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Disney in talks to buy Muppets

Discussion in 'Muppet Headlines' started by Phillip, Mar 7, 2003.

  1. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, through Warner Bros. and/or Hanna-Barbera (all these companies are sorta linked), Turner/Time Warner did make more things using the MGM characters (under Turner Entertainment Co.), like Tom and Jerry Kids and The Magic Ring.

    As for the journalist(s), these are the same who wrote some of the other Henson buyout articles of the last couple of months. Even one article at Hoovers.com said Disney is not interested in the whole Henson package, and could pay $70 million for the Muppets alone. So maybe they do mean what they say, though I'm still confused how it would work and so on.

    Now I'm watching the Elton John/Julie Andrews/Gene Kelly volume of TMS. Earlier I watched Miss Piggy's Hollywood and Follow That Bird (finally). Sorta been in the mood. :D
  2. WiGgY

    WiGgY Well-Known Member

    Right now they don't qualitfy for a whole theme park but wait until Disney owns them. Disney will promte them so much with new movies and stuff and then the show that will most definatly be on the air, and the figures which will probably get promoted too, and I'm sure Fraggle Rock will become a huge part of the Disney Channels morning line up. Once Disney does all that, which I bet they will do, I bet a whole theme park just like the one talked about here will happen.

    I can see it all now. :flirt:
  3. WiGgY

    WiGgY Well-Known Member

    If Disney buys the muppets they buy the right to use them howevery they want, probably. It would mean that JHC would exist without the muppets anymore which would be sad and so weird. They would not be able to use any of the muppets that Disney buys in logos or anythng unless Disney said they could. At least that's what I think it means.

    I doubt that makes any sense though. I mean Henson is a very recognozable name so I don't see why Disney wouldn't want the name with the muppets as a package deal.
  4. danielromens

    danielromens Well-Known Member

    Why is it that most of the posts in this thread, save for a few from the usuals who seem to possess a level of understanding, have not yet grasped the main point of the news, namely...




    Ok, enough caps, I'm just tired of reading about what Disney could do for the company. Well, it doesn't really matter what they'd do with it, because they aren't going to buy it.

    Some of you folks are so blinded by the idea of seeing Kermit the Frog in new shows and videos that you can't see that this could mean the end of a lot of jobs at the Company as well as the end of the brand that comes with it.

    I know some of you remember the "Disney's Kermit the Frog" and some of you seem to think that this would somehow not happen well, go look at all of the other creator based properties that Disney has gobbled up. Nickelodean's "Doug" was once a highly successful show until it became Disney's Doug and yes that's what the title is. How come we see Disney's Winnie the Pooh instead of Milne's Winnie the Pooh? They didn't create it, they merely own it. Not only that but they've completely sucked the life out of it by fluffing up what used to be very intelligent stories.
    Let's not even get into the fact that they are completely oversaturating the market with overexposure. They've gotten lucky with Pooh in that it's stayed popular for a long time, but just wait people, everything fades.

    Seriously, the level of blind optimism for what Disney can do with the characters is frightning. You realise that someone else can own them and Disney could be used as a licensing vehicle by allowing them to use the characters in MGM and by working with them to produce more work. This would allow a still surviving henson company to have some say in what happens to their characters without letting the wreches at DisneyBland getting their greedy talons of creative ruin into them.

    I actually think Valentine could be really great. He after all worked for your illbeloved Disney and helped to spearhead a lot of great products. Personally I think they need someone who knows business, not some entertainment company who can't even handle the characters it all ready has. Which by the way is their problem, owning a lot of character properties isn't good when you have no idea what to do with them.

    And hey, remember some of you same folks who also degraded Saban as the creator of the Power Rangers, well that so called evil show now has a prominent role in DISNEYS SATURDAY MORNING. Oh the irony.

    and before I forget to give my usual sign off...

