With Muppets Tonight, Brian tried to reintroduce the series to a slightly more mature audience. During the 1995-96 season in the United States, the show aired on ABC. Later, in the 1997-98 season, The Disney Channel picked up the show and aired nine new episodes.
Review of The Muppets
Muppets Tonight, like the original Muppet Show, followed the Muppets as they tried to put on a show behind the scenes. Unlike the original Muppet Show, this time it was a television show rather than a live theatrical performance. Clifford, the “homey made of foamy,” presented Muppets Tonight for the first time. That alone gives a pretty good idea of where the younger Henson was seeking to take the show. Guest stars on the show included Prince (then known as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince), Coolio, Jason Alexander, and Cindy Crawford. Much of the humour was aimed at older audiences, although the series only lasted 13 episodes on US network television.
Muppet films continued into the 1990s, including The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), Muppet Treasure Island (1996), and Muppets From Space, which would be Henson’s final theatrical feature film for almost 12 years. The Muppets characters’ rights were sold to the Walt Disney Company in 2004. It was the completion of a transaction that Jim Henson had started negotiating not long before his death. Isn’t the Disney deal going to put a halt to any more explicit or risky material? Disney struck a deal with Jason Segel to star in and script The Muppets in an unexpectedly hip move. His puppet Dracula musical seen in Forgetting Sarah Marshall is said to have swayed them. To write the original tracks, Bret Mackenzie was brought on board. James Bobin, who directed all 22 episodes of The Flight of the Conchords, has been engaged to direct. All of the interesting cameos, presumably, fell into place after that.
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