Saturday, December 22, 2007

More "Play With Me Sesame" Coming to DVD

"Play with Me Sesame" brings viewers on a playdate with some of their favorite Sesame Street characters. Each episode mixes classic Sesame Street footage with newly created games and activities where the Muppets invite viewers to join in. Fans of "Play with Me Sesame" rejoiced this fall as the first two American DVDs of the series - "Playtime with Grover" and "Goodnight Sesame" - were released in October. Sesame Workshop is planning more releases of "Play with Me Sesame", with two more DVDs planned for released in March.

The Sesame Street Muppets show how much fun pretending can be in "Play With Me Sesame: Imagine With Me". Viewers can dance with ballerina Zoe, travel to the moon with Grover, and help Bert scare away the monsters under Ernie’s bed. The 110-minute DVD, which will hit stores on March 11, 2008, will also come with an exclusive bonus CD-ROM full of more than 40-minutes of interactive Sesame Street fun.

"Play with Me Sesame: Let's Play Games" will also hit stores on March 11, 2008. Guy Smiley hosts a series of games on this 110-minute DVD. Viewers will be able to play hide-and-seek with Grover, count along with Count von Count, and "Name That Sound." The DVD also come with an exclusive bonus CD-ROM with even more Sesame Street.

If you're a Sesame fan you want to be sure to pick up these exciting DVDs when they hit stores in March. I'll keep you posted with more news on the future of "Play with Me Sesame", and other Sesame shows, on DVD.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The 2007 Jim Henson Honors

Today The Jim Henson Company announced the recipients of the third annual Jim Henson Honors. The Jim Henson Honors, which was started in 2005 and continued in 2006, 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.

In a statment earlier today Lisa Henson said, "Each of this year's recipients embodies creativity in an exciting way: uniting a community, exploring expression in a multitude of media, providing an exciting way to experience entertainment, and providing tools for real change in the world around us. This type of thinking is at the core of the company my father founded and we are thrilled to celebrate these like-minded honorees."

The 2007 Jim Henson Honorees:
• The Jim Henson Celebration Honor: Richard Branson, British Entrepreneur
• The Jim Henson Community Honor: Etsy, Online Marketplace for All Things Handmade
• The Jim Henson Creativity Honor: Neil Gaiman, Writer
• The Jim Henson Technology Honor: REAL D 3D, 3D Experience Provider

More Henson Plushes from ToyVault in '08

Last year ToyVault Inc. acquired licenses to produce plush dolls and collectibles based on two Jim Henson classics - "The Dark Crystal" and "Labyrinth". The first products in each of these lines were released earlier this year – a plush Fizzgig from "The Dark Crystal" and a plush Sir Didymus from "Labyrinth". Since the debut of these two products the fans have been wondering whether or not they can expect more fantasy world collectibles from ToyVault, and when any more products would be rolling out.

I contact ToyVault to find out about the future of these two lines, and was told that they have a slew of new products planned to roll out in 2008. The fine folks at ToyVault provided me with a glimpse at their tentative 2008 release schedule and a list of the Henson-themed items fans can expect to see. The release dates and specifics have not all been locked-in yet and things could always change, but here is a sneak-peak at some of the products ToyVault is currently working on and planning to release in2008.

Dark Crystal:
• Dark Crystal Pillow
• Plush Jen (with rotocast vinyl head)
• Plush Kira (with rotocast vinyal head)
• Plush Augrah
• Plush Mystic
• Plush Landstrider
• Plush Fizzgig Hand Puppet
• Plush Pod People

Labyrinth
• Plush Fiery
• Plush Goblin
• Plush Ludo
• Plush Hoggle
• Plush Didymus with Ambrosius
• Hangable Plush Door Knockers
• Ludo Plush Slippers

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Henson's "Unstable Fables" are Coming Your Way

As reported earlier, The Jim Henson Company has teamed up with the Weinstein Company to produce a new series of direct-to-video movies entitled "Unstable Fables".

The video series features irreverent retellings of well-known classic tales by incorporating modern twists on the stories. The first batch of these family-friendly computer-animated feature-length movies began production last year, and the first title in the line is planned for release in March 2008.

"Unstable Fables: Three Pigs and a Baby", the first title in the "Unstable Fables" series, features the story of "The Three Little Pigs" with a new twist. The three pigs find themselves the target of a team of wolves vying to finally infiltrate the pigs' impenetrable house of bricks. So when the unassuming pigs find a tiny wolf cub on their doorstep they innocently take him in and raise him as their own. However once the wolf grows up he finds himself torn between his wolf ancestors and the pigs that raised him. "Three Pigs and a Baby" features an impressive vocal cast, including such talents as Brad Garrett, Jon Cryer, Steve Zahn and Jesse McCartney.

The movie will be released on DVD on March 11, 2008 through Genius Products and is already available for pre-ordering at many online stores. An "Unstable Fables" take on "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" and "The Tortoise and the Hare" are also planned for release later this spring with additional "Unstable Fables" releases to follow.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

S.U.D.S. is Coming!

As reported earlier, The Jim Henson Company, in cooperation with RealNetworks and Warner Bros.'s Studio 2.0, are preparing to launch the latest Henson Alternative production, an irreverent detective comedy entitled "Simian Undercover Detective Squad" (or "S.U.D.S." for short). The upcoming web series will follow the inept undercover adventures of a grizzled orangutan detective and his rookie simian partner as they try to make it in a human world. Fifteen episodes are currently scheduled to debut at http://www.film.com/suds/ sometime in the first quarter of 2008. In order to promote the upcoming series, Henson has released an online teaser trailer for the series and a new installment of the Henson.com podcast all about "S.U.D.S."

So be sure to surf over to Henson.com to listen the latest installment of the podcast featuring exclusive, behind-the-scenes interviews with the series' producers/directors Perry Sachs and Deb Loftis, as well as performers Paul Rugg and Zand Broumand.

"Simian Underground Detective Squad" is the first of three Henson Alternative titles being produced for Film.com. Additionally, I've been told that Henson is planning to launch ten all-new episodes of "Puppet Up! - Uncensored", the company's live puppet improv show, in 2008. And also in development are 15 episodes of "Alt-Reality", a puppet-based reality-show parody being written and directed by Mike Upchurch.

I'll be sure to keep you updated with more details on "S.U.D.S", and all these other exciting web projects, as things progress.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Meet Sid the Science Kid

A while back it was announced that The Jim Henson Company, along with PBS Kids, was developing a new educational television series under the working title "What's the Big Idea?" The series was said to star an inquisitive digital-puppet named Josh who discovers the answers to interesting scientific questions - such as how birds fly or why people sneeze. Production and development of the series is progressing, and the show is planned to premier on PBS in September; however the show has undergone a name change since those initial reports. Josh is now Sid and the series is has been retitled "Sid the Science Kid".

"Sid the Science Kid" will use short sketches to teach lessons of science and discovery. Forty half-hour episodes of the series have been ordered and are in production. The program is utilizing the Henson Digital Performance Studio, the revolutionary system that allows puppeteers to perform digital characters in real time. Additionally, the Jim Henson Company has teamed up with the Brandolution marketing agency to handle the merchandising of the series, and a large roll out of supporting toys and books is already planned for the 2008 holiday season.

I’ll be sure to keep you updated with the release of this exciting new Henson series as things develop.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Elmo Gets Sirius

If you have Sirius Satellite Radio then you'll want to check out the "Kids Stuff" channel (channel 166) this holiday season for an exciting Muppet guest. Elmo, the loveable red monster from Sesame Street, has been invited to be a guest DJ for a special Christmas-themed program entitled "Elmo's Holiday Favorites".

