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Friday, 8 March, 2002, 12:20 GMT
Muppets to make TV comeback
Kermit the Frog
The original Muppet Show ran from 1976-81
A host of new Muppets characters are being created to star alongside Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy in a new prime-time TV show.

The latest Muppets show will "bring an all-new look" to the zany puppets in an attempt to recreate the success they first enjoyed in the 1970s.

Austin Powers producers Jennifer and Suzanne Todd have been enlisted to work on the variety-style series with the Jim Henson Company, who took over the characters when Muppets creator Jim Henson died in 1990.

It will hit screens in the United States in spring 2003 and will be shown on the Fox TV network.

Worldwide hit

The Muppets, a group of off-beat talking animals, were created by Henson and starred in Sesame Street and other shows before getting their own series in 1976.

It became a hit and was watched by an estimated 235 million viewers per week in more than 100 countries.

In it, Kermit tried to hold the show together as anarchy reigned around him and the tempestuous Miss Piggy unleashed her temper on him.

Other characters including Fozzie Bear, Animal and Gonzo were also firm favourites.

Jim Henson with Miss Piggy
Jim Henson died in 1990
Stars including Bob Hope, Spike Milligan, Alice Cooper and Gene Kelly were among those to appear as special guests.

The show ran for just five years, but a follow-up, Muppets Tonight, which started in 1996, was not as popular.

It has inspired other spin-offs, including a host of films, and Kermit is due to star in a new video biopic charting his rise - called Kermit's Swamp Years - later this year.

The Muppets' 25th anniversary in 2001 saw a range of celebrations including the first MuppetFest, the first ever Muppet fan festival celebration.

The Jim Henson Company continued to make shows including Fraggle Rock, Bear in the Big Blue House, Dinosaurs and Mopatop's Shop after the puppeteer's death.

They also created ITV Digital's mascot, Monkey, who has become a cult hit, while Kermit has even addressed Oxford University's esteemed Union.

See also:

12 Oct 01 | South Asia
Bert in the frame with Bin Laden
30 May 01 | Business
Muppets seek independence
13 Mar 01 | Business
The Muppets may be sold
06 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Muppets creator honoured with statue
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