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The Muppets Studio

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Muppets Studio, LLC
FormerlyThe Muppets Holding Company, LLC (2004–2007)
Company typeSubsidiary
FoundedFebruary 14, 2004; 20 years ago (2004-02-14)
United States
Key people
Leigh Slaughter (vice president)[1]
  • Film
  • Television series
Number of employees
5 (2015)[2]
ParentDisney Live Entertainment (2019–present)[3]

The Muppets Studio, LLC is an American entertainment production company and subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, that owns and produces media content for The Muppets franchise.[4] The division was previously formed as The Muppets Holding Company, LLC in 2004 through Disney's acquisition of The Muppets and Bear in the Big Blue House intellectual properties from The Jim Henson Company.

The Muppets Studio manages the rights to the Muppets characters, including supervising their appearances across Disney's various divisions, as well as producing films, television series, specials, theme park attractions, music recordings, publishing, and live performances featuring the characters.


Background: Disney and Henson's failed merger

In the late-1980s, Jim Henson had been in talks with Disney CEO Michael Eisner to sell Jim Henson Productions to Disney.[5] In August 1989, the two officially announced a deal for Disney to purchase Jim Henson Productions for $150 million.[6] The deal fell through several months after Jim Henson's death in 1990.[7]

Despite the collapse of the merger deal, by 1992, Disney and Jim Henson Productions had already struck a number of deals:

The Henson family subsequently sold the entirety of the Jim Henson Company to German conglomerate EM.TV in 2000. In 2003, the Henson family repurchased The Jim Henson Company from EM.TV.[10]

Disney acquisition and formation

Eisner, still interested in the Muppet properties, re-opened negotiations with the Hensons and announced the purchase of The Muppets and Bear in the Big Blue House assets from The Jim Henson Company for $75 million on February 17, 2004.[10] The acquired Muppet assets were then placed into The Muppets Holding Company with Chris Curtin as general manager within Disney Consumer Products.[11] One of the first appearances that the Muppets made after the purchase was on the TV special The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour in April 2004, starring Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson.[12] A new website was launched in November 2004 and the Muppets made an appearance on the 2004 Christmas episode of Saturday Night Live.[13]

The first Muppet production under full Disney control, The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, went into production immediately and aired on ABC in May 2005.[14] On July 30, 2005, Animal and Pepe the King Prawn made appearance on The X Games 11 Preview show of All Access on ESPN2.[15] Bear's first appearance under Disney's control was in the reality show, Breakfast With Bear in 2005.[16]

A fiftieth birthday tour for Kermit, "Kermit's World Tour" was planned with leadership changes made just days before the tour began. The tour made its initial three stops before being canceled: Kermit, Texas; Johnson Space Center tour; and cake with The Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, NYC.[13] Following Eisner's exit from Disney, new CEO Bob Iger removed the head of the Muppets Holding Company and several senior staff members hand-picked by Eisner.[13] The Muppets Holding Company was then paired with Baby Einstein (before it was acquired by Kids II, Inc. in 2013) under Senior Vice President and General Manager R. Russell Hampton Jr.[13][17]

ABC, in October 2005, commissioned America's Next Muppet, a script and five script outlines,[18][19] but ABC was reluctant to green light America's Next Muppet,[13] and it never got out of the planning stage.[10] Muppet Holding's new general manager instead licensed the Muppets out to TF1, a French television network, to produce Muppet TV in September 2006.[20]

The Muppets Studio

In 2006, the Muppets Holding Company was transferred from the Disney Consumer Products unit to The Walt Disney Studios; with studio executives passing on oversight, the unit was placed in the special events group.[10][11] That same year, Disney contracted Puppet Heap to rebuild, maintain, and create puppet characters for the Muppets Studio. In April 2007, the Muppets Holding Company changed its name to The Muppets Studio under new leadership by Special Events Group SVP Lylle Breier.[13]

In 2008, The Muppets Studio began a licensing agreement with F.A.O. Schwarz to create a Muppet-themed boutique where customers can design their own Muppet.[10] In 2013, Disney Theatrical Productions revealed that a show based on The Muppets was in active development and that a 15-minute show had been conducted by Thomas Schumacher to see how the technical components would work out.[21]

The company was transferred in 2014 to Disney's new media unit, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, specifically DCPI Labs.[17][22] On April 3, 2015, a series of shorts named Muppet Moments premiered on Disney Junior. The series features conversations between the Muppets and young children.[23] By April, Bill Prady was commissioned to write a script for a new Muppets pilot with the title The Muppets,[9] which was greenlit by ABC, and ran for one season.[24]

Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media became part of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products in a March 2018 company reorganization.[4] That same month, a reboot of the 1980s Muppet Babies series debuted on Disney Junior.[25] A relaunch of the Muppets franchise was planned as of February 2018 for the then-unnamed Disney streaming service scheduled to be launched in 2019.[26][27] Soon two series were under development for the Disney+ streaming service, the unscripted short-form series Muppets Now, and the scripted comedy Muppets Live Another Day. Live Another Day was from Adam Horowitz, Eddy Kitsis, and Josh Gad, and was planned as an eight-episode series which would depict events taking place after The Muppets Take Manhattan.[24] The series was at ABC Signature Studios with a pilot order when Muppets Studios vice president Debbie McClellan departed and her replacement, Disney Parks Live Entertainment senior vice president David Lightbody, wanted a different take on the project. Unwilling to drop their concept, the creative trio left the project. Muppets Now continued development and premiered on the streaming service on July 31, 2020.[24][28]