Elmo will be playing his all-time favorite holiday songs while sharing exclusive sneak previews of the songs from "Elmo's Christmas Countdown" and spreading holiday cheer. The program is said to be full of classic Muppet, Sesame and seasonal fun for the entire family.

"Elmo's Holiday Favorites" will be broadcast on Sirius on December 21st at 9:00 am ET, however if you miss it, or want to catch it again, Sirius is set to rebroadcast it several time throughout the week (see below).

Sirius is currently offering three-day free trail of their programming online, so even if you don’t have Sirius you could still listen to Elmo's exclusive radio gig on their website.

"Elmo's Holiday Favorites"

  • Friday, December 21st @ 9 am ET
  • Friday, December 21st @ 3 pm ET
  • Saturday, December 22nd @ 12 pm ET
  • Saturday, December 22nd @ 6 pm ET
  • Sunday, December 23rd @ 10 am ET
  • Sunday, December 23rd @ 5 pm ET
  • Monday, December 24th @ 7 am ET
  • Monday, December 24th @ 2 pm ET
  • Tuesday, December 25th @ 6 am ET.
  • Tuesday, December 25th @ 11 am ET
  • Tuesday, December 25th @ 4 pm ET

Sunday, December 16, 2007

"Elmo's Christmas Countdown" Airs on Sunday, December 23rd!

Just a reminder that "Elmo's Christmas Countdown" will air on ABC next week - Sunday, December 23, 2007 at 7:00 pm (Eastern/Pacific).

Hosted by Stiller the Elf and his frosty sidekick, Stan the Snowball, "Elmo's Christmas Countdown" is a one-hour television spectacular starring all of your favorite Sesame Street characters - including Big Bird, Snuffy, Grover, Cookie Monster, Bert, Ernie, The Count, Oscar the Grouch, Prairie Dawn, The Three Bears, Abby Cadabby, Elmo and more.

A host of famous friends also help usher in the spirit of the season. The special features musical performances with Brad Paisley, Alicia Keys, Sheryl Crow, Jennifer Hudson, Anne Hathaway, Ty Pennington and Jamie Foxx. Steve Schirippa and Tony Sirico demonstrate their acting skills portraying everybody's favorite striped-shirt duo, Bert and Ernie. ABC News anchor Charles Gibson voices the reindeer news anchor, Charles Blitzen, Kevin James reveals a side of Santa Claus you've never seen before, and Ben stiller voices Stiller, the Muppet elf.

You won't want to miss this spectacular television event when it airs - so mark your calendar and program those VCRs and DVRs. "Elmo's Christmas Countdown" will air on ABC on Sunday, December 23rd! For more information visit ABC.com.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Muppets' Holiday Album Gets Grammy Nomination

CLICK TO ENLARGE

The nominees for the 50th annual Grammy Awards were announced last week by The Recording Academy. This year's awards, recognizing the best albums and recordings released between October 1, 2006 and September 30, 2007, will be presented on February 10, 2008 with the ceremony being televised live on CBS (check local listings for details).

The Muppets' most recent studio album, "A Green and Red Christmas" made the list of nominees for "Best Musical Album For Children"! "A Green and Red Christmas", was released on October 17, 2006 and features 12 outstanding holiday songs sung by everyone's favorite Muppets.

We wish the Muppets the best of luck and congratulate them on this exciting nomination. And if you haven't picked up this wonderful holiday album, be sure to get your hands a copy today!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Sesame Street's Gigantic Video Collection Now Online!

Sesame Workshop has launched a brand-spanking-new archive of hundreds of classic Sesame Street video clips at Video.SesameWorkshop.com. The site features the largest online collections of clips from the show. With segments, sketches and songs spanning the past 38 years, there is enough material here to keep Sesame fans entertained for quite a while.

The video collection is easy to search, full of all your favorite Sesame Street segments and is 100% free. So surf on over to Video.SesameWorkshop.com and enjoy hours upon hours of class Sesame Street fun – there is the "King of 8", tons of Kermit the Frog’s breaking Sesame Street News Flashes, Elmo's tricycle song, the Pinball Number Count, more than 100 Ernie and Bert bits, and so much more. There is something for everyone and tons to enjoy. Check out this exciting, comprehensive and amazing video archive today!

Go to the Videos Now!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Emmet Otter's Podcast Christmas

The Jim Henson Company is recently posted the latest installment of the official Henson.com podcast. In this segment Grant Baciocco shares an in-depth interview with Muppeteer Dave Goelz. Goelz talks about the heartwarming holiday film, Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas, the Jim Henson Company classic that celebrates it's 30th Anniversary this year. You can listen to the entire 15-minute interview in episode #20 of the Henson.com Podcast.

And our pal Steve Swanson over at The MuppetCast paid tribute to Emmet Otter this week with another spectacular episode of The MuppetCast. The latest episode includes music and memories from the classic 1977 special along with exclusive interviews with Matt Surowiec (the musician behind the outstanding Emmet Otter tribute CD) and Steve also has an tremendous interview with Muppeteer Dave Goelz – plus audio from Goelz’s appearance at an Emmet Otter screening in Columbus, Ohio. Steve crams a lot of content into this special installment of the ‘cast, so be sure to check out check out all the Emmet Otter exclusives and fun at MuppetCast.com.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Del's Vegas Comedy Binge

The Jim Henson Company’s Del Kastle, co-star of the 2006 Henson/TBS pilot "The Late Night Buffet", recently attended The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas to film exclusive webisodes for TBS.com. The hilarious series, entitled "Del's Vegas Comedy Binge", debuted on TBS.com this week. The show includes exclusive five-day coverage of the Comedy Festival by the renowned Delbert Kestle (performed by Bill Barretta).

Del chats with Wayne Newton, Frank Caliendo, Bill Engvall, and others as he cruises around the Vegas strip and the events of The 2007 Comedy Festival. This production, a part of the Henson Alternative brand, is only available at TBS.com. So surf over and check out these exciting webisodes today!

Watch "Del's Vegas Comedy Binge" Now!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

When Muppets Dream of Peace

Highlander Pictures is producing an all-new documentary, entitled "When Muppets Dream of Peace", which will focus on the development and production of "Sesame Stories", the renowned Israeli co-production of "Sesame Street".

Directed by David Van Taylor, the film aims to shed light on the making of the international Sesame production. "Sesame Stories" is a unique production that comprises of three parallel series geared toward Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian children, and is broadcast in Hebrew and Arabic. The cenral goal of the program is to teach tolerance and understanding.

The New York-based filmmaker traveled to the Middle East to capture behind-the-scenes footage of the making of the Sesame Workshop project from 2003 through 2005 for the project as well as conducting interviews with the puppeteers and show executives along with reactions from Israeli and Palestinian children, educators and leaders.

The one-hour film is set to debut on PBS in the fall of 2008.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Elmo Studies Opposites on Upcoming DVD

Sesame Workshop and Genius Products are planning to release a band-new DVD entitled "Elmo's World: Opposites" on February 5, 2008. This 54-minute DVD will feature three complete episode of "Elmo's World" dealing with the concept of opposites - feeling sad and happy, saying hello and goodbye, opening and closing things, and being tall versus being short. The DVD is starting to pop up around the web for pre-ordering and it is set to hit store shelves in early February. "Elmo's World" stars the loveable Muppet Elmo along with his goldfish Dorothy and his silent human friend Mr. Noodles. I will be sure to keep you posted with more information on this and other Sesame Street DVD titles as details become available.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Kermit Shops at the Wonder Emporium

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, which opens in theaters nation-wide today, not only stars some of Hollywood's most beloved actors - Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman, and Jason Bateman - but also features an acting cameo from the legendary Muppet icon Kermit the Frog.