    F*** Disney.
  5. scarecroe

    scarecroe Well-Known Member

    Read the press release again.
  6. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Right-o, and I agree with that.

    Look what someone else said about the Dizzy company having all these characters they have now and no idea what to do with them. The creativity at the Disney company is LOW LOW LOW--I don't care what anybody says.

    Sure, they have a hit in Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Lion King; but, outside of the hits, look at their numerous failures. My point is not laid in their past, but in their present. Convince me that what they CAN do is good, and I might sway my opinion in favor of rather than against Disney (but I doubt it).

    I will have to say, however, that I will be in line for one of the first viewings of the Mickey movie!! (What a hipocrite, huh?)

    So, what we have to look forward to is another split-up of the JHC? It says right there they want the catalog of movies and the characters rights. Not the company. Still, I don't see where it says that JHC will be void of the Muppets, just that Disney will have rights to the characters and the movies, right?

    As I've said, if if IF Disney will allow JHC creative freedom, then I'm for it; but, if not, I don't see where it would help it.

    After all, someone said Disney has the moolah to fund Muppet projects, but what have they been doing with their own products?
    Cinderella 2, Hunchback 2, sequel after stinking sequel.

    I don't think Disney is a bad company, I just think they are a gestapo of creative-ruination that will stand a better chance of throwing junk out there just to get money from it, and the public runs blindly out to grab it all up because it says "Disney" on it.

    Bringing me to wonder, "Disney's Muppets" (?!) NO NO NO!!! Ew.

    Also, I doubt very VERY seriously if you would ever see anything more than a very small attraction (Muppet Vision 3-D size or less) at any giant theme park. You'll never see a Sesame Place for The Muppets.

    I don't think Disney has any real plans for The Muppets, except to suppress them.

    But, then again, we're all going on and on over all this and there's not a 100% proof-positive word that Disney is really, truly interested. In essence, I just really wasted time sharing my personal opinion about a deal that's not even being developed yet!!

    Back to napping....
  7. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

    We can keep speculating (you know I will), but I think we won't REALLY know what's going on 'til we see an actual press release, not article from a journalist (which ALL these are). I mean we don't know officially know whether Disney just wanted the catalog and characters or EM.TV wants to keep the Creature Shop or if EM.TV just wants to sell those parts and have other ideas with the rest of the company in mind (what would be left?). Who knows if these journalists are just exaggerating 'cause it's media giant Disney, and soon we get a surprise article titled "Classic Media buys stake in Henson." Oh, and how productive an association that would be.

    How, if it is or will be true, Disney buys the library and Muppets themselves, well, I really can't process how that would work, though there may be a simple explanation. That's why I'm waiting for a press release from Disney or EM.TV's website.

    And (man, I'm about to DEFEND Disney), I'd IMAGINE that ABC went with "Disney's Doug" (formerly Brand Spankin' New Doug), is possibly to avoid confusion with Nickelodeon's Doug. I'm sure they don't want kids or their parents confusing this with their rival's show. As for Winnie the Pooh, my thinking (remember thinking) is, well, with Walt Disney TV Animation actually drawing and producing the series, it can be "Disney's Winnie the Pooh." And, in Disney's defense (in this part at least), on the tags and such of Pooh merchandise, it does say "Based on the creation of A.A. Milne and Stephen..." or something like that. And there were, at one point, Classic Pooh stuff at The Disney Store. Almost like the deal Disney did with Tarzan by sticking Edgar Rice Burroughs' name on some of the stuff.

