CHARACTERS • MORE
|Premiere||July 31, 2020|
“In the six-episode season, Scooter rushes to make his delivery deadlines and upload the brand-new Muppet series for streaming. They are due now, and he’ll need to navigate whatever obstacles, distractions, and complications the rest of the Muppet gang throws at him. Overflowing with spontaneous lunacy, surprising guest stars and more frogs, pigs, bears (and whatevers) than legally allowed, the Muppets cut loose in “Muppets Now” with the kind of startling silliness and heartfelt fun that first made them famous.”
The show consists of a number of recurring, rotating segments, including:
- Lifesty(le) with Miss Piggy: Piggy offers lifestyle tips with assistance from Uncle Deadly, Taye Diggs, Linda Cardellini, and other Muppet guests. Six segments (episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6).
- Økėÿ Døkęÿ Køøkïñ: Hosted by Beverly Plume, the Swedish Chef faces off in a cooking challenge against well-known celebrity chefs. Five segments (episodes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6).
- Muppet Labs Field Test: Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker do various science experiments out in the field. Five segments (episodes 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6).
- Mup Close and Personal: A Muppet host tries to have an intimate conversation with a celebrity guest. Three segments (episodes 1, 4 and 6).
- Pepe's Unbelievable Game Show: Pepe the King Prawn hosts a game show with no rules beyond what he comes up with in the moment, much to the dismay of announcer Scooter. Three segments (episodes 2, 3 and 5).
- Muppet Masters: Walter takes an in-depth look at some of the most recognizable members of the Muppet troupe. Two segments (episodes 1 and 5).
- Episode 101: Due Date (July 31, 2020)
- Episode 102: Fever Pitch (August 7, 2020)
- Episode 103: Getting Testy (August 14, 2020)
- Episode 104: Sleep Mode (August 21, 2020)
- Episode 105: The I.T. Factor (August 28, 2020)
- Episode 106: Socialized (September 4, 2020)
- Exclusive deleted scenes released on social media (September 9, 2020)
- Muppet Performers: Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta, Eric Jacobson, Matt Vogel, David Rudman, Peter Linz
- Additional Performers: Julianne Buescher, Mike Quinn
- Directors: Rufus Scot Church, Vito Massaro, Christopher Alender
- Director of Photography: Craig Kief
- Executive Producers: Andrew Williams, Bill Barretta, Sabrina Wind
- Co-Executive Producers: Jim Lewis, Kelly Younger
- Muppet Workshop Supervisor: Jane Gootnick
- Muppet Workshop Wranglers: Jürgen Ferguson, Scott Johnson, Peter MacKennan, Danielle Obinger
- Puppet Heap Supervisor: Paul Andrejco
- Puppet Captain: Bill Barretta
In February 2018, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Disney planned a "reboot" for the Muppets on Disney+, and that a search for a writer was in-progress. The series would join other original programming for the platform from the company's Marvel and Star Wars properties, as well as new versions of High School Musical, The Parent Trap, Father of the Bride, and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
In February 2019, a website called "Splash Report" published an item about the Josh Gad-penned project Muppets Live Another Day, which would follow the events of The Muppets Take Manhattan. The project would subsequently be shelved by September.
In May 2019, The DisInsider reported a series of improvised Muppet shorts would be produced for the platform. The approximate ten-minute shorts would take the formats of "three different segments of a game show, a cooking show, and a talk show."
Kirk Thatcher served as one of the directors for the shorts (specifically Pepe's game show, Piggy's shorts, and the Muppet Labs pieces), along with Bill Barretta and directors from Soapbox Films, filmed over the course of six days. They were originally intended as "three types of shows" split between eighteen episodes at approximately ten minutes each for a total of approximately three hours of content. By early 2020, the series was instead formatted as a half-hour show comprised of the shorts, with new framing material shot from the homes of the performers (due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
The series was officially announced on The Muppets' social media accounts on August 23, 2019, in the form of a press statement written and signed by Kermit the Frog (with sections redacted in black marker under the restriction of Joe the Legal Weasel). A teaser video featuring Kermit and Joe the Legal Weasel was simultaneously screened at the Disney + panel at the D23 Expo. Portions of this teaser were incorporated into the official series trailer, released publicly online on June 24, 2020.
Another trailer was released on July 15, 2020, featuring Kermit conducting a video conference with the other Muppets to announce the series' greenlight. A corresponding press release, with annotations again by Joe, was posted to The Muppets' Twitter account (which was temporarily renamed "Joe from Legal").
- The Hollywood Reporter "Disney Planning Another Muppets Reboot for Its Streaming Service (Exclusive)" by Lesley Goldberg, February 21, 2018
- splashreport.com "The Muppets Project for Disney+" by Jean-François Allaire, Feb 7, 2019
- The DisInsider: EXCLUSIVE: Muppets Variety Shorts Coming To Disney+, May 20, 2019.
- [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IxiIHHqswE GalaxyCon Talks Comics! with Kirk R. Thatcher (00:41:24)
- Kirk Thatcher official website
- Kirk Thatcher on Puppet Tears (1:35:55)
- GalaxyCon Louisville (at 46:15) Dec 22, 2019
- Variety 'The Muppets' Short-Form Series Coming to Disney Plus