'Muppets' Revived at ABC With 'Big Bang Theory' Co-Creator

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'Muppets' Revived at ABC With 'Big Bang Theory' Co-Creator

Postby Newsbot » Sat Apr 04, 2015 10:43 am

Bill Prady is co-writing the script that is being eyed as a straight-to-series variety show.

It may be time to light the lights.

ABC is filming a proof of concept for a revival of The Muppets, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The Big Bang Theory co-creator Bill Prady is co-writing the script for a pilot presentation that sources say could be unspooled at May's upfront presentation to Madison Avenue advertisers. Sources tell THR that the project, if all goes well, could go straight to series.

Bob Kushell (Anger Management, 3rd Rock From the Sun) will also co-write and is attached to serve as showrunner, with Wilfred's Randall Einhorn attached to exec produce and direct the presentation. ABC's Muppets revival is being produced by ABC Studios and The Muppet Studios, which Disney owns. The presentation is set to film next weekend on the Disney lot in Burbank with some of the original Muppet performers returning.

Sources say the concept for the presentation includes the regular cast of characters created by Jim Henson — Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo and Animal, among others — gathering at ABC Studios for a meeting about the new Muppet Show. However, the show won't move forward unless Miss Piggy signs on, and her current relationship with frequent love Kermit is on the rocks, preventing the show from getting off the ground. Early plans call for two celebrity cameos — including Miss Piggy's current co-star — as well as new roles including Fozzie's girlfriend and her parents.

For Prady, the revived Muppets — which landed at ABC after initial interest from Netflix — marks a return to his roots. The producer, who currently does not have an overall deal, started his career working for Henson in 1982 and ultimately started writing for The Jim Henson Hour, remaining on the series until a year after Henson's death in 1990.

This marks the second time Prady has attempted to revive The Muppets. The writer-producer shot some test footage before CBS' The Big Bang Theory that Disney ultimately passed on. For his part, Prady earned an Emmy nomination in 1991 for writing tribute The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson in 1990 and has contributed writing to Disney's Muppet-themed attractions. Should ABC order Muppets to series, Prady would juggle both that project and CBS' The Big Bang Theory, which he exec produces.

Created in 1955 by Henson, the original Muppet characters appeared on Sam and Friends from 1955-61 before going on to appear on late-night talk shows and commercials and becoming a regular part of Sesame Street in 1969. The Muppet Show launched on its own as a comedy-variety series and ran from 1976-81, with Kermit serving as the de-facto showrunner on the syndicated series that was produced out of the U.K. The franchise has spawned multiple movies (1979's The Muppet Movie, 1981's The Great Muppet Caper, 1984's The Muppets Take Manhattan) as well as NBC's 1989 series The Jim Henson Hour.

Following Henson's death, the franchise continued with Muppets Tonight airing on ABC in 1996 with reruns airing on sibling Disney Channel from 1997-2000. That was the last television series to feature the Muppets characters.

On the feature side, the franchise featured 1992's The Muppet Christmas Carol, 1996's Muppet Treasure Island and 1999's Muppets From Space, the latter two of which were co-produced by Disney, who acquired rights to the Muppets in 2004 and formed The Muppets Studio. The company rebranded the franchise in 2008 with Jason Segel's The Muppets, with an eighth feature in the franchise, Muppets Most Wanted bowing in 2014.

For ABC, the Muppets revival comes as variety shows are in the midst of a resurgence on the broadcast networks. NBC has made the format a priority, unspooling Marlon Wayans-hosted celebrity variety series I Can Do That! in the summer and has Neil Patrick Harris entry Saturday Night Takeaway in the works.

The decision to revive The Muppets also comes as remakes and reboots are having their moment in the sun on the small-screen, as broadcast networks look to fan bases for existing franchises to help cut through the clutter and draw eyeballs in an increasingly crowded scripted space.

On the comedy side, The Muppets arrives as it has become increasingly challenging to launch original scripted half-hours.

Prady is repped by Rothman Brecher and Lichter Grossman; Kushell is with ICM Partners; Einhorn is with WME, Odenkirk Provissiero and Bloom Hergott.

