Tuesday, September 30, 2008

2009 Calendars are Here!

With just about three months (92 days) left in 2008, isn't it time you start thinking about how you're going to keep your days straight in 2009? The 2009 calendars start hitting stores, so it is only prudent that you decided which one (or ones) you're going to get now. There are two Muppet-related calendars coming out for 2009; and with price-tags only around $15 you might want to just scoop them both up.

The first calendar is The Muppets' official 2009 wall calendar. Each month of this 2009 calendar features a different Muppet photos with bright and colors and designs. The calendar measures standard wall-calendar size (12" x 24") and is sure to brighten up the wall of any room. The calendar is being produced by Danilo and Muppet Studios and is retailing for just around $14.99.

The other Muppet calendar to be on the look out for is the 2009 Fraggle Rock wall calendar. Gobo, Mokey, Wembley, Boober, Red, the Doozers, the Gorgs and all your other favorite Fraggle character don the pages of this exciting wall calendar. The calendar measures standard wall-calendar size (12" x 24") and is being produced by MeadWestvaco and the Jim Henson Company.

So although 2008 isn't over yet, it's not too early to buy your Muppet calendars. I'll keep you posted with information on any other Muppet calendars or merchandise as I get it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Miss Piggy to Visit "The View" on Wednesday!

Miss Piggy, the fabulous and feminine Muppet star, is scheduled to make a special guest appearance on ABC's "The View" on Wednesday, October 1, 2008! Hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sherri Shepherd and Barbara Walters, "The View" airs weekdays on ABC (check your local listings for details).

Miss Piggy is scheduled to appear on Wednesday's installment of the daytime talk show along with Peter Krause and Diahann Carroll. You won't want to miss this special appearance, so mark your calendars and be sure to tune in to catch everyone's favorite Muppet diva when she appears along side the ladies of "The View" on Wednesday, October 1st.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

"Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas" Stage Musical Update!

As previously reported, Goodspeed Musicals, in association with The Jim Henson Company, is planning to premiere an all-new stage musical based on "Jim Henson's Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas". The show is set to run from December 7, 2008, through January 4, 2009, at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut.

With a cast of nineteen exceptional performers, the show will feature a unique mix of live actors and stage puppets created by The Jim Henson Company. The original stage show will also feature several new and extended songs by Paul Williams, songwriter for the original 1977 television special.

This musical was adapted for the stage by Tim McDonald and Christopher Gattelli; and is being directed and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli. Michael P. Price is serving as producer for this new stage version of Emmet Otter’s Jug-band Christmas which is being produced in association with The Jim Henson Company under the guidance of Brian Henson.

Tickets are now on sale for this exciting new show -- to reserve your tickets, call the Godspeed box office at 860.873.8668 or visit their online ticket office at goodspeed.org. With only 34 shows this holiday season, tickets are sure to go fast - so be sure to reserve yours today!

You can listen to exclusive sneek-peaks of two of the original songs composed by Paul Williams for the stage version of "Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas" below. These videos feature two new songs, sung by the composer, along with some of the preliminary character sketches made by costume designer Gregg Barnes.

Check out our exclusive sneak-peaks of some of the show's all-new original songs by Paul Williams below. You can enjoy the original demos of these new songs, sung by the composer, while viewing some of the preliminary character/costume sketches made by costume designer Gregg Barnes.

Goodspeed says that they hope that this show will become an enduring holiday tradition for the Opera House, and I will be sure to keep you updated as more information on this exciting new production develops.


"Keep Dreaming Alice"

Friday, September 26, 2008

Statler & Waldorf Get Political

Statler and Waldorf, the Muppet's beloved curmudgeons, are getting a political. The duo recently shared their thoughts on the upcoming Presidental debates in a brand-new Op-Art piece created exclusively for the New York Times. The piece, entitled "Puppet Government", was published in today's edition of the Times (both in print and online) and can also be seen below.