Set in the fabulous toy store of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, customers of the store are greeted by the 243-year-old owner Mr. Magorium (played by Dustin Hoffman). Kermit (performed by Muppeteer Steve Whitmire) appears in one comical scene of the film as a loyal customer of Magorium's magical toy store.

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium is playing in theaters now, so be sure to check out this fun magical family film, and enjoy seeing Kermit the Frog back on the big screen.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Inflated Muppets Take Manhattan

Thanksgiving is just a week away and that means the 81st annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is just around the corner.

This years festivities will feature several Muppety items in the parade line-up. After a two-year absence, the gigantic Kermit the Frog balloon will be returning to the parade. At 78 feet long, 36 feet wide, 61 feet tall and filled with 11,000 cubic ft. of helium, Kermit makes a big green impression on the city skyline But Kermit won’t be the only Muppet traveling the parade route. Sesame Street's Abby Cadabby will be making her balloon debut in this year’s parade. Floating along the parade route, Abby will be the 4th Muppet to get a balloon in the world-famous parade – the other Muppets that have been honored with a balloon incarnation include Big Bird, Kermit the Frog, and Super Grover.

Also appearing in the parade this year is the renowned Sesame Street float. The float, appearing for its 11th consecutive year, will feature everyone's favorite Sesame Street Muppets and cast members along with plenty of music and entertainment for all to enjoy.

So be sure to tune in to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this year to catch all the Muppet magic and holiday fun. The parade airs Thanksgiving Day (November 22, 2007) on NBC from 9am to noon (check local listings for details).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Muppets Reign at TV DVD Awards

The winners of the 2007 TV-DVD Award have been announced. The awards recognize the best releases of TV shows on DVD in the past year. Studios submitted their top DVD titles for consideration in the 18 TV-DVD categories. The titles were then rated by expert judges, and their ratings were tallied. The top TV-DVD titles in each category were then listed on an online ballot and voted upon by consumers. After much calculation and deliberation, the winners were announced and the awards presented.

"The Muppet Show – Season 2" won two awards – one for "Best 1970s Television Show" and a second for "Best Children's Series" (although many Muppet fans will argue the show is not just for children). Additionally, "Fraggle Rock – Complete Third Season" won the award for "Best 1980s Television Show".

"Dinosaurs: The Complete Third and Fourth Seasons" was also nominated for "Best Children's Series" (but lost in the category to "The Muppet Show").

Previous TV-DVD Award winners include "Dinosaurs: The Complete First and Second Seasons" (2006 winner of "Best Children's Series"), "The Muppet Show: Season One" (2005 winner of "Best Children's Series") and "Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars" (2005 winner of "Best Miniseries").

Congratulations to all of the 2007 TV-DVD Award winners! Thanks to all the fans who voted for their favorite DVD, and a special thanks to the producers who made these great DVD products a reality for us to own and enjoy.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Announcing the First Muppet Fan Art Calendar Contest!

The Muppet Newsflash is proud to announce their first ever contest! We are calling all artists, of all abilities and styles, to submit their best Muppet fan art. We want to showcase the talents of Muppet fans around the world by creating the first ever Muppet Fan Art Calendar. 2008 is quickly approaching (there are just 50 days left in '07) and we want to create a calendar for the fans by the fans. The calendar, featuring twelve original fan creations, will be available for purchase online starting in January. Each month will feature artwork and graphics made by fans just like you.

So we are calling for all artists and graphic makers to submit their best Muppet-themed artwork. Images will be selected by a panel of expert judges, and the twelve most creative images will featured in the calendar. Art work can be based on The Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal or any other Jim Henson creation(s). All the nitty-gritty details for the contest can be found on the official 2008 Fan Art Calendar Contest page. We want this calendar to represent entire fan community, and encourage all artists of all ages and abilities to send in their personal creations.

Submissions must be submitted by December 31, 2007 at 11:59pm. You can submit pre-existing artwork that you've made – however all artwork must be your own creations. Please don't think you need to be Monet to submit a graphic or two, or three, or twelve to the contest. Send your submissions to gelflingwaldo@yahoo.com (be sure to put "Muppet Fan Art Calendar Contest" in the subject line).

The winners will be notified on January 1, 2008 and the calendar will become available sometime in the first week of January. We'll be sure to keep you all updated as the contest develops. So get your box of crayons and a sheet of construction paper (or whatever art medium you prefer to work in), or dig through your portfolio of existing creations, and send us your best Muppet art. Good luck!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Countdown to Sesame's Christmas Countdown!

Back in July it was announced that Sesame Workshop was planning a new holiday special entitled "Elmo's Christmas Countdown" for Christmas 2007. The one-hour television special, a musical holiday celebration, is currently slated to air on primetime network television just in time for Christmas.

Christmas finds itself in trouble when Stiller the Elf's magical Christmas Counter-Downer breaks down. It is now up to Elmo and Abby Cadabby to help find the missing parts and get the official countdown to Christmas back on track. Many special celebrity guests are said to appear in the giant musical extravaganza including Alicia Keys, Sheryl Crow, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, Brad Paisley, Ty Pennington, Anne Hathaway, Tony Sirico, Steve Schirripa, and Ben Stiller (as the voice of Stiller the Elf). "Elmo's Christmas Countdown" will also feature the beloved Sesame Street Muppets; including Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Big Bird, Grover, Oscar the Grouch, Snuffy, Count von Count, Bert, Ernie, Prairie Dawn, Baby Bear and many others.

The hour-long special, written by Joey Mazzarino and directed by Gary Halvorson, will air on ABC on Sunday, December 23, 2007 at 7:00 pm (Eastern/Pacific). Be sure to check your local listings for details.

I've also been told by sources at Sesame Workshop that a DVD release of the special is planned for next Christmas (tentitivly on the schedule for October 2008). The official announcement from Sesame Workshop and Genius Products for that product is expect to roll-out next fall with more information on the release.

You won't want to miss this spectacular holiday spectacular when it airs in December - so mark your calendar and program those VCRs and DVRs. "Elmo's Christmas Countdown" will air on ABC on December 23rd! I'll be sure to keep you updated with any other news on this exciting holiday special if any more details surface.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Someone's in the Kitchen with Kermit

Kermit the Frog is set to make a special TV appearance on the Food Network this Friday. Kermit will be appearing on a special Thanksgiving episode of "Paula's Party" which will air on November 9, 2007 at 9:00pm.

Kermit will be stopping by to help Paula deep-fry a pumpkin cake as part of her "Deep Fried Thanksgiving Party" special. So set your VCR or DVR, or just tune in to catch this special Muppet appearance; be sure to check your local listings or foodnetwork.com for details.

And don't worry if you miss it the first time, because the hour-long episode will re-air on the Food Network several times throughout the month; you can catch it again on November 10th at 12am and again at 2pm, November 11th at 1pm, November 20th at 9pm, and November 21st at 12am.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Kermit Helps "Deal or No Deal" go Green on Friday

Just a reminder... as reported earlier, Kermit the Frog will be appearing on the NBC game show "Deal or No Deal" this Friday (November 9th) at 8:00pm Eastern Standard Time (central time zone, you do the math).

