Blog devoted to merchandise featuring Jim Henson's Muppets. The name is a reference to the former "Muppet Stuff" stores that operated from 1980-1993. Our mission, to paraphrase theirs, is "Muppet Stuff – A blog with nothing but!”
You may recall during our coverage of the year's Toy Fair, we showed you the prototypes for Funko's new line of Dark Crystal Pop! figures:
Today Funko released new Hi-Res images of the actual figures!
It looks like the figures will come in standard Pop! box configurations except Ursol, who'll come in a sideways box similar to Disney's Pop! Cars line. There will also be variant Kira with a closed mouth Fizzgig. These will hit stores in July!
CBS news legend, Morley Safer has died at age 84. He was the longest-serving correspondent in 60 Minutes' history - joining the show in 1970.
9 years later, Safer went behind the scenes of The Muppet Show for 60 Minutes. The piece was re-aired in 1990 after Jim Henson's death.
He filed his last piece (number 919!) for 60 Minutes in March, and his retirement was just announced last week. Safer said, "It's been a wonderful run, but the time has come to say goodbye to all of my friends at CBS and the dozens of people who kept me on the air."
More on Safer's life from CNN Money:
His contribution to journalism will be greatly missed.
The Jim Henson Company's latest series, Splash and Bubbleswill premiere Wednesday, November 23, 2016 on PBS stations nationwide with digital content related to the show — including games, apps and parent and educator resources — available in the fall.
We first heard word of the series back in January when it had the working title of simply "Splash."
From the Henson press release:
Created by John Tartaglia (“ImaginOcean,” “Johnny and the Sprites”), SPLASH AND BUBBLES is designed to encourage kids ages 4-7 to explore the natural undersea world. Developed with an advisory panel of top marine biologists, digital innovators and educators, SPLASH AND BUBBLES is grounded in a marine biology curriculum that focuses on themes of diversity, individuality, interconnectedness and the celebration of learning and discovery. The series also introduces the concepts of ecological balance and the importance of taking care of the ocean.
“SPLASH AND BUBBLES emphasizes the important social-emotional skills needed to help kids discover the interconnectivity among all living creatures, while creating an understanding of the variety of life that exists under the sea, fostering an appreciation for the biodiversity in our ocean,” said Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Children’s Media and Education, PBS. “PBS KIDS is committed to using the power of media to build science skills to help inspire children to explore the fascinating world of marine biology and the wonder that makes up the majority of our planet’s surface.” Funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, SPLASH AND BUBBLES follows the adventures of Splash, a yellow fusilier fish who has migrated all over the ocean before settling down in Reeftown, where he befriends Bubbles, a Mandarin dragonet whose vivid orange and electric blue coloring matches her colorful personality. Until Splash came along, Bubbles and most of the other Reeftown residents had no idea what lived beyond the cozy confines of their coral walls. Together, Splash, Bubbles and their friends explore the world’s undersea habitats, make new friends and learn about the many different ways life looks and lives in the ocean, celebrating the importance of diversity along the way.
“Through the adventures of Splash and Bubbles, we hope to inspire environmentalism, empathy and curiosity about the vast world of marine biology,” said Lisa Henson, CEO of The Jim Henson Company. “We hope the series becomes a starting point for children to build confidence in their ability to make a difference in our environment and inspires a lifetime of learning.” “We are excited to partner with two world-class brands, Henson and PBS, to create lifechanging emotional connections between kids and the ocean. Through SPLASH AND BUBBLES-themed experiences, we can bring the same memories created every day in our aquariums to children’s living rooms and lives,” said Andrew Wexler, CEO of Herschend Enterprises. “I feel honored and privileged to help carry on The Jim Henson Company’s great tradition of creating family entertainment that inspires care-taking, empathy and awareness of and for our world,” said John Tartaglia, the series creator and the performer of the show’s title character, Splash. “My hope is that SPLASH AND BUBBLES’ amazing characters and hilarious stories inspire kids of all ages to learn more about what lies beneath the surface of our amazing ocean and how they can contribute to taking better care of it.” SPLASH AND BUBBLES is executive produced by Lisa Henson and Halle Stanford of The Jim Henson Company, Julie Phillips and Merrill Puckett-Miller of Herschend Enterprises, as well as John Tartaglia, Michael Shawn Lewis and Jill Shinderman. Tom Keniston is producer and David Skelly is supervising director. The Jim Henson Company oversees all distribution and merchandising for the property and Herschend Enterprises administers all themed entertainment rights. About PBS KIDS PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, digital platforms and community-based programs. Kidscreen- and Webby Award-winning pbskids.org provides engaging interactive content, including digital games and streaming video. PBS KIDS also offers mobile apps to help support young children’s learning. The PBS KIDS Video App is available on a variety of mobile devices and on platforms such as Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Xbox One and Chromecast. For more information on specific PBS KIDS content supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit pbs.