(Click to Enlarge)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Nathan Lane Joins "Letters to Santa"

NBC has announced yet another star set to appear in "A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa", the previously announced Muppet holiday special planned to debut in December.

Nathan Lane (The Birdcage, The Producers) will appear alongside the Muppets as Officer Meany, a bitter airport security guard. Lane joins the special's already impressive list of celebrity stars -- the roster already includes Whoopi Goldberg, Uma Thurman, Jesse L. Martin, Jane Krakowski, Tony Sirico, Steve Schirripa, Richard Griffiths, Petra Nemcova, Madison Pettis and New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg. Songwriter Paul Williams is also said to appear in a cameo as one of Santa's elves. For more information on the cast and the story, be sure to check out our special "Letters to Santa" page (warning: spoilers abound!)

"Letters to Santa" is being directed by Muppet veteran Kirk Thatcher; and the original teleplay for the special was written by Hugh Fink, Scott Ganz, Andrew Samson and Paul Williams. This all-new one-hour special will be filled with song and dance - featuring four original songs by Paul Williams (songwriter on "Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas", "The Muppet Movie", and "The Muppet Christmas Carol").

This exciting television event is planned to air on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 8:00PM (ET) on NBC (check local listings for details). And, as always, I will be sure to keep you updated as more details on this exciting new project become available.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Muppet Whatnot Workshop Comes to FAO Schwartz

FAO Schwartz has partnered with Muppet Studios to provide a unique Muppet experience at their New York store! FAO Schwarz will soon open the doors to The Muppet Whatnot Workshop at its legendary flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York. The workshop experience, similar to that of the popular Build-a-Bear franchise, will allow customers to create their very own Muppet Whatnot. Customers will be able to pick a body from various styles; then accessorize it with a huge variety of Muppet parts, accessories and apparel.

For the first time ever, fans will be able to create and take home their very own custom Muppet Whatnot. Whatnots, the long-customary faction of generic extras seen in Muppet productions, are highly customizable creatures with a huge catalog of unique features and accessories. These premium puppets (retailing at around $100) will be classic hand-rod puppets, just like the real Whatnots, in which one hand goes inside the head of the puppet while the other manipulates rods connected to the puppet’s arms. In addition to the in-store experience, creations in the line are also planned to eventually be available via FAO Schwarz’s official website (www.fao.com).

FAO Schwarz is working hard to bring this unique Muppet experience to consumers, and I’ve been told that they plan to raise the curtain on The Muppet Whatnot Workshop this fall (possibly as early as late-October 2008). I will be sure to keep you updated on this exciting new boutique as soon as more details are confirmed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Farscape Comics Come in November

Ever since the announcement that BOOM! Studios would be producing a series of "Farscape" comics, anticipation has been high among fans. The first issue, and part of an initial four-part miniseries, is slated for release in November 2008.

The comics will picks up immediately where the "Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars" television miniseries left off. The story contained in the initial four-part miniseries focuses on Crichton and Aeryn and their newborn son, as well as those characters who stayed aboard Moya. It has also been said that fan will be able to witness Rygel's return to Hyneria as he attempts to reclaim his throne.

Rockne O'Bannon (creator of "Farscape") is helming the storytelling duties for the comic continuationn, while "Farscape" novelist Keith R.A. DeCandido is scripting out O'Bannon's plots and Tommy Patterson is handeling the artwork. O'Bannon has stated that he is treating the comics as if it were "the next season of the series."

I will be sure to keep you updated with more information on these upcoming comic books as soon as more details become available.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Disney's "Wiz-tober" Includes the Muppets' Wizardly Film

Disney Channel is planning to air "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" next month as part of their month-long "Wiz-tober" celebration. "Wiz-tober", the network's month-long Halloween programing ploy, will be hosted nightly by the cast of Disney Channel's hit sitcome "Wizards of Waverly Place" (Selena Gomez, David Henrie, Jake T. Austin and Jennifer Stone). Each night of "Wiz-tober" will feature an original wizardly, witchly or magical-themed movie or special.