Kermit will be appearing as part of NBC's "Green Week", in which a week of planet-friendly and environmentally-themed programs will flood the network's line-up.

Be sure to check your local listings for details. So set your VCR or program your TiVo -- or just tune in to catch this very special Muppet appearance.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Watch Tinseltown Online

If you missed the Jim Henson Company's new adult comedy series Tinseltown when it debuted as part of the Logo Network's Alien Boot Camp anthology series on Friday (or if you want to watch it again), the entire pilot is now online at AlienBootCamp.com! So be sure to surf on over and catch the entire pilot (for free). We would like to point out that Tinseltown is a part of the Henson Alternative brand and is probably not suitable for the younger viewers out there. You can jump directly to the episode by clicking here, and for more information on the cast, crew and production of Tinseltown check out our in-depth report right here. Once you watch the pilot be sure to let us know what you think in our new monthly poll (located in the right-hand column of this page) or by posting your comments here.

Watch Tinseltown here!

Writers' Strike May Affect the Muppets

As you may know, Hollywood writers went on strike today and producers have been forced to put many projects "on-hold" until the writers return. Hollywood has been shaken up as many television shows (from sitcoms and dramas to late night talk shows and specials) and many feature films are now unable to continue with production until the strike is settled. So what does this mean for the Muppets?

Well, writer, producer and comedian Hugh Fink is one of the many people working on that new "top-secret" Muppet project that you may have heard about. Fink mentioned his involvement in developing and writing the upcoming Muppet project during several interviews about the writers strike. While earlier rumors and insider sources have implied that we would see such a project surfacing sometime in the next year, Fink has mentioned that the writers strike will inevitably cause many in-development productions to be delayed and shuffled around, and (depending on the circumstantiates) some project may even wind up being canceled. Hopefully this Muppet project survives the strike and production continues once work resumes -- I've been told it is likely the project will be safe (if only a little delayed), however the length and total impact of the strike could always cause things to change. The Jim Henson Company previously mentioned that Disney was developing an "exciting" Muppet project back at Comic-Con back in July, Muppeteer Dave Goelz (and Gonzo) also publicly hinted at a big project in the works at an event back in June, and we've heard other rumblings of this project being in the works.

The Muppets, Jim Henson Company, Sesame Street and all of Hollywood will inevitably be affected by the strike - but hopefully the dispute is settled soon so production and development can resume on all the productions that we're waiting to see. I'll keep you posted as soon as soon any more information on this Muppet project surfaces or on how the strike will affect things in the Muppets.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Miss Piggy Shares Secrets for Wooing Men

Muppet diva Miss Piggy recently sat down to share some of her secrets on winning and wooing men with the world. Heat Magazine's HeatWorld.com posted an exclusive video from the pig yesterday. The clip is filled with helpful tips and priceless gems like "love means never having to say sorry" and why you shouldn't waste your time with "penniless twits". This video clip features a straight-talking pig and is filled with sincere and warm-hearted advice (although a little misguided). You can check out the video clip below, or surf over and catch it on Heatworld.com by clicking here.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Updates from Around the Web -- Podcasting in October

The web has been busy with new audio and video updates from all your favorite Muppet podcasts. Here's a quick update on all the major Muppet-related podcasts on the net.

The official Jim Henson Company podcast is continuing to run strong. In the latest installment of the podcast, Grant Baciocco shares his exclusive and in-depth interview with Bobby Vegan, the star of the upcoming Henson television series "Tinseltown". The 17-minute episode, which was posted yesterday, gives listeners an entertaining and informative look at the star of the new "Henson Alternative" television project. Other recent episodes of the podcast feature excerpts from the Jim Henson's Fantastic World panel discussion held at the Arkansas Arts Center and an exclusive chat with the Henson Company interns. You can check out the Henson.com podcast archives for all the past episodes – and be sure to subscribe to get all the lastest episodes as soon as they are posted (they seem to be appearing on a bi-weekly basis).

Sesame Workshop has been continuing their weekly video podcasts. This week's podcast features Zoe, Murray and Ellen Degeneres in a collection of clips focusing on the word "ballet". Earlier this month episodes focused on such words as "Pumpernickle", "lazy" and "dogs" and included such guests as Conan O'Brien and Rachel Ray. So be sure to subscribe to the podcast and check each Tuesday for a new video installment of the Sesame Street Podcast.

Aside from their podcast, earlier this month Sesame Workshop released some brand-new productions to iTunes as part of their "Learn Along with Sesame" series. Two brand-new half-hour specials were released - "Learning is Everywhere" and "The Get Healthy Now Show". Along with newly released "Panwapa", the collection holds 9 original videos (more than 4-hours of original content). Sesame Workshop also launched a Spanish translation of the collection entitled "Aprende con Sesame" earlier this month. All the videos in the "Learn Along with Sesame" collection are completely free (but international fans beware, these are only available via the US iTunes Store).

The Skrumps are also continuing to post new videos on Yahoo! Kids. In a new batch of videos Skrumpy has some fun with his hidden camera. Three new videos were added earlier this week, so be sure to check them out. You can also enjoy all of the great Skrump videos – from the cheeseburger incident and the origins of Grumblebelly to discussions of dreams and Raisin's hidden camera, there is a lot to enjoy (there are now more than 20 exclusive videos available for your viewing pleasure).

And our pal Steve Swanson over at The MuppetCast has been busy as well. Aside from launching a recently redesigned website, the show just posted its 28th episode on Sunday. Recent episodes have included interviews with puppet builder James Wojtal, and Palisades' action figure sculptor Bill Mancuso; plus outstanding audio from the panel discussion at this summer's "Muppets, Music & Magic" event in Long Island. Steve crams a lot of content into each weekly installment of the podcast, so be sure to check out check out all the fun going on in each episode over at MuppetCast.com.

Links

  • The Henson.com Podcast
  • The Sesame Street Podcast
  • "Learn Along with Sesame" on iTunes
  • "The Skumps" on Yahoo! Kids
  • The MuppetCast
  • Friday, October 26, 2007

    An Interview with TOKYOPOP's Tim Beedle

    Adding our collection of exclusive interviews, we are proud to present a special question-and-answer session with TOKYOPOP's editor Tim Beedle.

    Back in 2005, The Jim Henson Company announced that they were teaming up with TOKYOPOP to produce original graphic novels based on two of Henson's beloved fantasy films - The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. The first installment of the highly-anticipated "Return to Labyrinth" manga was released in last year, and the second volume hit stores earlier this month. The first volume of the "Legends of the Dark Crystal" series, entitled "The Garthim Wars", will be released on November 13th.

    Tim Beedle serves as the editor of both of these Henson-based manga series. Tim has been leading the team on "Legends of the Dark Crystal" since the beginning and he recently came to helm the "Return to Labyrinth" series as well. Tim was able to shares some great behind-the-scenes insights and gives readers a "sneak peak" at what they can expect to see in these graphic novels. You can find the interview in our article section, or you can jump to it directly via the link below.

    We would like to extend a great big "thank you" to Tim for taking the time to answer our questions and give the fans an inside "scoop" on these exciting extensions of the worlds of Jim Henson.

    - An interview with Tim Beedle -

    Tuesday, October 23, 2007

    Henson's "Tinseltown" Pilot is on Logo's Schedule

    Last week I gave you the full inside scoop on "Tinseltown", The Jim Henson Company's new adult-oriented sitcom staring Brian Henson, Bill Barratta, Mia Sara and Paul Butcher. Well, I am very happy to report that the pilot episode of this groundbreaking series is now on Logo’s schedule... and it will be airing next week!

