The Muppets Could Relaunch As Variety Show On ABC Thanks To 'Big Bang Theory' Co-Creator Bill Prady
The Muppets have been away from the small screen for the past 17 years, but they might be headed back to television soon. ABC has reportedly green lit The Big Bang Theory co-creator Bill Prady's "proof of concept" pitch for a Muppet's variety show.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bob Kushell (Anger Management, 3rd Rock From the Sun) will also co-write and is attached to serve as showrunner with Randall Einhorn (Wilfred) to executive produce and direct. ABC will produce alongside The Muppet Studios, which is owned by Disney. It is set to film next weekend on the Disney lot in Burbank with some of the original Muppet performers returning to their characters. THR's sources say that the concept plot features a meeting of the regular cast of characters from Jim Henson -- Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Animal, and more -- where they discuss the new Muppet Show. The characters need Miss Piggy to sign on, but her rocky relationship with Kermit is preventing her from committing.
If all goes to plan and the pilot is a hit at May's Madison Avenue advertisers' presentation, the variety show could go straight to series.
Interestingly, THR points out that Prady started his career working for Henson in 1982 and eventually started writing for The Jim Henson Hour where he remained as a writer until a year after Henson's death in 1990. The original Muppet characters first appeared on television in 1955 on the show Sam & Friends. It later launched as its own comedy-variety series and ran from 1976-1981. Following Henson's death, the franchise continued with Muppets Tonight, which aired on CBS in 1996 and on sibling Disney Channel from 1997-2000, marking the last television series to feature those characters.
Since then, there have been two TV films (2002's It's A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie and 2005's The Muppets' Wizard of Oz) and three feature-length films, most recently the 2011 "reboot" The Muppets and its sequel, 2014's Muppets Most Wanted.)
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