Disney announced yesterday at the D23 Expo that it would be releasing a new Muppets series titled Muppets Now on its new streaming platform, Disney+. The series will be unscripted and will be the first attempt to revamp the Muppets’ TV presence since 2016.
Details on the new series Muppets Now were not made immediately available, though there are a few things that will set this new series apart from past Muppets shows. The short form series, premiering in 2020, will be unscripted, and will follow the classic Muppets characters as they interact with celebrity guest stars.
The Hollywood Reporter noted that the idea of short form video streaming bears significant resemblance to the business model of Quibi, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s venture designed to be a “complement to, rather than a competitor of, the likes of Netflix and Hulu.” The similarities between Quibi and much of the programming announced for Disney+ are notable, and by introducing new short form programming to compete with Quibi, Disney+ continues Disney’s long-held tradition of feuding with Jeffrey Katzenberg.
The official release date of Muppets Now has not yet been provided, nor has there been announced an episode count for the series. Disney also did not comment on the rumors of a scripted Muppets series coming to Disney+, though The Hollywood Reporter notes that a future Muppets series could potentially involve the work of Josh Gad, Adam Horowitz, and Eddy Kitsis.
Muppets Now will be the Muppets’ first return to the small screen since 2016. In 2015, ABC studios released their new show The Muppets, which followed the characters in a mockumentary style similar to that of The Office or Parks and Recreation. The series ran for about sixteen episodes before attempts to reconfigure the show’s creative staff failed. The final episode of The Muppets aired on March 1st, 2016, and the series currently holds about a 63% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Muppets Now will join the Disney+ roster of shows involving Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar. Disney+ is set to launch on November 12th of this year.