    The "Tinseltown" pilot is currently set to premiere on Logo on Friday, November 2, 2007 (check your local listings for details) -- although there is no word yet on when more episodes will be airing. And for those without access to Logo on your TV, starting on Monday, November 5th, you'll be able to watch the entire pilot on Logos’ website AlienBootCamp.com.

    So there you go -- mark your calendars, and get ready to meet Bobby, Samson and the rest of the crazy characters living in Tinseltown. I will be sure to keep you updated with more on this exciting new Henson program as things develop.

    Monday, October 22, 2007

    Frog or No Frog

    Kermit the Frog is set to make a very special appearance on the hit NBC game show "Deal or No Deal". I've been told that Kermit's guest spot is currently set to air on Friday, November 9, 2007 at 8pm (check local listings for details). The world famous amphibian will appear alongside Howie Mandel as contestants are confronted with those infamous 26 sealed briefcases full of cash - ranging from a measly penny to $1 million.

    So mark you calendar, set that VCR or program your TiVo -- and be sure to tune in to catch this special Muppet appearance on "Deal or No Deal".

    Wednesday, October 17, 2007

    Tinseltown Show and Cast Information

    It has been almost a year since I first reported on "Tinseltown", a new television program from The Jim Henson Company. The series is part of the company's new Henson Alternative brand of adult-audience puppet projects. Henson fans have been craving more information on this project and I have been able to get some exclusive show and casting information from an insider connected to the project!

    As you may know, The Henson Company started shopping the project around in 2006 after producing a five-minute presentation tape for the project; and in July 2007 in was announced that the project was being produced for the Logo cable television network. The Jim Henson Company showed a sample of the project at the 2007 Comic-Con International convention in San Diego. The presentation was a big hit with the audience.

    The puppet sitcom centers around a homosexual couple - Bobby Vegan (a pig) and Samson Knight (a bull) – as they work to balance their careers, relationship, family and lives in Hollywood. Bobby is a struggling entertainer whose best days are probably behind him. He is a very outspoken individual, and occasionally finds himself in embarrassing situations due to reckless "self-medicating" to deal with stressful situations. Luckily, his understanding and supportive life-partner and soul mate Samson, who also happens to be Bobby's manager, is there for every storm. These two puppets also have family issues to deal with, as the couple has a 13-year-old human foster son named Foster. There are also issues with Lena, an ex-wife; and Arturo, a limo driver and masseuse. Everyone in the show is a real person except for Bobby and Samson – those two are puppets.

    This project continues Henson's long tradition of celebrating diversity with a talented cast and crew coming together to create a unique and entertaining groups of characters. Brain Henson and Bill Barretta are producing, writing, directing and staring in the series. Tinseltown is being produced by Henson and Barretta, along with Del Shores and Eric Poticha. Writers for the series include Henson, Barretta and Shores.

    Bill Barretta performs Bobby Vegan (with Michelan Sisti assisting); while Samson is brought to life by Brian Henson (with Drew Massey assisting). The role of the Lena, the ex-wife, is being played by Mia Sara ("Ferris Bueller’s Day Off", "Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story"); while Paul Butcher ("Zoey 101") is taking on the role of Foster; and Francesco Quinn ("Platoon") will be portraying Arturo. The puppet characters were designed by Gene Barretta and music for the series was composed by Jeff Sudakin.

    The series will be airing on Logo, a cable television channel from MTV Networks that focuses on gay and lesbian programming. If you don't get Logo where you live, you might want to contact your local cable or satellite provider and let them know you want it.

    And if you’re wondering why Henson decided to do a show about a male couple - Brian Henson joked at Comic-Con that one of the main reason was because he can't do female voices. The Jim Henson Company says they will be ready to announce the roll-out schedule for the show very soon; and more details on the series and its release are expected to accompany the official announcement. I’ll keep you posted as soon more details are released.

    Monday, October 15, 2007

    Muppet DVDs Sweep TV DVD Nominations - But Need Your Help to Win!

    The DVD sets of "The Muppet Show", "Fraggle Rock", "Dinosaurs" and the Muppet-filled first season of "Saturday Night Live" have all been honored with nominations in the fourth annual TV DVD Awards - but they'll need your help to win!

    The TV DVD Awards are a prestigious industry award honoring the best in television shows on DVD. A blue ribbon panel of judges rated each release of the past year; and has selected the slate of nominees based on their overall DVD treatment, including program content, bonus materials and packaging. More than 160 submissions were considered – with only the top four in each of 17 categories coming out on top.

    The ultimate winners of the award, however, are based on an online consumer vote. The polls opened today and will close on October 26th; the winners will be announced on November 12 during a big gala dinner and reception. So please, support the DVDs you love and take a few minutes to surf over to the voting site and rock vote!

    "Fraggle Rock: Complete Third Season" was nominated in the "Best 1980s Series" category. "The Muppet Show: Season 2" gained two nominations – one for "Best 1970s Series" and another for "Best Children's Series". Additionally, "Dinosaurs: The Complete Third and Fourth Seasons" was also nominated for "Best Children's Series" and "Saturday Night Live – The Complete First Season" was also nominated for "Best 1970s Series". For a full list of the categories and nominees check out the press release at TVShowsOnDVD.com.

    The TV DVD Awards are presented by Home Media Magazine in cooperation with TVShowsOnDVD.com, DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group and The Hollywood Reporter.

    So what are you waiting for? Go and support for your favorite Muppet and Henson DVDs. Go vote now!

    Go to the Voting Site!

    Wednesday, October 10, 2007

    Welcome to Panwapa Island!

    Earlier today Sesame Workshop launched a world-wide video initiative entitled Panwapa. The brand-new video program and support material aim to celebrate cultural diversity and build global understanding. Panwapa (which in the Tshiluba language means "here on this earth") aims to foster a foundation for global citizenship and community in children around the world. The new series features an original group of Muppet characters - including Azibo, Athena and Baabra.

    Gary E. Knell, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop, spoke of the new program stating: "Sesame Workshop has provided children with tools they need to reach their highest potential for over 37 years utilizing all forms of media. Panwapa is a groundbreaking program that will help children to develop an understanding of their culture, an appreciation for differences and similarities of others, and a passion for the people, issues and ideas that help to shape our world."

    Panwapa includes a full-length video staring the new Muppet characters of Panwapa Island. At the center of the Panwapa initiative is an interactive website located at Panwapa.com. Visitors can virtually travel the world, watch special Panwapa videos, build their multilingual vocabulary skills, collect Panwapa Cards, and explore cultures around the world.

    Also beginning today, the full Panwapa video program is being release through iTunes at no charge; and starting in January 2008 Panwapa will be available for free via PBS KIDS Sprout’s video-on-demand service. Additionally, a DVD of the Panwapa program along with supplement materials will be distributed in special educational kits to schools and other educational resource centers in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Jordan and Mexico. These kits include a Panwapa DVD, a companion magazine, a board game, and a specialized world map. All of Panwapa's content is (currently) being made available in Arabic, English, Japanese, Mandarin and Spanish.

    For more information check out Sesame Workshop's full press release and caregiver information page; and be sure to meet the Muppets of Panwapa Island at Panwapa.com.

