The Muppets Is Already Having A Big Behind-The-Scenes Problem

I’m not sure anyone expected such a roller coaster ride of half-success for ABC’s newest and notably mature iteration of The Muppets, as the show has had some ratings issues but recently got more episodes ordered. The latest bit of behind-the-scenes drama has us saying goodbye to showrunner and executive producer Bob Kushell, only six episodes into the first season. And that’s not all, either.

Kushell, who worked on shows such as Third Rock from the Sun and Anger Management, co-created The Muppets with Big Bang Theory creator Bill Prady, and it seems as if the particular route that these guys took from concept-to-airing wasn’t the smoothest one. The show basically had under five months to completely come together, and the development period wasn’t as long as it should have been, and part of the troubles were reportedly due to Prady only being able to show up occasionally because of his Big Bang duties. It still seems to be an amicable exit, according to Deadline, as Kushell made no enemies on the Muppets staff.

Kristin Newman – a writer and executive producer on such shows as The Neighbors, How I Met Your Mother and Galavant – is currently in negotiations to take over the showrunner job. She’s got her work cut out for her, because it sounds like the show’s backstage changes are going to be seen on the small screen before too much longer.

Yes, the creative overhaul will be reflected on the show itself, which will attempt a relaunch when it returns from its midseason hiatus. The fall lineup has another four episodes left to go, and it will pick back up in the new year for another 6 episodes, thanks to ABC’s extended order. (The fact that The Muppets has a “full season” of only 16 episodes is just weird to me.) But it’s not exactly clear what this retooling will involve. Could it be that the new direction will make the jokes and stories less adult and more kid-friendly? Will it completely drop the late night talk show storyline for something else? Will it still be a mockumentary? So many meeping questions!

Because The Muppets was based on such a widely-known franchise, the show was expected to be a ratings hit, but things took a tumble after an impressive series premiere. The numbers have remained steady on the busy Tuesday night schedule, but possibly not good enough to warrant a second season if things don’t pick up. Perhaps another reason for the relaunch is to attract the same audiences that left the show behind after it started up.

In any case, I’m a big fan of The Muppets, so I hope that Kristin Newman can come in and make it even better. I mean, as long as they keep Fozzie’s jokes the same level of awful.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.