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New Muppet Stuff: The Muppets return to prime-time with a new ABC series debuting on September 22! The Muppet cast and crew behind the new show recently held their own panel at this year's Comic-Con, appeared at Disney's D23 Expo, and are popping up in several promos with ABC stars including Nathan Fillion, Kerry Washington, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Anthony Anderson.
The Word on the Street: Sesame Street is moving to HBO. New half-hour episodes for the show's 46th season will premiere on the premium cable network late this Fall, and air subsequently on PBS stations. An autobiography from Sonia Manzano, who played Maria for 44 years on the show, was released on August 25. The long-awaited documentary I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story is now available on video. New Sesame Street DVD releases include Play All Day with Elmo and Elmo Can Do It! (coming in October).
In Memoriam: Longtime Sesame Street producer and director Lisa Simon, whose involvement with the show spans back to its first season, died on April 4 at the age of 64. Another Muppet collaborator, Ray Charles passed away on April 6. Charles served as a music consultant on The Muppet Show and several more Muppet productions afterwards.
Jim Henson began working with puppets as a college student, creating the show Sam and Friends in 1955 for a local Washington, D.C. television station. The energetic Muppets soon became a popular fixture, and led to appearances on national variety shows. Henson's commercials for a local coffee company, Wilkins Coffee, were so popular that he was hired to create similar commercials around the country. In the early 1960s, Henson moved to New York City to work on a variety of projects, including a regular guest spot on The Jimmy Dean Show for the first Muppet star, Rowlf the Dog.
In 1969, Henson was invited to participate in a ground-breaking educational show for television, Sesame Street. Initially, the Muppets were meant to be just one element among many on the show -- but the popularity of Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster, Grover, Ernie and Bert soon made the Muppets the core of the show. Over the years, the Muppet cast has grown to include Mr. Snuffleupagus, Count von Count, Telly Monster, Rosita, Baby Bear, Zoe, and of course, the international superstar Elmo, who starred in his own segment, Elmo's World. Sesame Street is now in its 45th season, and the newest stars are host Murray Monster and fairy-in-training Abby Cadabby.
In 1976, Henson created his signature project -- The Muppet Show, a weekly prime-time variety show filled with songs, sketches and talented guest stars. Kermit the Frog is the charming and mostly unflappable host, presiding over a motley crew of performers, including diva Miss Piggy, hopeful comedian Fozzie Bear, daredevil performance artist Gonzo, young eager gofer Scooter, and the house band, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. The Muppet Show was a huge international success, making unlikely stars out of the Swedish Chef, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant Beaker, Sam the Eagle, and the two old cranks in the balcony, Statler and Waldorf.
The Muppet Show cast has continued to entertain audiences for over 30 years, spinning off into a popular series of movies, including The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Muppet Christmas Carol, and Muppet Treasure Island.
In the 1980s, Henson created new worlds -- the magical underground civilization of Fraggle Rock, the imagination-filled nursery of Muppet Babies, and the fantasy worlds of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. Henson's work has continued to live on beyond his death in 1990, and new productions featuring his creations are always in progress.
This wiki is dedicated to documenting, exploring and enjoying the enormous body of work that Jim Henson has created and inspired.