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook. About The Jim Henson Company The Jim Henson Company has remained an established leader in family entertainment for 60 years and is recognized worldwide as an innovator in puppetry, animatronics and digital animation. Best known as creators of the world famous Muppets, Henson has received over 50 Emmy Awards and nine Grammy Awards. Recent credits include the Emmy®-nominated Sid the Science Kid, Dinosaur Train, and Pajanimals, as well as the CG-animated preschool series Doozers and the upcoming digital citizen series for preschoolers Dot., and the upcoming Netflix series for young preschoolers Word Party. Features include Disney’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, as well as The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and MirrorMask. Television productions include Fraggle Rock, the sci-fi cult series Farscape, Henson Alternative’s No, You Shut Up! and the recent TV film Jim Henson’s Turkey Hollow. With additional locations in New York and London, The Jim Henson Company is headquartered in Los Angeles on the historic Charlie Chaplin lot, complete with soundstage and postproduction facilities. The Company is home to Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™, a pre-eminent characterbuilding and visual effects group with international film, television, theme park and advertising clients, as well as Henson Recording Studios, one of the music industry’s top recording facilities known for its world-class blend of state-of-the-art and vintage equipment. The Company’s Henson Alternative brand is currently touring Puppet-Up! – Uncensored, a live puppet improvisational show. http://www.henson.com www.facebook.com/hensoncompany www.twitter.com/hensoncompany About Herschend Enterprises Committed for more than half-a-century to Creating Memories Worth Repeating®, Herschend Enterprises is the largest family-owned attractions corporation in the U.S. Our team of more than 10,000 employees works daily to create wholesome, immersive entertainment experiences with soul and depth for every generation. With a focus on bringing families closer together, we create, develop and operate entertainment, tourism and hospitality properties spanning 24 locations in seven states, attracting over 14 million people annually. Today, our properties include the world famous HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS, award-winning theme parks like SILVER DOLLAR CITY in Branson, MO, and DOLLYWOOD, our partnership with Dolly Parton in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains, top tier aquariums – NEWPORT AQUARIUM and ADVENTURE AQUARIUM, water parks, hotels, and other highly entertaining standalone attractions. As of Summer 2015, guests can also experience genuine Southern hospitality and storytelling from Dolly’s front porch with a visit to DOLLYWOOD’S DREAMMORE RESORT. For more information, visit www.hfecorp.com. About CPB The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of 1,500 locally owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide. CPB is also the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television, and related online services. For more information, visit www.cpb.org and follow on Twitter @CPBmedia, Facebook, and LinkedIn
Yesterday word spread of ABC's decisions to cancel the series after only one season. After digesting the news, I'm now able to compile my thoughts on the cancellation of the show. Though, I think a little history is due.
First and foremost we need to acknowlege that The Muppets do not have a great history with network TV.
In 1975, when Jim Henson pitched his idea for The Muppet Show the big three networks - ABC, NBC, and CBS all turned him down. This was before cable, kids. When they said no, there weren't many options left. As many fans already know, the show was eventually produced in the UK and aired in the US in first run syndication. For the most part that meant that The Muppet Show usually aired in the time slots before the network shows came on. Sometime usuallybetween 6pm - 8pm in the slots currently now reserved for local programming and shows like Jeopardy, and Extra.
That means that not only did The Muppet Show not directly compete with prime time shows, but it also aired in different times on different days in different areas. It was also broadcast worldwide with a full 22 episode commitment.
I'm not telling you anything new when I say that audiences around the world found the show when it aired, loved it, and it became widely sucessful. We all know that. When speaking about The Muppets cancellation some reports said that even The Muppet Show was canceled. While I guess that's technically true, I don't consider it a "cancellation" when shows creators decide to end a series. In 1981, after 5 years Jim Henson decide that was enough of The Muppet Show and wanted to move on to new ideas. It would be 8 years before the next primetime Muppet series.
The Jim Henson Hourwas very ambitious and paired the Muppets with other more mature content created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop. After a 10 minute pilot presentation and some notes from the network, NBC picked up the anthology show and aired it Friday nights at 8pm.
As is typically with Friday night shows, the rantings weren't very good. The series averaged a mere 5.3 rating and ranked 100th out of 105 programs to air that season. With the show's fifth episode, and little promotion, NBC moved the series to Sunday night. That episode was show's lowest rated and NBC cancelled the series after it aired. They burned off the remaining episodes over the summer and left three completed episodes unaired.
Needless to say Jim Henson wasn't happy about the cancellation, writing in that year's company's report that "I don't particularly like the way NBC handled us, but what the hey, that's network TV. [The series] was really coming together nicely and I'm sure that we would have made it even better in subsequent seasons." In an interview with American Film magazine, Henson added "They put us in a time slot that they had been consistently not doing very well in, and we also did not do very well."