    And, just to stick a knife in Valentine's pants, he was the one basically started the whole line on Disney video sequels in the first place. While I wish they wouldn't do it (at least with the classics), I don't buy the videos, and liked the sequels to "Aladdin," "Lion King," and especially "An Extremely Goofy Movie" soooo, that's about it.
  8. ryhoyarbie

    ryhoyarbie Well-Known Member

    so disney might buy the muppets......hmmm...i think disney is just trying to play around with the people at henson. honestly, i don't think they care about owning the muppets because the muppets aren't something that has value now a days. if disney does buy the muppets, i don't think they're going to be doing anything with them. they might have the muppets do a few specials, and even a tv movie or two, but that maybe it. and if they do buy the muppets, i don't think disney will like to have the new muppet show, if the show is still going to air, on fox because fox and disney are competitors; and since disney owns abc and not fox, then disney might not have the new muppet show on fox, if disney does buy the muppets and the new muppet show is still going to go through.

  9. Chilly Down

    Chilly Down Well-Known Member

    Daniel, I appreciate the level of stress and anxiety the buyout news is causing you (we're all feeling it), but there's no need to get personal on other members of the forum. They're just expressing their opinion, as is their right here. Most of us, at any rate, are not gung-ho Disney; we're "oh, well, this may not work out, but what choice have we got? Let's hope for the best." Valentine may very well have been great for the Muppets, but the fact is that he is no longer in the running. Pretty much, the Muppets can be bought out by Disney now, or EM.TV can keep ignoring them and trying to sell them for several years.

    MuppetCentral.com: "The source who expected a deal shortly said Disney had offered $70 million in cash for the rights to the Muppet movie catalog and characters but not for Henson's special-effects workshop, the Creature Shop.."

    Foz: "It says right there they want the catalog of movies and the characters rights. Not the company."

    Foz, re-read that. It says Disney wants the Muppets but not *the Creature Shop*. It doesn't mention JHC either way. I would hate the buyout if it meant the end of jobs for all JHC employees (including, possibly, the puppeteers?). But let's wait for more news before we reach an alarmist state. I'm still unconvinced that the article writer knew what he or she was talking about (since they're so often wrong).
  10. scarecroe

    scarecroe Well-Known Member

    Yeah, once this business is all done and put to rest, we're all gonna need some therapy :sympathy:
  11. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

  12. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, who knows what two years of this crap can do to ya...:crazy:
  13. danielromens

    danielromens Well-Known Member

    Sorry Chilly Down no offense intended and as I can tell none too seriously taken. Again apologies friend

    Boy Raisin, about the therepy, you have no idea. I'm starting to look less like myself and more like what happens when bunsen and beaker have a baby.
  14. danielromens

    danielromens Well-Known Member

    Raisin here's one of the most unfortunate thing about that new article in retrospect...
    Sources said Saban believed the Henson characters had deteriorated under EM.TV. The German company bought the Henson company from the Henson family three years ago for $680 million.

    "They completely mismanaged the business," a media source said. "They didn't put any fresh money into the company."

    Too bad, maybe Saban had some good plans for them after all.

    Also interesting is that Disney does want the company, though I still think it's a bad idea. Again too many characters on the boat, who gets to stick around if the ship starts sinking?
  15. Chilly Down

    Chilly Down Well-Known Member

    Daniel: No harm done. :)

    BoyRaisin, thanks for posting that article. That was interesting. It's refreshing to hear them say JHC instead of just the Muppets. Now let's hope *this* reporter was the one who got it right.

    We've also got a new deadline: Apr. 30. Of course, EM.TV's blown so many deadlines at this point...

    Can I just say how amusing it is that the caption identifies Miss Piggy and Kermit (who most people probably know anyway), but doesn't identify Clifford? LOL! Poor guy. The reporter probably had no idea who Clifford was.
  16. BoyRaisin2

    BoyRaisin2 Well-Known Member

    Hey, I'm surprised that a Disney spokeswoman even COMMENTED on the thing. Funny, on Friday afternoon, after the Valentine thing surfaced but before the Disney articles same, I made a call to Disney (which I do often), to see if they were in talks to buy JHC (which I usually ask). After being transferred several times, I keep asking, no one knows anything about Disney and JHC (which usually happens). Same old, same old.

    Moving on...

