The Muppets are, unsurprisingly, not done with television, thanks to Disney’s grandiose streaming self-distribution designs with the November-launching Disney+; an idea recently confirmed with the news of an unscripted Muppets short-form reboot series. However, the late Jim Henson’s fuzzy anthropomorphic oddities might just have a zero-sum dynamic at Disney, since the other series they had in development, a scripted offering titled Muppets Live Another Day, has been taken off the Mouse’s streaming slate.
News of the cancelation of Muppets Live Another Day, which arrives via THR, reveal that Disney has gone in a different direction from the project, which first blipped the news cycle radar back in February 2018, though was never officially announced. Consequently, the series plans have imploded after creative differences led to the exit of its primary trio, Once Upon a Time creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis and Frozen voice actor Josh Gad, abandoning months of development.
Muppets Live Another Day was referred to behind-the-scenes as Muppets 1984, since the creators’ intent was to follow up the events of the 1984 film, The Muppets Take Manhattan. Reportedly, the primary conflict that deep-sixed the project occurred when creators Kitsis and Horowitz, who had been working with outgoing Muppets Studios vp Debbie McClellan, clashed with her replacement, former Disney Parks Live Entertainment senior vp David Lightbody, who wanted to go in an entirely new direction with The Muppets, leading to the amicable exit of the primary trio. Consequently, while you can expect to hear news of a retooled version of a scripted Muppets show in the near future, this iteration, Muppets Live Another Day, won’t live up to its title.
With Disney having acquired The Muppets Studio back in 2004, the substantial intellectual property catalogue of Disney+ will undoubtedly bring the unmistakably iconic presence of The Muppets – currently thriving with the Disney Junior Muppet Babies reboot series. Indeed, the property will first join the streaming cavalcade with the aforementioned yet-to-be-titled unscripted offering, which will supposedly be semi-improvisational. This version will arrive after Disney’s previous ABC-aired 2015 television reboot of The Muppets fell apart after just one season in 2016, due to low ratings and harsh critiques.
The Muppets are clearly a part of a proverbial Mount Rushmore of family properties, with its origins dating back to 1955 on Sam and Friends, its popularity-garnering appearances during the 1970s on Sesame Street, the iconic 1976-1981 original iteration of The Muppet Show, along with numerous films and subsequent television manifestations. Thus, while Muppets Live Another Day is not moving forward, one would be ill-advised to discount the possibility of another scripted comeback.
For now, fans await the (likely-game-changing) arrival of Disney+, which launches in the U.S. on Tuesday, November 12.