After a few false starts, The Muppets will be making their way to Disney+ this summer. The Muppets Now shortform, improvisational comedy series that the streaming platform had announced for this year is still on pace to debut this summer, according to a press release from the company. It wasn't a release about the Muppets, per se, but rather a line buried in a press release about casting Disney Family Sing-Along vol. 2. As a side note, the release mentioned that "fans of The Muppets can also see more of Kermit, Miss Piggy and friends in the upcoming Disney+ series, Muppets Now, premiering this summer."
That both narrows down the "sometime in 2020" that fans had been told previously, and also confirms that the production shutdowns related to the novel coronavirus pandemic have not had a significant impact on Muppets Now. Of course, if Apple TV's Fraggle Rock: Rock On! is anything to go by, puppetry and green screens could allow the Muppets a huge amount of flexibility that flesh-and-blood actors don't have during social distancing.
The Muppets have been absent from screens since the failure of their 2015/2016 sitcom The Muppets., a workplace comedy using a documentary style a la The Office. In spite of similarities to The Office and appearances by NBC standouts Ed Helms and Mindy Kaling, the show aired on ABC and never really found its audience. In that series, Gonzo was a cast member on a TV show run by Kermit (the premise of the show had Kermit serving as executive producer for a late-night show hosted by Miss Piggy).
Josh Gad was set to co-write a six-part The Muppets Live Again miniseries for Disney+. The project, which was an '80s-set sequel to The Muppets Take Manhattan, would was cancelled by Disney after creative differences drove Gad and his co-writers away.
The Muppets, created by legendary filmmaker Jim Henson in 1955, were massively successful during his lifetime, with The Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock being watched by huge numbers of people in their first runs as well as in syndication. Henson approached Disney to purchase his assets in 1989, and they came to an agreement in principle, but Henson passed away in 1990 before the deal could be completed. Without Henson there to anchor it, the deal fell apart, and Disney didn't get the Muppets until 2003, when they bought a much smaller batch of rights (this time excluding a number of projects, which Henson's company now retains the rights to) but did get they key Muppet characters.
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