"The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" is planned to air on Disney Channel as part of "Wiz-tober" on Wednesday, October 8, 2008 at 8:00PM -- check your local listings for details.

"The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" first debuted on ABC in May 2005. The original tele-film features an irreverent re-telling of the classic L. Frank Baum novel with Kermit the Frog as the Scarecrow, Gonzo as the Tin Thing, Fozzie Bear as the Lion, Pepe the King Prawn as Toto, and Miss Piggy as all four witches. The film also features an all-star human cast, including Ashanti (as Dorothy), Queen Latifah (as Aunt Em), David Alan Grier (as Uncle Henry), and Jeffrey Tambor (as the Wizard).

Additionally, as previously announced, The Muppets will be appearing on Dinsey Channel in an all-new television special just three days before the network's October airing of "Oz". Disney Channel is also planning to debut an all-new "Studio DC" special starring the Muppets on Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 8:00pm.

So be sure to mark your calendars and tune in for all the Muppety fun coming to Dinsey Channel this fall. I will keep you updated as more information regarding any special Muppet TV airings as things develop.

Friday, September 19, 2008

More Stars Join the Muppets for "Letters to Santa"

Uma Thurman (Kill Bill, The Producers) and Jesse L. Martin (Law & Order, Rent) are joining the cast of "Letters to Santa: A Muppets Christmas", the previously announced Muppet holiday special planned to debut in December.

When the Muppets advert three letters on their way to Santa Claus, Kermit and the gang set off to make things right. Thurman will appear in the special as Joy, a North Pole Airlines ticket clerk (and Santa's personal flight attendant); while Martin is said to be playing a postal worker who stars in the special's opening scene, performing a gigantic song and dance number with the Muppets.

Other Celebrities already announced to appear in the special include Whoopi Goldberg, Richard Griffiths, Jane Krakowski, Tony Sirico, Steve Schirripa, Petra Nemcova, Madison Pettis and Mike Bloomberg.

"Letters to Santa", the latest production from Disney's Muppets Studios, is being directed by Muppet veteran Kirk Thatcher from a teleplay by Hugh Fink, Scott Ganz, Andrew Samson and Paul Williams. The musical special will also feature four original songs by Paul Williams (songwriter on "Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas", "The Muppet Movie", and "The Muppet Christmas Carol").

This one-hour television event is planned to air on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 8:00PM (ET) on NBC (check local listings for details). I will be sure to keep you updated as even more details on this very exciting new project become available.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Oscar the Grouch Helps Cut Trash in Canada

Today, Sesame Street's beloved Oscar the Grouch was announced as the new spokes-Muppet for Canada's Waste Reduction Week. The garbage-loving Muppet has teamed up with the Waste Reduction Week program to promote its 'waste-free' goals and appeal to children and adults alike through a media campaign running in Canada from October 19-25, 2008.

Oscar will help encourage families to participate in Waste Reduction Week through two original television ads, special promotional posters and a public relations campaign. Canada's 8th annual Waste Reduction Week is developed and run by a coalition of waste reduction and conservation organizations from across Canada.

Hunter Heller (Sesame Workshop's Assistant Vice President of International Licensing) commented on the partnership saying, "Even Oscar can suppress his grouchiness to help support the important mission of Waste Reduction Week in Canada, Sesame Workshop has long been committed to teaching children of all ages how to respect and better appreciate the environment and we think no other grouch can do it better than Oscar, the original 'green' Muppet?."

The Waste Reduction Week program urges Canadians to do their part by reducing, reusing and recycling in every aspect of their lives - at home, school and work. The all-new public service announcements starring Oscar the Grouch will debut in Canada later this week -- but you can check them out right now below.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Henson Moving Forward with "Dinosaur Train" and "The Skumps"

Following in the recent footsteps of "Sid the Science Kid", "Unstable Fables" and "Frances", The Jim Henson Company has announced two new CG series currently in development within the company - "Dinosaur Train" and "The Skrumps".