    As for deadlines. In May 2001, it was Dec 2001. Oct 2001, it was Oct. 2002 (even though in May '02, a Muppet sale "loomed"). By that time, it was year's end. By Dec, it was Jan. By Jan., Feb. Right now, next month!

    As for Clifford, he's cool. Maybe, TOO cool.
  17. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Here's the article for those who don't wanna go to the site:

    Muppets may go to Disneyland


    Disney's in and kids TV titan Haim Saban's out in a new round of bidding for Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog.
    Disney has resurfaced as a leading contender to buy Muppets house Jim Henson Co., following the collapse last week of a deal between Henson's owner, German media group EM.TV, and ex-UPN Network chief Dean Valentine.

    Disney's offering about $70 million for the fabled company founded by deceased puppeteer Jim Henson, said sources close to the deal. Its interest is driven in part by nostalgia for the characters it once nearly acquired from Henson himself.

    EM.TV's investment banker Richard Fields of Allen & Co. declined to comment.

    Zenia Mucha, a Disney spokeswoman, confirmed the media empire's interest but denied Disney's leading the pack among the Henson bidders.

    "There are a number of people interested," Mucha told the Daily News. "We're one of many."

    While the Mouse House is back in the Muppets hunt, Saban - the media bigwig who ruled kids TV with his Power Rangers cartoons - has walked away from the table, sources said.

    Saban, who is currently bidding on Germany's bankrupt KirchMedia, declined to comment.

    Sources said Saban believed the Henson characters had deteriorated under EM.TV. The German company bought the Henson company from the Henson family three years ago for $680 million.

    "They completely mismanaged the business," a media source said. "They didn't put any fresh money into the company."

    Among the biggest turnoffs: Henson's current management team cut a number of long-term licensing deals that collect relatively low royalty fees, the source said.

    An exec close to EM.TV said the cash-strapped German media company has made strides with the Muppets, pointing to a recent NBC TV special.

    But he added, "EM.TV has had a couple of tough years and that lack of attention has certainly made it much more difficult."

    The pressure's building. EM.TV faces an April 30 deadline from its banks to find a buyer for Jim Henson in order to pay off a $28 million loan.

    In addition to Disney, New York-based licensing company Classic Media also is said to be circling.

    Back in December, Disney, Classic, and Saban all lost out to an investment group led by Valentine, former head of mini-TV network UPN.

    But sources said EM.TV jumped the gun in announcing the Valentine deal, to satisfy its banks and that it fell apart because Valentine didn't have enough financing. Valentine declined to comment.

    Originally published on March 11, 2003
    CD: This article states "Disney's offering about $70 million for the fabled company..." and this time doesn't even mention leaving out The Creature Shop. Of course, most folks don't know to ask about the Creature Shop because they don't realize the link to JHC.
    I still don't see a positive end to this if Disney gets the Muppets, but we'll see.
  18. DrGoshposh

    DrGoshposh Active Member

    I hate to be negative, because the Muppets have meant so much to me in my life, but people are afraid the a Disney buyout will be the death of the Muppets' creativity. Well, honestly, where has that creativity been in the last few years. I understand there are a lot of factors involved in making TV and movies, but look at Kermit Swamp Years. They had a DVD release, and look what they came up with. I was sorely disappointed. The Christmas movie was very enjoyable, but had the company been on top of things, the slow and dull parts would have hit the cutting room floor instead of the air-waves. And I don't see how the Muppets From Space script was green-lighted. I think it needed more work. So, as a total Henson fanatic, I'm devoted to the Muppets, but I'm disappointed with most of the recent projects.

    Another worry people have here is that Disney will buy the Muppets to bury them, to get them out of the way. That is ludicrous. Really, what competition do Kermit and Company offer Disney now? In terms of media saturation and visability, the Disney Characters have the Muppets beat hands down. If Disney makes this purchase in these tough financial times, they will want to make money with them. If the Muppets then go bad, it will be because of a bad management decision, and, honestly, JHC has made its share of those.

