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.