Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006: A Year in Review

As 2006 draws to a close it is only natural to look back at what the year brought. It was a eventful year for Muppet-thusiasts. Here are just some of the amazing highlights of the past 365 days:

  • "The World According to Sesame Street" opened at the Sundance Film Festival
  • Miss Piggy appeared in Super Bowl commercials for Pizza Hut
  • Kermit the Frog starred in a Super Bowl commercial for the Ford Escape Hybrid
  • "MirrorMask" released on DVD
  • "Sesame Beginnings" debuted on DVD
  • Kermit and Piggy appeared at the TV Land Awards
  • Kermit the Frog guest hosted "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"
  • Caroll Spinney honored with the Daytime Emmys' "Lifetime Achievement Award"
  • The 8 "lost" episodes of "Bear in the Big Blue House" aired on Disney Channel
  • "Dinosaurs: The Complete First and Second Seasons" DVD box set released
  • "The StoryTeller: The Definitive Collection" released on DVD
  • "Late Night Buffet" pilot filmed in Hollywood
  • "Muppets Ahoy!" debuted on Disney Cruise Lines
  • The 37th season of "Sesame Street" premiered on PBS
  • "Fraggle Rock: Complete Second Season" DVD box set released
  • "Before You Leap" by Kermit the Frog released
  • "My Life as a Furry Red Monster" by Kevin Clash released
  • "A Green and Red Christmas" holiday album released
  • "Sesame Street: Old School, Volume 1" DVD box set released
  • "Puppet Up! - Uncensored" television special aired on TBS
  • "A Sesame Street Christmas Carol" released on DVD
  • "The Hoobs" premiered on American television
  • 20 new episodes of "Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony" appeared on
  • The Jim Henson Company's "Puppet Up!" puppet improv group performed over 32 live shows in Hollywood, Aspen, Edinburgh and Las Vegas.
  • Kermit made over 14 guest appearances on other programs (Elmo makes 6, Piggy makes 5, Big Bird makes 2 and Pepe makes 1).
  • The Muppet Newsflash published over 120 news posts in an effort to keep fans up to date on the latest Muppet and Henson news.

Yep, that’s the Muppet year in a nutshell. Whew, what an exciting ride, eh? Next year should be even more thrilling for fans and (as always) I'll be here to keep you all up to date. Happy New Year's!

Friday, December 22, 2006

The 2006 Jim Henson Honors

Today The Jim Henson Company announced the second ever Jim Henson Honors. The Jim Henson Honors, started in 2005, acknowledges organizations, individuals or products that reflect the core values and philosophy of Jim Henson and the company he founded.

Honorees were chosen by the artists and staff at The Jim Henson Company, who are asked to nominate recipients who inspire them in their everyday work, maintain similar core values as the company, and of course, reflect Jim Henson's commitment to excellence in creativity and innovation.

"This year’s honorees represent a bringing together of community - by encouraging us to take action or by giving us the tools to learn about and be inspired by the world and each other," said Brian Henson. "Much of my father’s work focused on celebrating our differences and recognizing that they are what makes the world a truly wonderful place so these recipients are a great tribute to his legacy as well."

The 2006 Jim Henson Honorees:
• The Jim Henson Celebration Honor: Al Gore
• The Jim Henson Community Honor: Wynton Marsalis
• The Jim Henson Creativity Honor: Hayao Miyazaki
• The Jim Henson Technology Honor: Google Earth

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Big Bird on "Deal or No Deal"

Big Bird will be making a special Christmas day appearance on the game show "Deal or No Deal" (Monday, December 25, 2006 at 8pm on NBC) . Sesame Street's famous feathered friend will appear to help contestants in a special two-hour episode of "Deal or No Deal".

From NBC:
In this special two-hour episode of "Deal or No Deal" (8-10 p.m.), Howie Mandel will descend from a sleigh onto a decked out stage complete with a decorated tree, presents, candy canes and snow. Playing for the $1 million top prize is Santa Claus, Indiana resident, Skip Allen and ice cream man Lamar Wilson of Lexington, Kentucky - who will be joined by surprise guest Big Bird from "Sesame Street."
So set the VCRs, program the TiVo, and don't forget to catch this holiday appearance of Big Bird on "Deal or No Deal" - check local listings for details.