In 1996, The Muppets made their return to primetime in a more straight forward update of The Muppet Show - Muppets Tonight.
ABC aired the show as a midseason replacement during their Friday TGIF block of family comedies. 13 episodes were ordered, though only 10 would air before it was canceled. The show was then picked by the Disney Channel, which ordered an additional 9 episodes.
Like The Jim Henson Hour,Muppets Tonight focused on new characters while many of the more established Muppets like Fozzie and Miss Piggy were sidelined, or like Scooter and Dr. Teeth, not featured at all. This was due to a variety of reasons, and while some great characters emerged like Pepe and Bobo, audiences missed their favorite Muppet Show characters.
Ten years later, The Muppets went back across the pond for their next series, Muppets TV. The French series aired on TF1 and didn't have any of the regular Muppet performers. Instead, the show was performed entirely in French by French puppeteers and featuredonly French celebrities. Due to station management changes and poor ratings, the show was cancelled after10 45-minute episodes. Which bring us to the present cancellation of The Muppets.
In spring of 2015 Bill Prady floated the idea of new Muppet series that would be shot mockumentary style and focus of the characters lives outside of a late night talk show. ABC boss Paul Lee liked the concept so much, the show was rushed into development and the show was picked up of for fall 2015 instead of 2016 as the producers had intended. As there wasn't enough time to make a full pilot, only a 10 minute presentation was made.
ABC loved the presentation and announced The Muppets would air Tuesdays 8pm.
When The Muppets was announced by ABC the internet went nuts with joy and anticipation. This was partly due to to it being reported as a return of The Muppet Show. Once it was revealed that the show wouldn't be a variety show, but focus on the characters personal lives enthusiasm waned.
ABC sent a bus showing the presentation to select cities around the US to drum up publicity. And after the 10 minute pilot presentation made it's way online many people decided to check out the new show after all. The show premiered with 9 million viewers and a 2.7 in the coveted 18-49 demo. Audiences (and One Million Moms) grumbled about the more adult humor, the tone of the show, and the behind the scenes concept.
Halfway through the series Kristen Newman was brought on to course correct the show and add more "joy." While the quality and tone vastly improved there was little on air promotion to emphasize the changes. This was further compounded by the network changing the show's time slot to 8:30PM. Promos for social media that were already made (by The Muppets themselves - NOT the network mind you) had to be altered and by the time the two-part finale aired at 8pm (not even at the shows now usually time slot of 8:30) it had only 2.7 million viewers and a 0.8 adults.
During the change in show runners, there was also a shake up up at the ABC network itself. ABC president Paul Lee, who championed the show from start (if rushing it) was ousted, and replaced by the networks head of drama Channing Dungey.
As you see The Muppets have been cancelled numerous times for low ratings, shifting network priorities, and the like.
Their time at ABC is over (again). They now either need to shop The Muppets around to a new home like Netflix, other Disney owned outlets like Disney Channel and Freeform (formerly ABC Family), or create an entirely new series.
The point of this history lesson is that we've been here before. I liked The Muppets, it was better then Muppets Tonights and either of the last two feature films. There was talk about the show being developed for Netflix, before Paul Lee wanted it for ABC. So let's see if we can make that happen. As kermit once said "the show's not dead as long as we believe in it." It's time to get the social media hashtags #PickupTheMuppetsNetflix, #SaveTheMuppetsNetflix, or #Muppets4Netflix or something similar trending. We can do it.The big three and cable are no long the only games in town.
These match-ups are getting going to the birds! I give you round 4 of:
First, let's recap the rules:
1. The episodes are selected at random. 2. The only caveat to rule 1 is that a season of The Muppet Show may be picked, but again the episode itself must be random. Once a season has been picked - it's out of play.
3. Once an episode has been selected, it's out of play and can't be selected again. (yes I know these means only 16 episodes (so far) of The Muppets vs 120 episodes of The Muppet Show.)
Round 4 features a country novelty songwriter crooning while the Muppets turn into chickens vs a pig doing aerial acrobatics. You can't make this stuff up folks!
The only real similarities to be found are that both episodes features Muppet transformations:
In the Roger Miller episode, the Muppets (save for Gonzo) turn into chickens when a plague of Cluckitis spreads through the theater. While in Got Silk? Gonzo, Rizzo, and Pepe are transformed from lowly writers into sharp dressed men thanks to an infusion of brain washing product placement by Pinkberry.
You can watch the Roger Millerepisodehere. (We wish Disney would release it on DVD!)
And Got Silk? below:
My take: The Roger Miller episode is The Muppets are their most comically absurd, while Got Silk? features some actual character growth from Miss Piggy while searching for a best friend. This one is like, totally, going to go the muppets.
But, now it's your turn. Vote for which episode you think should come out on top. The poll will be open for one week and voting is done on the top right hand side of the page.