Muppetology 101: The Muppets and the American Broadcasting Company


Mitchell Stein – Commence excitmement! We’re just a few weeks away from the national premiere of The Muppets on Tuesday September 22nd 8/7c on ABC and we can’t contain our excitement.

Speaking of ABC, did you know that this isn’t the first time The Muppets and the network now owned by ABC have partened for a series? In fact, the Muppets have made dozens of appearances and television specials for the network.  Using my qualifications in Muppetology (and basic internet browsing skills) I’ve compiled this handy list of useless but interesting info about the Muppets and the American Broadcasting Company in preparation of the Muppets’ return to primetime.

The Muppets’ history with ABC actually begins way back to the days in which Jim Henson was writing and pitching The Muppet Show. Although the series was never picked up by the excutives at ABC, Jim was granted permission to film two test pilot episodes for the show to pitch to the network. The two pilots The Muppets Valentine Show and The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence aired on ABC in 1974 and 1975 respectively. Although the network never allowed the roots of the show to grow, they planted the seeds allowing the show to come to fruition, as it later caught the eye of ITV owner Lord Lew Grade, and the rest is history.

b55dc-merrychristmas2528mfc2529Besides re-airings of Muppet specials like Hey Cinderella! and Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas, as well as others, the Muppets partenered with ABC for for their television specials The Muppets Go To The Movies (which was a promotion for The Great Muppet Caper), the famous Fantastic Miss Piggy Show, The Christmas Toy and most notably A Muppet Family Christmas. Many years later in December 2013, the network aired the holiday special Lady Gaga and The Muppets Holiday, on second thought, let’s move on, shall we?

c1beb-muppets_tonight_7But stretching beyond made-for television specials, like The Muppets Wizard of Oz (sorry for reminding you) it’s easy to forget that for a very short time, ABC was previously the home to the Muppets on primetime once before. The Muppet returned to primetime in 1996 on ABC in the short lived Muppets Tonight. Unfortuanately, the Muppet’s first attempt at a show on ABC didn’t quite work and the show was cancelled after just ten episodes (but was later picked up for a second season on Disney Channel). The show suffered from many problems, most of which we’re certain won’t go wrong at their next go with the network. Just a few years prior to that, ABC was the home of the Henson series Dinosaurs, which remained on the network for four seasons and grew to great popularity in 90’s television.

26990-rizzoandpepeextrememakeoverOver the years, the Muppets have made countless amount of appearances on ABC latenight shows and reality shows including constant takeovers on Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Who Wants to Be a Millionare, and that time Kermit sat in as the news anchor for a special edition of Nightline.

So the Muppets have quite a long history with ABC, so they should feel right at home. There’s only just a few weeks left to the premiere of the first Muppet series since Muppets Tonight, so make sure you show ABC that you care this time around and tune into The Muppets on Tuesday September 22nd on ABC at 8/7c!

God Bless America and it’s magnificent Broadcasting Company!


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