Disney’s empire has grown vastly in the last fifteen years. The company bought Marvel and LucasFilm, and while the latter is untested because no films have come yet (“Star War: The Force Awakens” hits in December), all pundits agree it was a financially sound investment in brand building. But one brand Disney has failed to really turn around in a major way is Jim Henson’s “The Muppets.” Sold to Disney in 2004 for a figure reportedly under $200 million, it took the studio seven years to get a new ‘Muppets’ movie off the ground. And neither “The Muppets” in 2011 nor “Muppets Most Wanted” in 2014 could really light up the box-office with much vigor. Both films failed to gross higher than $85 million domestically, ‘Most Wanted’ barely crossed the $50 million mark at home, and couldn’t even crack $100 million worldwide.
The brand was in big trouble and needed a serious rethink. So Disney decided to scale back and take their investment to television. ABC, where the new Muppets show will surface, released an 11-minute proof-of-concept reel that was shown at Comic-Con (but wasn’t really seen by anyone since they were too busy watching super heroes). And remember, the new Muppets for TV is “adult” themed. What that means is it’s coming in a mockumentary style that’s reminiscent of “The Office.”
As is the norm these days, the plot seems to center on Kermit trying to get the band back together for a new show on TV (which was essentially the plot of the 2011 movie written by Jason Segel). Additionally, Miss Piggy is dating Topher Grace and Fozzie is also dating a human. Let’s just say the kids won’t be tuning in for this one lately, but maybe like the original 1970s Muppets variety show, it will appeal to children and adults alike.
Written by “The Big Bang Theory” showrunner Bill Prady, the show is said to explore the Muppets “personal lives and relationships.” The Muppets will return in September on ABC and hopefully third times the charm for the modern day puppets.