Disney might be doing well with Star Wars and Marvel Comics characters, but the studio has been struggling for years to find a way to bring Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy and the rest of the Muppets gang to life. Now, with its own streaming service, Disney may have finally cracked the code. At D23, the studio announced plans for an "unscripted" series called Muppets Now, which will launch in 2020.
During the Disney+ panel, Disney sent out a tweet on the Kermit Twitter page, announcing Muppets Now, described as a "brand-new, unscripted, short-form" series. Like most Muppets projects, it will feature celebrity guests in each episode.
Variety reports that Disney showed a brief teaser with Kermit and Joe the Legal Weasel, arguing about how much detail they can reveal about the new project.
“You are not authorized to offer a peak, sneak or otherwise,” the weasel said in the clip. “I know how you frogs are, you’re always looking to leap into the next big thing.”
Coming exclusively to #DisneyPlus in 2020, @TheMuppets proudly present MUPPETS NOW, a new short-form unscripted series! I’d love to tell you more, but Joe The Legal Weasel is right behind me. Gulp! pic.twitter.com/UCXdaopQJR— Kermit the Frog (@KermitTheFrog) August 24, 2019
“I’d love to tell you more, but Joe The Legal Weasel is right behind me. Gulp,” Kermit 'wrote' on his Twitter page.
According to Deadline, Disney+ started working on a new Muppets series more than a year ago and has been through two rounds of development. At one point, Josh Gad was involved, reportedly with Once Upon A Time team Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz.
Disney finally bought the Muppets from the late Jim Henson's company in 2004. Unlike its acquisitions of Marvel and Lucasfilm, things have not gone smoothly with Kermit and friends. It took until 2011 for the studio to finally release The Muppets, which was a box office smash hit. Unfortunately, 2014's follow-up Muppets Most Wanted did not do as well, and Disney struggled to figure out where to go next.
Eventually, Disney released The Muppets, a series centered on a fictional talk show hosted by Miss Piggy. The show was a surprising flop for ABC, earning poor critical response and terrible ratings during the 2015-2016 TV season. It lasted only one season.
Since then, the Muppets have been sadly dormant until Friday's news, outside of YouTube videos and the animated Muppet Babies reboot series.
Henson created the Muppets in the mid 1950s. In 1976, the characters became international superstars thanks to the success of The Muppet Show, which ran until 1981 and won four Emmys. In 1979, The Muppet Movie hit theaters and was quickly followed by The Great Muppet Caper (1981) and The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984). Other Muppet movies include The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), Muppet Treasure Island (1996) and Muppets from Space (1999).
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