Prady did however get an Emmy nomination in 1991 for a tribute titled The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson. He has also been a contributing writer for other Muppet oriented shows and bits. If this new series was to get picked up, he would have to balance it along with the work he currently does on The Big Bang Theory.
The concept for the pilot episode of The Muppets 2015 will have your Muppet regulars: Kermit the Frog, Gonzo, Fozzie Bear, and Animal along with others. The story line has them gathering to discuss the makings of a new show. However the show will not become a reality, unless they are able to sign Miss Piggy on. She is reluctant though because her relationship with Kermit has been on the rocks. The episode will focus on whether or not they are able to get her on board, and get the show off the ground. The Muppets 2015 will be a variety show, done the same way the original Muppet Show was that aired in the 1970s and 80s. Just like the original, there will be spots for celebrity guest appearances.
The recent mainstream revival of The Muppets actually began when Disney started reintroducing the franchise in 2008. Disney fully acquired the Muppet franchise and intellectual property back in 2004, and started posting short comedy skits to YouTube on a regular basis. Muppets: Bohemian Rhapsody successfully got 25 million online views, and won two Webby Awards. The success online was then followed by a television special A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa which aired in December 2008. Filming for the movie The Muppets started in 2010, and was released the following year. It was met with praise, and commercial success. Man or Muppet, a song from the film wound up winning an Academy Award for best original song. Their most recent feature Muppets Most Wanted, was released just last year.
Created by Jim Henson, the Muppets got their television debut back in 1955 on the television show Sam and Friends. From there they were written into some late night skits, and commercials through the 1960s. They began appearing regularly in the children’s television show Sesame Street by 1969. In 1976 CBS aired their own television show, The Muppet Show which lasted until 1981. Since then they have done movies, and other spin-off television shows. If picked up, the TV comeback for The Muppets 2015 would mark the first time they have had their own television series since Muppets Tonight which aired from 1996 to 1998.
By Alec Rosenberg
Photo By Joe Penniston – Flickr License