Thursday, March 26, 2020

Here's why the Muppets aren't on Disney Plus--no, wait, actually it isn't

One of my biggest complaints about Disney Plus since its launch is the distinct lack of vintage Muppets material. Most conspicuous by its absence is The Muppet Show, and there has been no official explanation for its status.

So I was excited to see a headline in my feed this morning proclaiming,
Why Doesn’t Disney+ Have More Muppet Stuff?
The curious case of Disney’s Muppet erasure, explained.

Let me save you some time: This Vanity Fair article, while an excellent summary of what Muppet material is NOT on Disney Plus, does not "explain" the situation--at least not in terms of, you know, answering the question in the headline.
What we get is speculation that outgoing Disney CEO Bob Iger didn't care for the property because it wasn't his acquisition.  There are informed comments from a Jim Henson biographer and some comments that refute possible culprits like music clearances.
What we don't get is any word from Disney (to its credit, the mag asked Bob Iger and Disney Plus for comment; I think it's funny to think of Bob Iger sitting down at this point in time and explaining in detail why a 45-year-old TV show isn't on his company's streaming service) nor any facts that would explain why Disney Plus doesn't have more muppet stuff.
We will just have to keep waiting. The article does provide a few nuggets indicating hope for the future. My hope has been that they have been doing something with the original series--perhaps some kind of remastering to get it ready for a big debut alongside forthcoming original series Muppets Now.  For now, thanks for nothing, Vanity Fair!

(Click here to hear our episode discussing Steve Martin on The Muppet Show)

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