Are the Muppets as popular as they were 30 to 40 years ago?

Prof Bunsen

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That's why I phrased my last reply with a reference to the Muppets. ROFL xD
 

DMHFan

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I’m also willing to blame the lack of new Muppet DVD releases on the failures with Muppets Most Wanted and the 2015 Muppet series on ABC and especially the all-too-fickle fools that claim to be Muppet fans but refuse to support them, being oblivious to the fact that newer projects like those need the money in order for the Muppets to not only remain a viable franchise but also so they can put the money into making more of their old school material availed on home media and iTunes. Those oblivious and disloyal fanboys and fangirls... Not to mention all the troubles that Steve Whitmire caused for them, what with him playing hardball, holding back productions, his pathetic attempts at demonizing Disney for firing him, etc.!
-Duke Remington, a.k.a. Philip Kippel (respect my opinion on this person)
So this is why we may not have been seeing any Muppets merchandise lately...
 

Prof Bunsen

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MMW was definitely a more modest success than its predecessor. I wouldn't go far as to call it a bomb, but it grossed slightly over its budget. Which is a little understandable because of its competition with Divergent. But the other problem I think was that the screenwriters merely played it a little bit too safe with the sequel, just mashing together elements of TGMC without having a more original plot, while the first had a more original story while giving it a more nostalgic feel. In other words lol, I think if MMW ended up being more like The Last Jedi, it probably would've attracted a lot more moviegoers. That being said, however, the Muppets have always had sort of a cult fanbase. It's not as big as Marvel's or Star Wars, so we've always been at sort of a disadvantage with the bigger studios and networks. (I know I've brought this up a couple times, but please bear in mind it took Jim a trip to LONDON to get TMS produced!)
 

MuppetSpot

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I remember hearing stories how Jim try to put the Muppets on television on America but no studio wanted them and it was Lew grade who want to take a chance with the Muppets.
 

Prof Bunsen

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That was because the three major networks did not want to take a chance on crossing over puppets with guest stars in a more adult-oriented style since puppetry at that time was perceived as merely children's entertainment in the US. The UK, however, had different perceptions of how puppetry could be interpreted and also its audiences. Jim studied puppetry throughout much of Europe in the late 1950s and observed that puppetry catered to a more adult audience than over here which had more kiddie shows like Kukla, Fran, and Ollie and Howdy Doody. Because the UK had different attitudes, it gave Jim a chance to finally expose the Muppets to both young and adult audiences alike.
 

jobi71

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I'd like to add a thought or two to the popularity question. I apologize if this has been mentioned in previous posts. Back in the mid 1970's when The Muppet Show premiered the Muppets had already been on TV about 20 years. TV commercials; The Jimmy Dean Show; The Ed Sullivan Show; TV Specials, Sesame Street; Saturday Night Live etc so while The Muppet Show was new The Muppets were a known quantity. Also, this needs to be kept in mind - TV options at the time (specifically for me in Boston - but similar across the country) there were the three networks - ABC, CBS NBC, a PBS station and depending on your market 0-3 independent UHF stations. Options were limited, so if a show made it to one of these platforms it was viewed by many people. Today there are 100's of channels and all sorts of online and streaming options. It is tough for a show to break through and networks and streaming services are very quick to end a show not performing to their expectations. I think if the rules of today's TV were in place back in 1976 The Muppet Show would have been cancelled after the first season - if not midway. So, as Prof Bunsen and Muppet Spot point out above Jim needed to go to London to get financing for his project and once it was in production the lack of viewing options allowed the show to play and experiment and come up with a working framework. In season 2 they began cooking with gas and a great show was born. But it did take time. I have said before The Muppets 2015 failed (in my mind) because it was rushed into production. Are they still popular? - yes. But there are so many options and "competition" that they get lost. The fan base is made up of us, of course, fans who will follow the characters wherever they go; nostalgia (a big group - and a tough one to please - things need be similar enough to previous Muppet productions but new enough to be current; casual fans (people who like/liked The Muppets but not really sure what they're up to - i.e. love Beaker's Ode to Joy and Chef videos or Statler and Waldorf appearing on late night comic shows); new fans (we know the core characters have great appeal but how to get someone hooked?). So for the short term I think they should focus on a few goals. Do more live shows. They were successful. New York City and Tokyo are no brainers. Chicago, Montreal, Sydney are also prime spots. Maybe one down deep south in Mississippi or Georgia to pay a bit of tribute to Jim's roots. The You tube videos. There should be at least one a month. The Chef, Muppet Labs, The Newsman all lend themselves to a 3-5 minute bit. Take some time and have some production value for an Electric Mayhem video or Vet's hospital or Pigs in Space. And use the time and response to the smaller projects to plan larger scale efforts. For me it doesn't need to be a new weekly series but perhaps a new Christmas Special or Uncle Deadly's Halloween special that we have heard about in the past. Or just an hour with guest star A and B (maybe C depending on the show) with the guests and the Muppets singing and dancing and solving a mystery or saving a neighborhood or whatever the plot requires. Too much rambling. I applaud you if you made it to the end. ;-)
 

Prof Bunsen

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This. I think this is one of best posts I've seen. I wish there was a "love" button. I'll let Beaker install it.

But also, they should do Muppet shows down in Maryland too, because that's where Jim spent much of his teenage days. I think some of us forget that Sam & Friends was a local show that was first telecast in the Washington D.C. area.
 

Prof Bunsen

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I think if the rules of today's TV were in place back in 1976 The Muppet Show would have been cancelled after the first season - if not midway. So, as Prof Bunsen and Muppet Spot point out above Jim needed to go to London to get financing for his project and once it was in production the lack of viewing options allowed the show to play and experiment and come up with a working framework.
Thanks also to the Prime Time Access Rule which made it possible for the Muppet Show to air in New York and many of the major cities.
 

jobi71

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This. I think this is one of best posts I've seen. I wish there was a "love" button. I'll let Beaker install it.

But also, they should do Muppet shows down in Maryland too, because that's where Jim spent much of his teenage days. I think some of us forget that Sam & Friends was a local show that was first telecast in the Washington D.C. area.
You are very kind with your comment. Looking at my post you would think I receive some sort of cash payment from the parenthesis corporation. There are about two dozen in the one post.

Yes, DC is another area where a live show would make sense, have history and draw a crowd. I was trying to not be too east coast centric in naming places.
 

DMHFan

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I'm wondering The Muppets Studio will make any money off of any future projects.
 
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