Since it’s premiere in September, ABC’s freshman show “The Muppets” has been in an extremely unique position. To this point, the show has performed well in the ratings, contributing to a 69% increase in viewership from ABC programs in the same time slot last year. It’s also the highest new show for audiences 18-49 scoring an impressive 2.6. However, because the Muppets is such a renowned franchise and iconic group of characters, the show has been seen as a disappointment by many. Critically, it’s been a disaster with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 64% (compared Fresh Off the Boats 90%).
The Muppets is a beloved franchise that has been passed down from generation to generation. However, the show that currently exists is a far departure from the show that many grew up on. While the show has always contained adult humor, the new iteration of the show takes a far more adult approach to the characters. With the Muppets engaging in drinking, swearing, and even sexual activity/innuendo, many have been floored by the approach taken by Disney with the new Muppets.
Apparently Disney has been listening to these concerns, because current showrunner Bob Kushell is already on his way out. The show had already been ordered for a 16 episode season, with 10 episodes already completed. However, Deadline is reporting that when the show returns in the Spring, it’ll likely be as a soft reboot. New showrunner Kristen Newman (That’s 70s Show) will be brought in to try to right the ship, with Chuck Prady likely pitching in some more to help the show with some leadership continuity.
Kushell’s departure is very unusual for a new show, let alone one that has been as successful as The Muppets. However, Deadline also reports that there were issues behind the scenes, which ultimately hurt the quality of the show. With such stress occurring behind the scenes, it is not overly surprising that the show has struggled up to this point. While the word reboot has been seen in a negative light in recent pop culture, in this case, the Muppet reboot may actually be a return to form. Perhaps the most interesting thing that can come from this reboot is whether the new showrunners look to maintain the more adult tone of the show, or if they will tone it down for a more family friendly audience.
The Muppets airs on ABC every Tuesday night at 8 P.M. (EST).