General manager
  • Chris Curtin, 2004–2005[14][13]
  • Russell Hampton, 2005–May 2006[13]
  • Lylle Breier, Fall 2006[13]
  • Debbie McClellan, c.2015–2019[29][24]
  • David Lightbody, 2019–present[24] (senior vice-president)
  • Leigh Slaughter, 2020–present[30][1]


Film and television

Theme parks

Web series

See also


  1. ^ a b Potter, Courtney (Summer 2020). "Muppets Now is a Stream Come True". D23. Disney. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  2. ^ Jurgensen, John (September 10, 2015). "The Muppets Grow Up and Go Back to Prime Time". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  3. ^ "Some Exciting News from the Muppets Studio About 'The Muppet Show'".
  4. ^ a b Wang, Christine (March 14, 2018). "Disney announces strategic reorganization, effective immediately". CNBC. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  5. ^ Givens, Bill (Spring 1990). "The Mouse & The Frog". Animation Magazine. Retrieved February 20, 2013.
  6. ^ Swansburg, John (December 6, 2013). "Muppet Man". The New York Times. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  7. ^ Burr, Ty (May 16, 1997). "The Death of Jim Henson". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  8. ^ Willman, David (July 26, 1992). "Jim Henson's Children Put Together a String of Big Deals to Keep Alive". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 18, 2010.
  9. ^ a b Goldberg, Lesley (April 3, 2015). "'Muppets' Revived at ABC With 'Big Bang Theory' Co-Creator". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Barnes, Brooks (September 18, 2008). "Fuzzy Renaissance". The New York Times. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
  11. ^ a b Masters, Kim (October 20, 2011). "Kermit as Mogul, Farting Fozzie Bear: How Disney's Muppets Movie Has Purists Rattled". The Hollywood Reporter. pp. 3 of 4. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  12. ^ "The Nick & Jessica Variety Hour (2004) - IMDb" – via[unreliable source?]
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i Jim, Hill (April 29, 2007). "Monday MouseWatch : Will the third time be the charm with Disney's Muppet revival project?". Retrieved February 20, 2013.
  14. ^ a b c "Disney's plan to relaunch the Muppets". Muppet AP. May 19, 2005. Retrieved February 20, 2013.
  15. ^ Cave, Steve. "THE MUPPETS GET A TASTE OF THE X GAMES". About Sports. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  16. ^ a b Crosby, Sherry Joe (November 25, 2013). "When a Bear Comes to Breakfast". Daily News. Los Angeles, CA: HighBeam Research. Archived from the original on June 10, 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  17. ^ a b Suddath, Claire (September 17, 2015). "Meep Meep TV". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  18. ^ Schneider, Michael (October 25, 2005). "Muppets pull strings at ABC". Variety. Retrieved September 24, 2007.
  19. ^ "'Muppets' may return to primetime TV". USA Today. AP. October 25, 2005. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  20. ^ a b James, Alison (September 17, 2006). "Les Muppets on a French roll". Variety. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  21. ^ Cox, Gordon (June 11, 2013). "Disney Theatrical Eyeing Muppets On Stage". Variety. Retrieved June 12, 2013.
  22. ^ "Kyle Laughlin". Disney Consumer Products. Archived from the original on September 29, 2015. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  23. ^ a b Kelley, Seth (March 17, 2015). "Kermit Talks to Kids in Disney Junior's 'Muppet Moments'". Variety. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  24. ^ a b c d e Goldberg, Lesley (September 10, 2019). "'The Muppets' Disney+ Comedy Series Scrapped". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  25. ^ Schwartz, Dana (January 25, 2018). "Meet the new Muppet Baby! A first look at Summer the penguin". Entertainment Weekly.
  26. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (February 21, 2018). "Disney Planning Another 'Muppets' Reboot for Its Streaming Service". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  27. ^ Jarvey, Natalie (January 19, 2018). "BAMTech Taps Apple Veteran to Lead Disney OTT". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  28. ^ Coggan, Devan (May 20, 2020). "Disney+ will get Muppetational with new Muppets Now series in July". entertainment weekly. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  29. ^ Spangler, Todd (May 4, 2015). "The Muppets Take YouTube in Video Mashups". Variety. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  30. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (July 28, 2020). "It's Time to Re-Re-Re-Meet the Muppets". The New York Times. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  31. ^ (July 25, 2008) Miley Cyrus meets the Muppets in Disney Channel special. Variety. Variety Media, LLC.
  32. ^ Grow, Kory. (October 18, 2013) Lady Gaga to Celebrate Thanksgiving With the Muppets. Rolling Stone (Wenner Media).
  33. ^ Wagmeister, Elizabeth (May 7, 2015). "'The Muppets,' Comedy from 'Community' Star Ken Jeong Among ABC Orders". Variety. Retrieved May 7, 2015.
  34. ^ Holloway, Daniel (October 26, 2016). "'Muppet Babies' Reboot Begins Production at Disney Junior". Variety. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  35. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (August 23, 2019). "'Muppets' Shortform Series a Go at Disney+". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  36. ^ Del Rosario, Alexandra (May 7, 2021). "'Muppets Haunted Mansion': Disney+ Sets First-Ever Muppets Halloween Special Event". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  37. ^ Slaughter, Leigh (March 7, 2022). "New Series 'The Muppets Mayhem' Starring The Electric Mayhem Band Coming to Disney+". Disney Parks Blog.
  38. ^ Deitchman, Beth (October 3, 2016). "The Muppets Make History at Magic Kingdom Park". Disney D23. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  39. ^ Graser, Marc (December 6, 2013). "Watch: The Muppets Star in New Series of 'Muppisodes'". Variety. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  40. ^ Graser, Marc (August 1, 2014). "Disney Launches The Muppets Digital Series". Variety. Retrieved February 25, 2015.

External links

This page was last edited on 17 June 2024, at 02:25
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