Thursday, December 15, 2005

Disney Alters Some of The Muppets' Big Plans

As many of you know, back in October Disney had a big change in management when Disney's CEO Michael Eisner left, and Robert Iger was placed in charge. As a result of the Walt Disney Company's management change, came other major changes in several of the sub-companies and segments of the Walt Disney Company – including the Muppet Holding Company. As many of you may have heard, Chris Curtin was released from his duties as the head of the Muppet Holding Company back in October. Russell Hampton was later instated as an Executive Vice President in charge of overseeing the Muppets Holding Company (and The Baby Einstein Company).

As you may also remember, just a few days before the big management change Kermit was on Good Morning America, and announced to the world that he would be embarking on a big 15-month, 50-stop, 50th-anniversary world tour. The tour kicked off in Kermit, Texas shortly following. However it has now been confirmed that Disney cut the road trip short (with only 2 of the 50 stops completed). Apparently they did not feel that it was an effective or efficient use of their company resources. Adding insult to injury: a Disney source close to the Muppets told TV-Guide that the Disney executives "didn't think the public would notice". Also canceled due to the abrupt management change was the planned Christmas special, along with several other proposed and approved projects left from the "Curtin days". Apparently Hampton and the rest of the Disney executives did not see eye-to-eye on a lot of what Curtin was planning, and another Disney sources states the many of the Disney executives are still skeptical about the potential of the Muppet franchise.

Currently the only major Muppet project in the works is the tentative ABC's reality parody "America's Next Muppet". But I've been told that the Muppet Holding Company is working hard to asses the market and re-launch the Muppets (yet again) with other projects as well. I'll keep you posted as we get more news on any upcoming Muppet projects and productions - but just don't expect to see Kermit coming to a town near you or staring in a Christmas special this year.

10 comments:

ricosuave said...

This really, really stinks. Now we know why Kermit hasn't been blogging like promised or why the tour dates weren't announced. At least Disney should have let Kermit visit the Washington, D.C., TV station where Jim Henson got his start. And the Muppets have limited economic potential??? Who are these executives? Have they seen the Henson Company's record over the years??? And their 50th anniversary editions? Except for the Pepe profiles, they really aren't very good. I hate the cover art for The Muppet Movie and the transfers don't look like they've been cleaned up at all.

Nic Kramer said...

Hey, I liked the cover to the Muppet Movie. It's way better that seeing a flat headed Kermit.
Anyway I hope Iger the bootlicker doesn't treat Kermit and the gang like what happened to Terrytoons with Vitacom taking care with them.

Grant said...

If I was an exec at Disney, I'd have the same fears about the Muppets as well. With the entire family entertainment market heading into CGI, what place is there for a puppet-based franchise?

Don't be surprised if Disney keep the IP, dump the puppets and begin producing Muppet stuff with a computer-generated Kermit and Fozzie.

the owner said...

That is a scarey thought there...very sarey, in fact. Little CGI Kermit...Little CGI Piggy...

*shivers*

Nic Kramer said...

It would happen if we keep talking about it. So lets not talk about it.

Anonymous said...

If they aren't going to do anything with the franchise then why not put it up for sale or get rid of Russell Hampton? Get someone who cares about the franchise in there. If you think your product is a dog and isn't going to do anything then get rid of it. I just hope they don't screw this franchise up, or cancel future DVD season releases. I'd hate Disney so much if they did that. Just goes to prove that they are perhaps just another big stupid corporation with no clue about the worth of their properties.

Nic Kramer said...

That's what happens when they shoe away Walt's newphew, Roy.

Anonymous said...

Hey, the second stop was in Houston at the Johnson Space Center and I didn't even know about it until the day after. And I was looking for it! Lousy promotion for the events even before they were cancelled. Sad. I'm sure a lot of people would have liked to seen Kermit in person. Could have grown into quite a big buzz (not a fly joke!).

Anonymous said...

Is Disney still gonna release all the rest of The Muppet Show seasons on dvd. It seams likely even more so because The Muppet Show first season boxed set won an award. Any info would be Apreaciated

Grant said...

I think the remaining Muppet Show sets are as close to certain as you can get. I would be very surprised if Disney stopped, following the success of the first set.