    Tuesday, October 09, 2007

    Muppet Comic in Disney Adventures

    A while back it was reported that comic artist Roger Langridge was working on a Muppet comic strip for Disney Adventures Magazine. The strip was going to debut in December; however shortly after work began on the comic Disney announced that the entire magazine would be shutting down after the November 2007 issue.

    One of Langridge's Muppet comics has been released just before Disney Adventures shut their doors. The full-page comic spread features a somewhat poetic look at comedy act of the legendary Fozzie Bear. The Muppet strip can be found in the final issue of Disney Adventures (cover date "November 2007") which is on newsstands now. So you’ll want to be sure to check out the latest, and last, issue of Disney Adventures and enjoy Langridges's artful and endearing interpretation of the Muppet characters.

    Langridge had stated that he had completed three Muppet strips (a "Pigs in Space" adventure, an "At the Dance" scene and the Fozzie Bear comedy act) prior to the magazine, and the comics, getting the axe. It’s unknown if the public will ever get to see the remaining two strips, but I'll be sure to keep you updated if anything surfaces.

    Friday, October 05, 2007

    The Skrumps Caught on Hidden Camera

    The Skrumps stike back with three new videos on Yahoo! Kids. See what Raisins caught on her hidden camera - and then hear Skrumpy and Wishbone try to explain their side of the story. The three new videos were posted yesterday, so be sure to check out The Skrumps on Yahoo! Kids and enjoy all of the great Skrump videos (there are now 17 clips available). I’ll keep you posted with more news from Skrumpland as things develop.


    Visit The Skrumps on Yahoo! Kids

    Thursday, October 04, 2007

    Sesame Video to Aid Families of Injured Veterans

    Sesame Workshop announced plans today for their latest educational resource video production. The special video production, part of the "Talk, Listen, Connect" program, is designed to help military families in dealing with the serious issues that affect the children of injured military veterans.

    More than a million children have parents who are in the military and have been deployed in the last six years; and last year Sesame Workshop produced a special video designed to help military families coping with the strains of deployment. Today more than 18,000 military personnel in Iraq or Afghanistan have been wounded or injured seriously enough to be evacuated; and Sesame Workshop is aiming to give support to families that have to deal with these realities of military service.

    In the new production, Muppet monster Rosita struggles to cope when her father, Ricardo, comes home in a wheelchair. The video will feature Rosita and her parents; along with Elmo and his "military dad", Louie Monster.

    Sesame Workshop will distribute the video later this year to military families, and will also make the video resource available, for free, via the web.

    For more information on this project, and for a behind the scene sneek-peek of the filming, check out this Associated Press video report (courtesy of Yahoo! News). I'll keep you updated as more information on this, and other Sesame Street projects, surface.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    Kermit Hosts a Block of Classic Films

    According to a recent TCM press release, Turner Classic Movies’s "Guest Programmer" series, which regularly airs one night each month on TCM, is going to take over the entire month of November. The series, in which celebrities present a block of their favorite films, will run all November and give 29 celebrities the chance to introduce and discuss their favorite movies with TCM’s Robert Osborne. Among the star-studded list of celebrities sitting down with Osborne to present their favorite films are Whoopi Goldberg, Rose McGowan, Donald Trump, Danny DeVito, Matt Groening, Tracy Ullman, Alec Baldwin, Harvey Fierstein, Martha Stewart, and Kermit the Frog.

    Kermit the Frog will host a collection of films on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 on TCM. The event begins at 8:00 pm and lasts until 3:45am – with Kermit presenting four classic films. Kermit’s selections include "Singin' in the Rain" (8pm), "The Band Wagon" (10pm), "Cyrano de Bergerac" (12am) and "Lassie Come Home" (2am).

    So be sure to mark those calendars and catch Kermit as he presents and discusses these classic films on TCM.

    A special thanks to Heather Lawrence for sending us the press release.

    Saturday, September 22, 2007

    History of the American Puppet on DVD

    Howdy Doody, Charlie McCarthy, Lamb Chop, Kermit, Jerry Mahoney, and Kukla, Fran, and Ollie. These are some of the most notable names in entertainment; they are some of the most endearing characters, beloved by millions - and they are all puppets! Now you can rediscover the fascinating and colorful history of puppetry in America in the wonderful documentary "Stories of The American Puppet," available on DVD everywhere on October 16, 2007.

    "Stories of The American Puppet" traces the evolution and popularity of puppets in America entertainment. The hour-long program was originally broadcast on PBS in 2001 and won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing. Now the special is being presented on DVD along with some exclusive added features.

    "Stories of The American Puppet" brings the story of American puppetry to life through archival film, rare photographs, historical reenactments, insightful interviews, and in depth profiles of some of the most influential puppeteers of the 20th century, including Jim Henson, Shari Lewis, Paul Winchell and Edgar Bergen. This documentary chronicles puppetry evolution from the 18th-century street puppets of Punch & Judy to the modern television Muppets, highlighting many of the puppeteer masters and classic characters that have shaped American culture.

    But even if you caught the special when it first aired in 2001, you’ll still want to check out this release as the DVD holds over 41-minutes of extra footage not shown in the documentary. The DVD presents many of the archival puppet performances in their entirety, plus extended interviews and other extra footage in the bonus features section.

    If you are interested in the history or puppetry in America, you definitely want to check out this DVD. You can order your copy right now from Amazon.com for only $17.99.

    A special thanks to Chris Stulz for alerting us of this release.

    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    Sesame Street Launches Official Video Podcast!

    Sesame Workshop launched a brand-new video podcast today, appropriately titled "The Sesame Street Podcast". The weekly video podcast is now available via iTunes or Sesame Workshop’s website.

    "The Sesame Street Podcast" is a series of free 5-minute episodes focusing on listening, reading comprehension, vocabulary building and problem solving. Each 5-minute video features content newly created and assembled for the podcast and are said to feature scenes from current and past Sesame Street seasons, as well as animation, live action films and other inserts.

    In keeping with Sesame Street’s focus on literacy and vocabulary, the first batch of podcast episodes are set to feature new extended versions of the "What's the Word on the Street?" segments in which people and animals introduce and define the week’s "Word on the Street." The first episode is all about "squids".

    The podcast exemplifies how Sesame Workshop continues to use the power of modern media as a way to enhance a child’s learning experience and bring education and entertainment to people around the world. You can watch the first episode of the podcast, and subscribe to get future episodes at the iTune store (for free) or via Sesame Workshop’s official podcast website. And be sure to check next week for another exciting installment of the official Sesame Street video podcast.

    Visit The Sesame Street Podcast website

    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    The Skrumps Shed Light on the Cheeseburger Incident!

    The Skrumps are back with three new video-blog entries on Yahoo! Kids. Now you can find out exactly what happened last night at Scrap’s Deli as all three Skrumps – Raisins, Skrumpy and Wishbone - each present their side of the story. The three new videos explaining the now-infamous "Cheeseburge Incident" were posted yesterday on Yahoo! Kids. Be sure to check out The Skrumps on Yahoo! Kids and enjoy all of the great Skrump videos (there are 14 exclusive clips currently available). I’ll keep you posted with all the news from Skrumpland as things develop.


    Visit The Skrumps on Yahoo! Kids

    Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    Henson to Produce More Webshows

    As I reported yesterday, The Jim Henson Company is teaming up with Warner Bros. to launch a new webseries named "S.U.D.S." (or "The Simian Undercover Detective Squad"). Along with this project, I said Henson was also developing other series for Warner Bros., and now details have surfaced on what we can expect to see with these two other series.

    Henson is also developing a comedy series in the vein of "Big Brother" or "The Real World". The mock-reality show would feature an all-puppet casts in various reality TV spoofs.