"Dinosaur Train", an animated series created by Craig Bartlett, has already secured a tentative television deal with PBS Kids with 26 half-hour episodes currently in development. The animated series focuses on Buddy, a preschool-age Tyrannosaurus who is rescued and hatched by a Pteranodon. Buddy soon realizes that he is different than his siblings; and in response to Buddy's enthusiasm to learn more about himself and other dinosaurs, his adoptive mother takes her children on educational adventures to meet different types of dinosaurs and learn about these incredible creatures. The family rides a dinosaur-run train that travels through magical tunnels that lead to different prehistoric eras. The series' curriculum and content is being developed with input from paleontologists, scientists and education experts, and is being designed to help build interest in life science and natural history.

Also on Henson's developmental line-up is "The Skrumps", the original digital-puppetry series based on characters created by John Chandler. Henson first launched the franchise and characters in 2007 with a collection short webisodes on Yahoo! Kids, and interest in the property has been growing ever since. The Company is currently working on two long-form direct-to-DVD films featuring the characters; and Henson is also looking for partners to put together a television series featuring the characters. The Skrumps are brought to life using the Henson Digital Puppetry Studio (the same technology used on "Jim Henson's Sid the Science Kid" and "Frances"), this system allows puppeteers to perform the CG characters in real-time.

Brian Henson, co-CEO of the Jim Henson Company, says the company's development slate is maturing, and he expects the company to release between three and five new projects each year. Other projects currently in development and production within the company include "Sid the Science Kid", "Pajanimals", a "Fraggle Rock" feature film, "Power of the Dark Crystal", "Unstable Fables", "Farscape" webisodes, "Puppet Up! - Uncesored", an stage show based on "Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas", and much more. I will be sure to keep you updated as details on all these exciting Henson projects become available.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Second "Studio DC" Special Hits in October

As previously reported, the stars of Disney Channel have once again teamed up with the Muppets to produce another music-filled sketch comedy show. Following up on the "Studio DC" premiere (hosted by Dylan & Cole Sprouse) which aired back in August, Disney is readying a second installment of "Studio DC" (hosted by Selena Gomez) for an October debut. The new Disney Channel special is currently set to premiere Sunday, October 5, 2008 at 8pm on Disney Channel. Hosted by Selena Gomez ("Wizards of Waverly Place"), the half-hour special will also feature appearances by The Cheetah Girls ("The Cheetah Girls One World"), Demi Lovato ("Camp Rock"), Moises Arias ("Hannah Montana"), Jake T. Austin ("Wizards of Waverly Place"), Jason Earles ("Hannah Montana"), Jason Dolley ("Cory in the House") and David Henrie ("Wizards of Waverly Place").

Highlights of the program include The Cheetah Girls performing a Bollywood dance number with Miss Piggy; Selena Gomez getting tutored in the art of joke telling by Fozzie Bear; Statler and Waldorf teaching Moises Arias and Jake T. Austin the ins and outs of being a critic; a jealous Miss Piggy dragging Kermit off the stage, causing Demi Lovato to perform the hit single "This is Me" with Beaker; Jason Earles and Jason Dolley's visit to the Swedish Chef's craft services table; and David Henrie jamming with Floyd on the guitar.

Be sure to mark your calendars and prepare for this brand-new Muppet television special featuring a hearty helping Disney Channel stars. I will be sure to keep you updated with more information on the premiere of this new program as soon as more details become available.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Meet Jim Henson's Pajanimals

As already reported, "Jim Henson's Pajanimals", the Jim Henson Company's newest puppet series, is planned to debut on PBS KIDS Sprout in November 2008 as part of the network's evening programming block. The short-form series will help parents and children unwind at the end of the day and prepare for bed. The series stars four soft and cuddly animal puppets, designed by Jeff Muncy and built by the Jim Henson's Creature Shop, which share all-new bedtime-themed songs about typical childhood night time issues (such as sleeping through the night and not being afraid of the dark). The series has been developed with consultation from expert pediatric sleep specialists (who also offer bedtime advice to parents in special companion segments available on Sprout On Demand).

