Nearly 40 years after the first primetime ‘Muppet Show’ debuted, ABC is bringing the Muppets back to TV with a reality-style twist.
The Muppets take primetime, part deux.
The beloved characters, first created by Jim Henson in 1955, are back with a modern update framed as a Muppet mockumentary that explores the felt friends’ personal lives and relationships through behind-the-scenes footage.
The show, which is co-created and executive produced by Bill Prady (The Big Bang Theory) and Bob Kushell (Anger Management), has already received an enthusiastic reception from television critics, and at Comic-Con, as well as from the army of famous faces lining up for cameos.
Indeed, the Muppets have remained popular over the years, through their big-screen adventures in various films, and between their built-in brand and nostalgia factor, they have an advantage over some of the other new series debuting this fall.
Or as Miss Piggy explains their ageless appeal: “Moi is timeless.”
Here are 5 Things to Know About The Muppets:
1. The Premise:
The diva of all divas Miss Piggy is the host of a late-night program called Up Late with Miss Piggy and all of the Muppets work there. The show is about what happens off-camera, and the show-within-a-show format allows viewers to get a behind-the-scenes look at the Muppets as they go about their lives in Hollywood. Think “a real-world Muppets series” that’s similar in style to The Office.
“It’s interesting and scary at the same time, you know,” Kermit the Frog told TV reporters during a press conference, “because you get to see things that we wouldn’t normally necessarily want you to see.”
2. The entire cast of cuddly, kooky creatures is back. Here are the gang’s roles on the show:
· Miss Piggy — international star of television and feature film, author, supermodel and fashion icon — is the host of Up Late with Miss Piggy.
· Kermit the Frog is the executive producer of Miss Piggy’s late-night talk show.
· Fozzie Bear is Miss Piggy’s on-air sidekick and warm-up comic (aka the ‘Ed McMahon’ of the show).
· The Great Gonzo is the head writer and his writing staff includes Rizzo the Rat and Pepe the King Prawn (who is NOT a shrimp).
· Dr. Teeth heads up Miss Piggy’s “junk-rock” house band, The Electric Mayhem, which also features Animal, Sgt. Floyd Pepper, Zoot, Lips and Janice.
· Scooter, Kermie’s former assistant, has been promoted to Talent Coordinator.
· The Swedish Chef is, of course, the caterer in charge of Craft Services.
· Rowlf the Piano-Playing Dog is the owner of the local tavern where the gang hangs out.
3. Yes, it’s true: Kermit and Piggy have broken up, as previously announced in August at the Television Critics Association Press Tour.
Not only is one of pop-culture’s super couples kaput, but Kermit is already dating someone else! (Bad for backstage dynamics, good for TV.)
“You know, she’s a pig. I do have an attraction to pigs,” Kermit confessed about his new girlfriend — her name is Denise and she’s the Head of Marketing for ABC.
While Kermit and Miss Piggy plan to keep their relationship “entirely professional,” Kermit admitted to reporters, “It can be tough to work with your ex, you know. It can be tough to be the executive producer on your ex’s late-night TV show, especially when your ex is a pig.”
Miss Piggy, for her part, declared adamantly (and entirely unconvincingly): “I have no problem working with my ex, okay?!”
4. The Muppets aren’t the only stars.
There will be a big celebrity guest each week, according to producers.
Famous guest stars appearing throughout the season include Elizabeth Banks, Liam Hemsworth, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Groban, Topher Grace, Laurence Fishburne, Jay Leno, Lea Thompson and the band Imagine Dragons. Expect at least one (and probably more) of those handsome men to be a love interest for the newly single Miss Piggy.
5. It’s for kids of all ages.
Pitched as an adult version of The Muppets, producers intend for it to be a show for the whole family to enjoy together, new and old fans alike.
“Anybody who hasn’t seen The Muppets in the past will see this whole new world and it will feel fresh and original and new to them,” says co-creator Bob Kushell. “And anybody who has grown up with it will have that nostalgic feel but also have their minds blown by the new way we’re doing the show.”
The Muppets premieres Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 8/7c on ABC.