"Puppet Up!" Down Under

Here is some news for all the Australian fans out there - The Jim Henson Company's puppet improv group is planning to bring the "Puppet Up! - Uncensored" improv stage show to the Big Laugh Comedy Festival in Sydney, Australia (March 21-31, 2007); and to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in Melbourne, Australia (April 4-15, 2007). Exact show times and ticket information are not available yet, but you can sign up for the "Puppet Up!" mailing list to be alerted as soon as tickets go on sale, and to be eligible for other special ticket options. Brace yourself, the puppets are coming!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Kermit on MTV News

Last week, while making the publicity rounds, Kermit the Frog stopped by the MTV News room to plug his new book, Before You Leap. Kermit recorded a short interview on Friday, December 8th – and now clips from the interview are popping up on MTV during MTV News breaks. A short except from the interview (on the topic of Britney Spears) is online for viewing on

You can watch the one-minute clip online via the MTV website by clicking here; and be keep your eyes on MTV for more of Kermit in the news.

NECA Jareth Figure Update

As announced earlier, NECA is gearing up to release an action figure of Jareth the Goblin King from the Henson fantasy film Labyrinth. However it appears that some of the information floating around the net is inaccurate. Several images and bits of information have been surfacing on retailer sites - several of which are not officially endorsed. NECA has put out a warning to fans that some of the information being published by online retailers is not completely factual.

Several sales solicitations advertise that Jareth is coming with a goblin accessory and NECA now confirms that he does not come with such. NECA's online representative, Randy said that "We do have a host of goblins in development and are looking at when and how we will release them later in 2007. Jareth alone is a very expensive figure to produce because of the 2 capes (one of them is huge) and all the separate pieces that make up his hair." So a miscommunication took place between producers and retailers. A solo Jareth figure is planned for March, and other Goblins may follow separately.

Below is an official shot of the Jareth figure direct from NECA. I'll keep you posted as more information NECA's Labyrinth coverage develops.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Don't Miss Piggy on "Martha"

Miss Piggy will make a special guest appearance on "Martha" on Tuesday, December 19, 2006. "Martha" is a nationally syndicated daytime talk show hosted by Martha Stewart - check your local listings for time and channel.

Piggy has teamed up with Martha Stewart before - Piggy appeared in Stewart's 1995 "Home for the Holidays" special and Stewart contributed a gingerbread recipe for Piggy's 1996 cookbook, "In the Kitchen with Miss Piggy". Piggy even spoofed Martha in the Muppet's 1997 parody calendar.

Mark your calendars, power-up the VCR, set the TiVo or DVR and don't forget to watch Miss Piggy on "Martha" on Tuesday, December 19th.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sprout Brings "The Hoobs" to the US

PBS KIDS Sprout, the first and only 24-hour preschool destination available on TV, will start airing the Jim Henson Company's award-winning preschool series "The Hoobs". Sprout will kick-off the U.S. television debut of "The Hoobs"on December 25, 2006 with a "Happy Hooby Holidays" marathon from noon–6 pm (EST). Tula and Groove, two of the Hoobs, will appear on-air as the special guest hosts for the marathon as the introduce audiences to the show. Created by The Jim Henson Company, "The Hoobs" was Britain's largest ever commission of a preschool show from an independent producer when it launched in 2000.

The Hoobs are great explorers who love learning about the world. In each episode, they try to find the answer to a question which they put into the great Hoobopaedia created by Hubba Hubba Hoob back in Hoobland. The show focus on four main Hoobs – Tula, Groove, Iver and Roma. The four travel to all parts of the world in their Hoobmobile on a quest for discovery and learning.

Lisa Henson, co-CEO of The Jim Henson Company, said, "'The Hoobs' is a great example of our company's philosophy to create educational programming that is entertaining and engaging for children as well as parents. Young audiences around the world have enjoyed learning about the power of being curious from 'The Hoobs' and we're thrilled to introduce them to US audiences through PBS KIDS Sprout."

Following the December 25th marathon launch, "The Hoobs" will air every day in its regular time slot at 2:00 pm (EST). Viewers can also ring in the New Year with The Hoobs when the "Happy Hooby Holidays" marathon repeats on January 1, 2007 from noon–6pm (EST). For more information on "The Hoobs" and other Sprout programs, go to

Kermit on FOX News

Kermit the Frog made a special appearance on FOX News' The Live Desk" on Friday, December 8, 2006. Don't worry if you didn't catch the interview on TV because you can watch the whole thing online via the FOX News website right here!