    The third web show Henson is planning to produce is a series presentation of the campany’s “Puppet Up! Uncensored” improv show. The company is working to translate the stage show into a full-fledged series for online audiences.

    All three of these projects are being created exclusively for Warner Bros and will distributed using the RealNetworks' SuperPass service – a subscription based service that provides premium programming, full-length movies, music downloads and other exclusive media.

    I’ll be sure to keep you updated as more information these three exciting new webshows surface.

    Monday, September 10, 2007

    Henson Dispatches a Squad of Monkey Detectives to the Web

    Warner Bros. announced big plans today to launch a service to provide original video programming on the web. The studio is lined up to create 24 new web productions – including mini-movies, talk shows, comedies series, science fiction programs and original animation. The productions on this slate of web shows are already entering production and are expected to hit the web in the coming year. Some of these original productions are coming from the creative minds of the Jim Henson Company.

    A puppet comedy series for adults called "S.U.D.S." (which stands for "The Simian Undercover Detective Squad")" will follow a group of ape investigators. The comedic and irreverent detective series is being produced by the Jim Henson Company as a part of their new “Henson Alternative” brand of adult comedy productions. "S.U.D.S." is just one of the new webseries that Warner Bros. will be using to launch their new digital entertainment - rumor has it that Henson is also working to develop two other projects for the studio (however details have surfaced on these yet). RealNetworks has already agreed to distribute the Jim Henson projects on the web for Warner Bros.

    No other details have been released on this project yet, but I’ll be sure to keep you updated.

    Henson Podcasts Shares Comic-Con Q&A

    The Jim Henson Company has released yet great another installment of the Henson.com podcast today. This episode shares 15-minutes of audio from the Jim Henson Company’s question-and-answer session at the 2007 Comic Con International convention held in San Diego in July. The pane talk about "The Skrumps", the Henson Digital Performance Studio, "Puppet Up!", the future of puppets and animatronics in the face of computer animation, "Power of the Dark Crystal" and even poop. Brian Henson, Lisa Henson, John Chandler, Halle Stanford, Patrick Bristow, Julianne Buescher and Piddles answered questions asked by select members of the audience. There was one question answered by Henson that hinted at an exciting Muppet project and gave a reassuring update on "Power of the Dark Crystal" (which, after several production delays, is now set for release in 2009).

    "...All of this is cloaked in secrecy. Actually the Disney team that is working on the Muppets does have a really great project that we can’t talk about. So there is something good coming along, but we can’t tell you. And the same thing is true with 'The Dark Crystal'. Fans of 'The Dark Crystal' did detect that we were moving a little slowly, and it’s kind of true - we had a little setback but are back on track. The movie will not be coming out until 2009 so we’re not going to be showing anything for a while..."

    Fans may be excited to hear more hinting at a big Muppet project in the works. Back in June Muppeteer Dave Goelz (with the help of Gonzo) also hinted at "a really cool project" coming sometime in the next year. And while Henson has confirmed that the release of "Power of the Dark Crystal" has been delayed since their initial announcement, it’s reassuring to hear the company let us know it’s still coming.

    You can listen to the entire podcast by clicking here. And I’ll be sure to keep you updated as things develop on all the exciting projects.

    Friday, September 07, 2007

    Henson's Fantastic World Opens in Arkansas

    "Jim Henson’s Fantastic World", an exciting new traveling exhibit, opened today at the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. The exhibit gives an in-depth look at the imagination and creations of Jim Henson. Assembled by The Jim Henson Legacy and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, "Jim Henson’s Fantastic World" is making the Arkansas Arts Center its initial stop before continuing on a four-year national tour.

    "Jim Henson’s Fantastic World" is the most comprehensive Henson exhibit to date. The exhibit is filled with original puppets, drawings, props, artwork, storyboards, photographs, videos and other rare artifacts from the Jim Henson archives.

    After exploring the "Jim Henson’s Fantastic World" exhibit, visitors of the Arkansas Arts Center will also get a chance to try puppetry first hand. On Saturdays and Sundays during the stay of "Jim Henson’s Fantastic World’s", professional puppeteers will be on site teaching performance techniques and leading impromptu puppet shows.

    Also in conjunction with the "Jim Henson’s Fantastic World" display, Little Rock’s Market Street Cinema is hosting a Jim Henson Film Festival. Three films are to be shown on the big screen throughout October: "The Dark Crystal" (on October 11th at 7pm), "The Muppet Movie" (on October 18th at 7pm) and "Labyrinth" (on October 25th at 7pm).

    The "Jim Henson’s Fantastic World" exhibit will be in Arkansas until November 25th, before heading to the Arizona Museum for Youth in Mesa, Arizona (where it will open on December 15th). For more information on the Arkansas Arts Center visit their website at ArkArts.com; and be sure to check out this page for the exhibit’s complete tour schedule.

    Thursday, September 06, 2007

    Fraggle Rockin' CD Details

    Last month I told you about "The Fraggle Rockin’ Collection", an upcoming CD set filled with the best music from Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock. Well, I got an exclusive scoop with all the details you're looking for. This 3-Disc collector’s edition set will contains all three original "Fraggle Rock" albums - wonderfully restored, remastered and packed into a single box set. The set includes more than 50 song from the series along with special liner notes featuring rarely seen photos, contributions from the original composers and even sheet music for select songs.

    "The Fraggle Rockin’ Collection" will be released on October 30, 2007, but it's already available to pre-order online. Below is a copy of the complete track listing for the collection as provided to me by KOCH Records. You won't want to miss this collection (as there's no better way to dance your cares away).

    Disc 1: Fraggle Rock
    1. Fraggle Rock Theme
    2. Follow Me
    3. Convincing John
    4. Doozer Knitting Song
    5. Do It On My Own
    6. Wemblin’ Fool
    7. Why?
    8. Lost and Found
    9. Catch the Tail by the Tiger
    10. Brave Boy, Jump Up
    11. Muck and Goo
    12. Friendship Song
    13. Fraggle Rock Rock
    14. Beetle Song
    15. Easy is the Only Way to Go
    16. Our Melody

    Disc 2: Perfect Harmony
    1. Fraggle Rock Theme
    2. Go with the Flow
    3. Perfect Harmony
    4. Without a Hat
    5. Music Box
    6. Here to There
    7. Sail Away
    8. Workin’
    9. Dum De Dum
    10. Ragtime Queen
    11. I Seen Troubles
    12. Dreaming of Someone
    13. Pantry Chant
    14. Helping Hand
    15. Time to Live as One
    16. Closing Theme

    Disc 3: Music & Magic
    1. Fraggle Rock Theme
    2. Pukka, Pukka, Pukka Squeetily Boink
    3. Let Me Be Your Song
    4. Wemblin’ Fool
    5. Yes, We Can
    6. Catch the Tail by the Tiger
    7. There’s a Lot I Want to Know
    8. Follow Me
    9. Friends Till the End
    10. Is It True?
    11. The Rock Goes On
    12. Pass It On
    13. Just Don’t Know What Time It Is
    14. Convincing John
    15. Get Goin’
    16. Doozer Knitting Song
    17. The Way I’ve Got To Go
    18. Only Way Home
    19. Stuff Samba
    20. Sweet, Sweet Little Treat
    21. Closing Theme

    Wednesday, September 05, 2007

    Henson Prepares to Ask "What's the Big Idea?"