I'm excited. I'd wager Jargo is, too.
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Re: 'Muppets' Revived at ABC With 'Big Bang Theory' Co-Creator

Postby Jargo » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:27 pm

I think you might lose your money, old bean. The last two movies were utter pants. Prior to that there was the schmaltz of Muppets Family Christmas. In my opinion the Muppets need to retire gracefully rather than hang on to past glory like Doris Day in Vegas. Sure, a puppety, Muppety show would be cool if it was hip and topical and edgy. If it had balls like Avenue Q. The bite of The Daily Show. And aired on HBO or something. ABC or NBC? Blech! Might as well just rerun the original show.

I know that seems like bitter negativity but since Jim Henson died the Muppets have been sanitised and commercialised to the point I don't recognise them any more. Let them go I say.
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Re: 'Muppets' Revived at ABC With 'Big Bang Theory' Co-Creator

Postby anarky » Sat Apr 04, 2015 7:10 pm

I was actually kind of excited about this, but didn't know the Big Bang Theory twatbag was involved. I'm going to lean more toward "fuck that noise."
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Re: 'Muppets' Revived at ABC With 'Big Bang Theory' Co-Creator

Postby Jargo » Wed May 13, 2015 9:51 am

Trailer is up on IMDB. I'm saying nothing until you guys have had a look. I have - thoughts... :shock:
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Re: 'Muppets' Revived at ABC With 'Big Bang Theory' Co-Creator

Postby anarky » Wed May 13, 2015 12:54 pm

I fucking hate sitting through an ad to see an ad. :mad:

Hmm.... Looks like a mixed bag of funny and trying way the hell too hard. Could go either way. I'll give it a chance because it looks like the guy who played Kurt (Kirk?) on Dear John appears to be on it. That might negate the Big Bang Bullshit. Might.

If they're going to do it about their personal lives, I want some sort of reference to Skeeter. She needs to have a "grownup" equivalent. A running gag about her always being offscreen or stuck in traffic could be amusing, but I won't give anyone involved in the making of Big Bang Theory credit to be that clever.

I'm tired of the "Miss Piggy left" gimmick. That seems to be all they know how to do now. And it really makes no sense for her to not know anyone.

The joke about bears shitting in the woods was funny. Gonzo's bit about interviews was predictable as hell but still amusing.

Kermit saying he's "into pigs" and talking about his life being a "hell on earth" was just way the hell wrong. Muppets have always been edgy (at least when they're good). But they've gotten around direct use of profanity and explicit references (no matter how mild) by being clever. I know my favorite Muppets bit ever is whenever everyone's talking, and Kermit gets them to shut up, and Janice is still going on about something that adults know is insanely inappropriate (the best being "I told him I don't care if it is artistic, I don't take my clothes off for nobody!"). But Kermit saying "hell" reeks of trying too hard to make it edgy without actually being clever. (I could see this version featuring a crowd of Muppets, Kermit calling for silence, and Janice rambling along with "I told the john that I wasn't putting his dick in my mouth until he wiped my shit off of it.")
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Re: 'Muppets' Revived at ABC With 'Big Bang Theory' Co-Creator

Postby Jargo » Thu May 14, 2015 1:22 am

It just doesn't appeal to me. They look and sound wrong. The puppeteering is second rate and going by the trailer the humour is incredibly tame and pretty forced. Plus it probably won't air here on regular TV.
I think they probably should have taken a specific set of Muppets more geared toward adult audiences. The Electric Mayhem could probably handle a show on their own. That might have been ok. I feel like this 'adult' show isn't adult enough. either you make them really crude and rude or you don't. Sitting somewhere in the grey area doesn't feel right. It means parents used to the cute and cuddly, sacharin, Disney musical style Muppets will let their kids watch it and then be morally outraged by colourful scenarios and language and complain loudly. and those expecting something truly adult will be disappointed. Mostly i think people will be disappointed in the lack of funny.
We'll see. Maybe I'll be able to catch it somehow and make a proper assessment. Maybe between now and then it'll have an injection of funny. My general feeling though is that the Muppets should be retired and the Henson group and Disney should get off their fat backsides and do some work creating something new. The Dark Crystal 2 and Farscape's return have really not happened for Henson inc. Disney has run out of creative juice completely. Sometimes old dogs need putting to sleep.
I have never read any of your posts, but from what I can learn I should say that for people who like the kind of posts you deliver, they are just the kind of posts such people like.
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