Kermit discussed who talked about his new book, his role in politics (will he be running for president in '08?) and so much more.

You can watch the full video interview of "The Live Desk" interview with Martha MacCallum on the FOX News website by clicking here.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Watch Kermit on "The Early Show"

Did you miss Kermit's guest appearance on CBS' "The Early Show"? Well fret not my Muppet-lovin' friend, because CBS News has the whole interview with everyone's favorite amphibian on their website. You can watch the whole thing right here!

Kermit discussed who Jim Henson was, comments on his relationship with Piggy (dispelling the rumor that they were married), talks about his new book (and what prompted him to write it) and so much more. They even mention that there are blogs out there about Kermit and Piggy (who knew?).

Kermit concluded the interview saying "My philosophy goes back to what my good friend Jim. He said he wanted to leave the world a little better place than it was before he got here for him having been here, and I think he did that." And, well, I think he did too.

You can watch the full video interview on "The Early Show" website by clicking here or read a full summary of the event here.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Kermit the Frog on "The Early Show"

Kermit the Frog is continuing to make his rounds on the publicity circuit with a special guest appearance on "The Early Show" on Monday, December 11, 2006 . "The Early Show" is a 2-hour morning news show broadcasted nationwide on CBS - check your local listings for details.

This will be Kermit's fourth stop on his promotional tour to promote "
A Green and Red Christmas" and "Before You Leap" - last week he appeared on "The 9", "Live with Regis & Kelly" and "Good Morning America".

So be sure to set the VCR, program the TiVo, and don't forget to catch Kermit the Frog on "The Early Show" on Monday, December 11th.

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Muppet Life for Me!

Walt Disney Records’ has produced a new and exclusive CD entitled “Disney’s Ultimate Swashbuckler Collection”. The CD features music inspired by the movie series “Pirates of the Caribbean” and is being sold exclusively at Wal-Mart stores as a bonus disc in conjunction with the debut of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" on DVD.

The CD features 10 "classic pirate songs" sung by the talented "Pirates of the Black Tide" singing ensemble. The album was produced by Kryczko and Jeff Sheridan, with Jerry Cleveland adapting the songs into wonderful "pirate orchestra" arrangements.

Now you may be wondering what this has to do with the Muppets. Well, two of the songs are from the 1996 film "Muppet Treasure Island". The album features new pirate recordings of "Shiver My Timbers" and "Sailing for Adventure". These renditions of the fantastic Muppet tunes (writen by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil) are sure to delight fan of Muppet and swashbuckling music.

Track Listing
1. A Pirate’s Life
2. The Legend of Davy Jones: Forty Fathoms Below
3. Shiver My Timbers
4. Yo Ho Ho! (and a Bottle of Rum)
5. Sailing for Adventure
6. Blow the Man Down
7. The Pirate King
8. Pirates of the Black Tide
9. A Whale of a Tail
10. Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)

You can get a copy of exclusive bonus CD packed with the " Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" DVD at any Wal-Mart store or online at

Two Jareths and a Hoggle from NECA

Last month I shared the news that NECA (National Entertainment Collectibles Association) plans to release a Jareth the Goblin King (from the film Labyrinth) action figure under their "Cult Classics Presents" banner. Since that report NECA has shared some more information on their Labyrinth plans.

They plan on releasing two Jareth figures. The first figure features Jareth in his blue outfit from when he first appears in the film. This first figure is slated for release in March 2007. A second Jareth will ship later in 2007, and will come packaged with a special Hoggle figure pack-in. That right folks, a Hoggle action figure!

There are currently no plans for NECA to extend their Labyrinth coverage past the announced releases at this time, and no other Labyrinth figures are planned. I will keep you posted as soon as more information (and pictures) are released.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Kermit on The 9

As many of you know, Kermit the Frog has been around the publicity circuit this week promoting "A Green and Red Christmas" and "Before you Leap" (he recently appeared on Good Morning America and Live with Regis & Kelly). Kermit also made a guest appearance on today's installment of Yahoo! TV's daily web-show "The 9".

