Fozzie Bear's family is about to get bigger, as the Muppet Babies series on Disney Jr. is rolling out Rozzie, an adopted sister for the would-be comedian and the series' second (third, if you count Kermit in The Great Muppet Caper) attempt at giving him a sibling. In the Muppet Kids series and their tie-in video games, Fozzie has a younger brother named Freddie Bear. The addition of Rozzie will come in the third season of Disney Junior's top-rated show among the kids aged-2-5 demographic. Season 3 premieres at 5 p.m. ET/PT on Monday, January 4, in an episode titled "Rizzo's Big Bruddah School."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, who broke the casting of T.O.T.S. veteran Charlie Townsend in the role, the episode centers on Fozzie's fears that he may not have what it takes to be a good big brother to the incoming sister. Rizzo was previously depicted as having an older brother, Vinny, who appeared in a season two episode. If he has experience as a big brother, this will be our first time learning about it.
There has been no official description yet for Rozzie's character, although she can be seen in a preview image from the episode, below. It appears she might be a koala, based on the size and positioning of her ears, but it might just be that she has a small head since she is presumably an infant, given that the other Muppet Babies are toddlers.
Muppet Babies is one of the few unqualified successes of the Disney era of The Muppets (the company purchased The Muppets from The Jim Henson Company in 2004), although it is based on a series that originally ran from 1984 until 1991. It centers on toddler versions of several popular Muppets characters, including Kermit the Frog (Matt Danner, who also voices Rowlf, Waldorf, Beaker, and the Swedish Chef on the show), Piggy (Melanie Harrison), Animal (Dee Bradley Baker), Gonzo (Ben Diskin) and of course Fozzie (Eric Bauza). The series has previously introduced Summer Penguin (Jessica DiCicco) and brought back Miss Nanny, a character only seen from the knees or so down, from the original show (here voiced by Jenny Slate).
During its '80s/'90s heyday, Muppet Babies spawned a mountain of merchandise and a comic book series from Marvel (recently collected in a hardcover anthology). What's interesting is that the concept didn't originate with a TV pitch, but was rather introduced via a short fantasy sequence at the end of The Muppets Take Manhattan.