The Pajanimals include Sweetpea Sue, Squacky, Cow Bella and Apollo. They are good-natured and funny characters. Sweetpea Sue is a smart pony who never forgets her bedtime routine of brushing her teeth, washing her face and putting on her PJs. Squacky is an excitable duck who sometimes has a hard time settling down at night. Cow Bella, a well-mannered cow, is the one who encourages the rest of the bunch to "do the right thing" around bedtime. And there's Apollo, an upbeat and optimistic puppy who loves space adventures but experiences separation anxiety come bedtime.

Brian Henson, Lisa Henson and Halle Stanford are executive producing the series along with Jeff Muncy and Alex Rockwell; and the series will feature original music written by Michael and Patty Silversher with lyrics by Rockwell and Judy Rothman.

Below is an excluive sneak-peek at the Pajanimals sining one of the original new songs. Check out the video and be sure to check back here for more Pajanimals updates as things continue to develop on this new bedtime program.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Muppets Set to Deliver "Letters to Santa" this Christmas!

Muppet Studios is currently in production on an all new television special filled with songs, mayhem and heaps of holiday high spirits. Entitled "Letters to Santa: A Muppets Christmas", this one-hour television project is set to air this holiday season! Production is well underway and "Letters to Santa" is scheduled to air on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 at 8:00PM on NBC (check local listings for details).

When the Muppets inadvertently prevent three children's letters from making their way to Santa Claus, Kermit and the gang set off to make things right before Christmas comes. The Muppet are forced to give up their plans of escaping a snow-filled New York City, but needless to say, nothing (not even Miss Piggy's planned trip to the tropics) will stand between the Muppets and a happy Christmas for all.

Directed by Muppet veteran Kirk Thatcher, the special was written by Hugh Fink, Scott Ganz, Andrew Samson and Paul Williams. This musical special will also feature four all-new songs by Paul Williams (songwriter on "Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas", "The Muppet Movie", and "The Muppet Christmas Carol"), and will also include appearances by Whoopi Goldberg, Richard Griffiths, Tony Sirico, Steve Schirripa, Mike Bloomberg, and Madison Pettis.

"Letters to Santa" is sure to bring a heartfelt message about the true meaning of the holiday season and will undoubtedly become an instant holiday classic. So mark your calendars and prepare for an all-new holiday extravaganza staring the one and only Muppets! I will be sure to keep you updated as soon as more information on this very exciting project becomes available.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Henson's Christmas Toy Comes to DVD

Jim Henson's 1986 television special "The Christmas Toy" will soon be available on DVD! The heart-warming tale of toys that come to life on Christmas Eve has been a beloved fan favorite for years. HIT Entertainment plans to release the special on DVD on November 4, 2008.

"The Christmas Toy" features an original cast of loveable puppets created by Jim Henson and delightful songs by Jeff Moss. The special shows viewers that love, friendship and helping others are the most important gifts of all as Rugby Tiger sets off to recapture the glory of being the #1 Christmas toy.

The award-winning special received the 1987 Golden Hugo Award for Children's Programming at the Chicago International Film Festival and was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Children's Program.

It is unknown at this point if the introductory scene with Kermit the Frog (who is now owned by the Walt Disney Company) will remain intact on this release, or if the frog's scene will be edited out (similar to his scenes in the DVD release of "Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas"). It is also unknown at this point what, if any, bonus features the DVD will include.

So be sure to mark your calendars and prepare to ring in the holidays with this classic Jim Henson special on DVD; and I will be sure to keep you all updated as soon as more information on this release becomes available.