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'America's Next Muppet'


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Here Come the Muppets 'Reality' Tonight!

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'Muppets Tonight'

LOS ANGELES, California - The Muppets could come back to primetime television with their own reality show. ABC has ordered a script and five episode outlines for "America's Next Muppet," in which viewers may join in choosing the newest member of the puppet family that includes Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, a network spokeswoman said.

The premise has the ring of such shows as "American Idol" or "America's Next Top Model," in which the audience picks potential new stars. ABC is part of the Walt Disney Co., which purchased the Muppets franchise from the Jim Henson Co. in 2004 and the right to use the characters in its theme parks, movies, TV shows and retail products.

The ABC television movie "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" aired earlier this year. The late Jim Henson's Muppets got their first regular, widespread exposure on PBS' "Sesame Street" starting in 1969. The syndicated "The Muppet Show" aired from 1976-81 and was seen in more than 100 countries.

In addition, the Muppet characters briefly starred in "Muppets Tonight," which aired for four months in 1996 as part of ABC's primetime lineup. Henson's puppets moved to the big screen in 1979 with "The Muppet Movie," followed by movies including "The Great Muppet Caper" and "The Muppets Take Manhattan."

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Extreme Makeover: 'Muppet' Edition

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The Muppets

Think of it as the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational reality show around. After plunking down a whopping $90 million last year for rights to Kermit and cohorts, Disney is hoping to relaunch the Muppets on a prime-time ABC series parodying such unscripted hits as "American Idol" and "America's Next Top Model."

A network representative says the Muppet project is in the extremely early stages of development. But ABC has ordered a pilot script and five additional script outlines for "America's Next Muppet," which will see Kermit's crew trying out would-be Muppets to join the pantheon of beloved Jim Henson creations like Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, the Swedish Chef, Scooter, Rowlf, Janice, Dr. Teeth, Animal, Dr. Bunson Honeydew, Beeker and a certain green amphibian.

While there's been no official word on who'll judge the contestants, we think Statler and Waldorf would be naturals. And with Paula Abdul and Tyra Banks already tied up with their own day jobs, the diva role would be perfect for, oui, Miss Piggy. Who knows, if "America's Next Muppet" takes off, maybe we can look forward to "Muppet Survivor," "The Amazing Muppet Race" or "Extreme Makeover: Muppet Edition."

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'America's Next Judges' . . . Miss Piggy, Statler and Waldorf?

Since assuming control of Henson's iconic characters, the Mouse House has moved swiftly to reintroduce the Muppets to new generations unfamiliar with "The Muppet Show," which aired in syndication from 1976 to 1981 and spawned the feature films, 1979's "The Muppet Movie," 1981's "The Great Muppet Caper" and 1983's "The Muppets Take Manhattan."

Henson died unexpectedly of a bacterial infection on May 16, 1990--the same day he was set to sign a deal licensing the characters to Disney. During the 1990s, the franchise floundered, despite movies like "A Muppet Christmas Carol" and "A Muppet Treasure Island" and the short-lived TV revival, "Muppets, Tonight," which aired on ABC in 1996 before moving to the Disney Channel for one more season.

In 2000, Henson heirs Brian and Lisa Henson sold the pack of puppets to German conglomerate EM.TV for a $680 million. The company quickly announced it was going to revive "The Muppet Show." However, awash in red ink, EM.TV sold the characters back to the Hensons in 2003 for $89 million. That prompted a renewed interest on Disney's part and led to last year's deal.

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'The Muppets' Creator Jim Henson

Soon Mickey's minions began plotting Kermit's comeback. Disney produced the TV movie, "The Muppets Wizard of Oz," which attracted a solid 7.8 million viewers when broadcast on ABC last May. Statler and Waldorf will begin appearing on Disney's movies.com Website this week.

And the company is currently celebrating Kermit's 50th anniversary with a world tour that saw the Muppets stop at the Statue of Liberty, run with the Bulls in Pamplona, trade smooches at a kissing booth at the Eiffel Tower, attend a frog-leg festival, climb the Great Wall of China and, naturally, receive a key to Kermit, Texas, where the road show touched down last week.

Even the U.S. Postal Service is getting involved, honoring Kermit & Co. with their own set of stamps. Who said it wasn't easy being green?

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I'm glad you liked the photo I chose because I really looked at quite a few before picking the one I thought looked the most like Paula Abdul. :P I even looked through several old men before settling on the one of Statler and Waldorf in the balcony looking in Miss Piggy's direction. Glad to know my efforts are appreciated! Thanks!

I would love for 'The Muppets' to come back in any incarnation. I adore the genius behind these felt creatures and even more how much they get away with because of their childish appearance. I think they would be the perfect vehicle to parody all reality genres. With as many reality shows available (and hopefully no legal copyright problems), they would rarely run out of story ideas.

Can you just imagine a six-week arc of 'Real World: Muppetville'!?! With so many Muppets available to choose from . . . the characters and possibilities are endless! I hope one of the networks has the foresight to pick this series up. They could even market the show for a Saturday Children's program that both kids AND their parents (or even non-breeders) could enjoy watching.

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  • 1 month later...

Courtesy of: TV GUIDE, ENTAINMENT NEWS

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THE GREAT MUPPET CAPER: Someone restrain Miss Piggy, 'cause Mickey Mouse is dissing her guy. Just days after announcing on Good Morning America that Kermit would embark on a 15-month 50th-anniversary world tour, Disney cut funding for the road trip, leaving money for only three of the 50 stops (for now). Adding insult to injury: A source close to Kermie confides that Disney execs "didn't think the public would notice." The tour de farce comes on the heels of Disney's decision to pink-slip a slew of Muppet staffers amid concerns that the new parent company "doesn't know what to do with the Muppets." The proof: The only major Muppet project in the works is ABC's reality show America's Next Muppet

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