The famous Muppet frog appeared along side host Maria Sanone to talk about his new album, frog sounds, his new book, banjo playing and his relationship status - he even sang a few bars of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". Kermit was featured in five of the nine video segments that highlight the nine "must-see" web links of the day.

You can watch the entire web-cast for today (Friday, December 8, 2006) by
clicking here.

Sesame Street Biography Set to Re-air

The A&E television network will re-air their wonderful behind-the-scenes special about Sesame Street - "Sesame Street Biography". The 2-hour special is being shown in two hour-long parts. "Part 1" will air on Monday, December 18, 2006 at 4:00am ET/PT; and the second hour, "Part 2", will air the very next day (Tuesday, December 19, 2006) at the same time (4:00am ET/PT) -- check your local listings for details.

This is an unprecedented behind-the-scenes special, originally produced in 2001, takes viewers inside how the children's educational show is put together, from the initial writers' meeting through research, production, and actual filming. Viewers will see the Muppeteers working their Muppets and rehearsing.

Sesame Street is a TV legend - pure and simple. Jim Henson's vision gave the world Big Bird, the Grouch, Kermit and countless other beloved characters, and has helped millions of kids get a jump start on the alphabet, counting and other essential skills. For this extraordinary portrait, Sesame Street's producers allowed A&E unrestricted access to all facets of the show's creation, and they follow one episode from the first writer's meeting to broadcast to see how it all comes together. Rare footage captures landmark moments, including the pilot pitch, and extensive archival interviews with Jim Henson and Frank Oz offer insights into the creators' intentions.

It is on really early (or really late, depending on your point of view), but if you haven't seen this great documentary (and even if you have) be sure to set your VCR or program your TiVo (or put a pot of coffee on, set your alarm and clean off the couch). If you are so inclined, you can also buy the official DVD of the entire special from A&E's online store (right here). The $30 disc does not feature any special features, menus or artwork like standard DVDs; it simply includes a full copy of the quality program.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Fraggle Rock Film Update

Back in October I shared the news that Ahmet Zappa was chosen to pen the screenplay for the upcoming Fraggle Rock feature film. MTV News recently caught-up with Zappa to discuss the Fraggle flick and Zappa shared some juicy information on the big screen plans. Here's the scoop from MTV:

As previously announced, Zappa's script will follow the Fraggles (Gobo, Wembley, Mokey, Red and Boober) as they journey into "Outer Space" (or as we know it, the real world). The film will also include several new characters (both humans and puppets). Zappa also eased concerns, stating that the film will follow the tradition of the series and will feature tons of original music.

Zappa also affirmed that Traveling Matt and Marjory the Trash Heap will be in the movie. However when discussion moved towards the Gorgs, Zappa got suspiciously tight-lipped. "I can't say too much about the Gorgs right now," he stated. "That stuff is top secret."

Henson plans to keep CGI to a minimum, and want to return to the magic of the original Muppet productions. "There's going to be human interaction with Fraggles," Zappa said, adding that the film will feature several celebrity cameos. Zappa also said that they are looking in involve well-known songwriters and performers to give aide to filling the film with great new Fraggle songs. He stated that "I've been inundated with calls from famous bands, songwriters, different actors, who are just huge fans of 'Fraggle Rock' that they're just like, 'I'll do anything.' There's a certain religious fervor with Fraggles."

Zappa also said the famous Fraggle theme song will not be changed or replaced; however a new updated recording will most likely be made for the film.

Zappa closed the interview stating that "The Fraggles need to be here sooner, rather than later" and said the filmmakers are hopeful for a late-2008 early-2009 release date. He also hinted that some major "Fraggle Rock" details should be released after the holidays. I'll keep you updated with more Fraggle news as it surfaces.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Kermit the Frog on "Good Morning America"

Kermit the Frog will make an special guest appearance on "Good Morning America" on Thursday, December 7, 2006 . "Good Morning America" is a 2-hour weekday morning news show broadcasted nationwide on ABC - check local listings for details. The Muppets and "Good Morning America" have a long history together, and Kermit's appearance is sure to be an entertaining one.

And remember that after his Thursday spot on "Good Morning America", Kermit will hop over to "Live with Regis and Kelly" where he'll be a guest on Friday, December 8th (click here for more information).

So set the VCRs, program the TiVo, and don't forget to watch Kermit the Frog on "Good Morning America" on Thursday, December 7th.