    Continuing their long line of successful preschool and family programming, The Jim Henson Company has announced a partnership with PBS’ KCET to produce a new educational television series entitled "What's the Big Idea?". The digital-puppetry series, which is set to debut on PBS KIDS in 2008, is designed to promote science readiness by building on kids' instinctive curiosity about the world around them.

    "What's the Big Idea?" will use a sketch-comedy format to teach lessons in science and discovery. The program will feature the adventures of Josh, an inquisitive youngster who tackles the everyday ideas that preschoolers find fascinating (like where garbage goes, how does a drinking straw works, why bananas go bad, how birds fly and even why we sneeze).

    Forty half-hour episodes of the series have been ordered. Production is said to begin later this fall, and the show is already scheduled to premiere on PBS KIDS in 2008. The program will be created using the Henson Digital Performance Studio, a revolutionary system that allows puppeteers to perform digital characters in real time. "What's the Big Idea?" will be executive produced by Brian Henson, Lisa Henson and Halle Stanford of The Jim Henson Company along with Mary Mazur of KCET. Additionally, the Jim Henson Company will be handling all supplementary development of the property including licensing, video distribution and merchandising.

    I’ll be sure to keep you updated with the development and release of this exciting new Henson series.

    Monday, September 03, 2007

    Dreaming Skrumps

    The Jim Henson Company just released a third batch of Skrumps videos on Yahoo! Kids last week. The videos, three new video blogs from Wishbone, Skrumpy and Raisins, showcase the characters as they discuss their goals and dreams. Henson showcased the first videos of The Skrumps back in January; and they followed-up with the release of several more videos in July. This is the third installment of Skrump videos, and Henson says more are on the way. So be sure to surf on over to The Skrumps on Yahoo! Kids and enjoy all 11 videos (plus check out the e-cards, wallpapers and other Skrump-tastic goodies). As always, I’ll be sure to keep you updated as things develop with the Skrumps and other Henson projects.


    Visit The Skrumps on Yahoo! Kids

    Sunday, September 02, 2007

    "Legends of the Dark Crystal" Details


    As reported earlier, the first installment in the highly anticipated "Legends of the Dark Crystal" series will be released later this year. The graphic novel, entitled "Legends of the Dark Crystal #1: The Garthim Wars", is expected to hit store shelves on November 13, 2007.

    The story takes place nearly 100 years before "The Dark Crystal", at a time when the gentle Gelflings and wise Mystics are still thriving - and so, unfortunately, are the evil Skekses.

    The 192-page graphic novel is already available to pre-order from many online retailers, with a list price of $9.99. I also have the updated cover art for the release here (which differs from the original temporary artwork shown last year).

    Details on the second and third volumes have not been released yet, however two more installments are planned to follow. I’ll keep you posted with details on the future of "Legends of the Dark Crystal" as information is released.

    "Return to Labyrinth: Volume 2" Details

    As many of you may be aware, the second installment in the "Return to Labyrinth" series is expected to hit store shelves on October 9, 2007. Aside from just sharing the cover art for “Volume 2” with you, I've also been given a copy of the official book summary for volume 2 (spoiler warning!).

    Return to Labyrinth: Volume 2
    Still reeling from the announcement that Jareth has handed over control of the Labyrinth to Toby, the Goblin Kingdom is in an uproar. Panjan Spittledrum, the Goblin Mayor, had assumed that he would be Jareth's successor, as had the coldly beautiful Mizumi, Queen of the Moraine Kingdom. Both vow to assist Toby in his preparation for assuming the Goblin throne, but can such a power-hungry pair be trusted?

    The 192-page graphic novel is already available to pre-order from many online retailers, with a list price of only $9.99. Details on the third, and final, volume have not been released yet, but I’ll be sure to keep you posted as I get more information.

    Saturday, September 01, 2007

    Henson.com Gets a Makeover

    It looks like The Muppet Newsflash isn’t the only Henson-related web site to get a face-lift this weekend. The Jim Henson Company’s official website, located at Henson.com, also got a major overhaul. Check out the brand new design and features over at Henson.com.

    There is information on many Henson project – Puppet Up!, The Skrumps, Tinseltown, Jim Henson Designs, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth mangas and Anniversary Edition DVDs, and more. The Jim Henson podcast is also still up and running (and now you can send in your questions to be answered in future installments). Be sure to check out all the fun over at the new and improved Henson.com – and it looks like even more things will be coming to the site soon.


    Visit Henson.com Now!

    Friday, August 31, 2007

    The Muppet Newsflash 2.0

    If you are a regular visitor of "The Muppet Newsflash", then you should notice things look a bit different around here. As part of the ongoing effort to make "The Muppet Newsflash" better, the site has gotten a bit of a face-lift. There are new features, new menus, a new layout, and even a new color scheme. There has also been a lot of upgrading "behind the scenes", which should allow the blog to run better and you should find things even more efficient and easy to use.

    So feel free to browse around – we have several convenient links in the navigation bar located at the top of the page (right below the picture of Kermit). We also have a new "Coming Soon" listing on the side bar so you can keep up with all the upcoming merchandise. And we are running a visitor poll (and will get a new one each month) which allows you to vote on very important issues (this month is a battle of the Fraggles, as we ask you which Fraggle is your favorite). There are a lot of other goodies included in the upgrade (and more to come) so look around and be sure to keep checking back.

    If you have any comments, questions, concerns, or ideas that you would like to share about the site, please let me know – I would love to hear from you. So please feel free to post a comment on this news item or just drop me an e-mail. This site is here to serve you, so let me know what you want and how I’m doing. I always love to get reader feedback. Also, if for whatever reason any aspect of new site isn’t working or appearing properly in your browser, please let us know so we can address any problems that may have been overlooked during the upgrade.

    And, as always, more great Muppet news is on the way.

    Tuesday, August 28, 2007

    Muppet Appearances on DVD

    A couple of Muppet guest appearances are coming to DVD.

    "The Cosby Show: Season Six" will be released on November 6, 2007. The 3-disc set will include the Muppet-filled episode "Cliff's Nightmare," which originally aired on January 11, 1990. The episode features appearances by the cast of The Jim Henson Hour. The episode, which revolves around Cliff’s bizarre nightmare, includes the Muppets taking over the hospital where Cliff works. Cliff doesn’t quite understand what a Hypoctiric Oaf is, Leon swindles Cliff into purchasing an "elevator pass", Gonzo assists Cliff in a Koozbanian birthing (while being heckled by two old guys in a balcony), Digit attempts to operate on Cliff and the food in the refrigerator literally talks back.

    "Saturday Night Live: The Complete Second Season" is coming to DVD as well. The first season of SNL has the regular appearance of the Muppets in the recurring Land of Gorch sketches. However by season two Jim Henson and the Muppets had moved on to bigger and better things and were no longer part of the cast - however the Muppets made one final appearance on SNL in the season two premiere. In the final Gorch appearance, the Muppets wake up to find themselves discarded in the studio’s filing cabinets. They assume that they must be in the afterlife and are surprised to find that they didn't make it to season two. Lily Tomlin joins the Muppets to sing "I Whistle a Happy Tune" (however the Muppets can't whistle); and The Muppets appear one last time to join everyone in "The Antler Dance" as the end of the show. The 8-disc set is said to include all the season two episodes complete and uncut, and will be released on December 4, 2007.

    These titles might not have enough Muppet stuff for you to justify adding them to your collection (unless you are also a Cosby or SNL fan) – but you may want to consider renting these once they get out (especially if you haven’t seen these appearances before).