News Update: June 7, 2013

NEWS UPDATE: June 7, 2013

This week, the Writers Guild of America posted their list of the 101 Best Written TV Series. Included on the list were both Sesame Street (at #56) and The Muppet Show (at #91). Check out the blurbs below for what the Writers Guild had to say about the shows. Thanks to our friend Benn Breeden for the alert!

#56 – Sesame Street
“Simply put, the show’s continual inventiveness and impact as an educational tool – forged via the runaway popularity of the Muppets – changed the landscape of children’s television. Joan Ganz Cooney was a children’s television producer in New York City when, with government funding, she founded the Children’s Television Workshop. Sesame Street was born of her belief that kids programming ought to be more forward-thinking and fun. “I wanted this show to jump and move fast and feel and sound like 1969, because kids are turned on visually!” Cooney is quoted as saying on the show’s Web site. Cooney’s creative team included Frank Oz, Jon Stone (a former producer on Captain Kangaroo who became the show’s first head writer), and the master puppeteer Jim Henson. Sesame Street, when it debuted, was banned from the air in Mississippi due to its interracial cast.”

#91 – The Muppet Show

“Behind Jim Henson’s genius and generosity of spirit were writers who shared his vision for puppetry that could tickle kids while delighting adults. They had worked with Henson going back before Sesame Street and followed him as the Muppets multiplied, springing to richer and richer life. On The Muppet Show, the characters were in showbiz now – with Kermit the Frog the impresario of a kind of variety show that peered at itself backstage, had a house band (The Electric Mayhem), a diva ingénue (Miss Piggy), balcony hecklers (Statler and Waldorf) and a human celebrity guest star. On the writing side, Henson’s collaborators included head writer Jerry Juhl (winner of five Writers Guild Awards), Jon Stone (who wrote one of two pilots for the series, called “Sex and Violence with the Muppets”), Marc London (Laugh-in), and Jack Burns, of the comedy team Burns and Schreiber, head writer during the first season.”

This week Sesame Street and Sesame Workshop announced their exciting new partnership with the National Park Service. This partnership encourages young viewers to go out and explore the United States National Parks. Who better to encourage this than our favorite furry red monsters Elmo and Murray? Check out the video below to see Elmo and Murray chat with a park ranger. Be sure to click around for the other videos in the series as well. This series is very notable because Elmo is being performed by Muppeteer Ryan Dillon for the first time in a major production. Dillon’s Elmo performance is incredibly spot-on. Check it out for yourself!

Finally, our friends at have some interesting new information about the upcoming BBC game show starring puppets from The Jim Henson Company–aptly titled That Puppet Game Show. You’ll want to check out ToughPigs for all the information, but you can see the intriguing photo featuring “celebrity” Vernon Kay and puppet Dougie Colon below. Enjoy?

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier,

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