    I think the bottom line is that Disney knows how to make money on its properties. When I think about it, I am shocked that the Muppet Show, and Fraggle Rock aren't anywhere on TV in the US. Sure the Muppet Show is a little dated, but it is classic entertainment, and it could find a home somewhere on cable. And Fraggle Rock is probably the best children's show ever. Why aren't they visible? Because of poor decisions in Henson management. Disney would use the Henson library to make money, and this means we may have a chance to watch or buy DVDs of all our favorite Muppet projects.

    I agree that creatively, Disney has been lacking lately, but I don't think the whole company should be judged based primarily on one division [TV animation (sequel) division]. It doesn't seem that every Disney division has lowered it's standards (Touchstone; Hollywood Records; any of their television producers; Do people here have any problems with those?

    So, to sum it up, Henson has had creative problems and less than excellent management on its own. Disney would give the characters and the library exposure; it will make them money. Disney would also put money into the Muppets by hiring good writers and directors. None of us should have any doubt about that. Plus, it would be nice for the Muppets to finally have a home, and not be at the mercy of egomanical media tycoons. I hope things work out for Disney in this case.

    And again, I say this with all due respect to the folks at Henson.

  19. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Henson has produced new stories; Disney has produced new sequels, ruining classics.

    The only thing Disney really has to offer is a brand name which people buy because "Disney" is on the package. Heck, the government would legalize pot and coccaine if Disney had a label on it (well, they kind of did: Fantasia! {get it? :) }).*

    I just cannot pull it out of me to think it's okay for Disney to have them should such a deal go through.

    That, plus when (at MuppetFest) Disney was mentioned the whole audience "BOO"ed at the name!! LOL!!


    Who was the very first person who KNEW at the first announcement of EM.TV that things would go belly-up? Me. I do not feel comfortable with Disney, Time-Warner, or Saban.

    These are only my own opinions, though.

    (*being slightly sarcastic and NOT endorsing pot or coccaine--that stuff lead to the death of John Belushi, and can kill you, too.)
  20. danielromens

    danielromens Well-Known Member

    SIZE=1](*being slightly sarcastic and NOT endorsing pot or coccaine--that stuff lead to the death of John Belushi, and can kill you, too[/SIZE]

    actually it was more booze and cocaine, please, let's leave marijuana out of this:D

    Back to the subject at hand. I don't know what to think folks. On the one hand I have a company I loathe, who makes millions of dollars off of making crap, simply because they know the public has been conditioned to think that they are still at the top of the animation game, unaware that they simply own characters that others create and write. They also take brilliant classics and use them to pump out ill concieved work which is finally taking a toll on their name and is slowly chipping away at their credibility and stock.
    Now that company wants to buy a company that I love, who continues to struggle to get their lost creator's creations out of kiddie fare limbo, in a world where the same public has been conditioned to see them as juvenile because of unwise choices in spinoffs and because of beliefs regarding the loathesome companys production and direction which it forced said smaller company to make it's movies. The small company has also been plagued with mismanagement and is trapped in a continual limbo due to the Hussien like innability to follow deadline of an even more loathable German company who has further hurt the company because they are trying to make up for poor choices that they made with their own finances.

    Yet at the same time the smaller company has made dilligent and enormous strides in getting it's product more exposure than it has seen in a very long time due to finally making wise decisions in marketing and merchandising, choosing to go with more classy and popular styles of products and aiming the campaigne where it should have been aimed since it's creators death, at adults and long time fans. We were shown what they can do with modern pop references and some smarter writing leaving fluff and childrens jokes to a minimum. We've been given busts, action figures, panties, lamps, not kiddie fare. They are appearing in hot topic and spencer gifts and possibly to be seen in comics. The targets are fan boys and subculture, the very people who helped boost them to prominence in the first place. People who loved their creator for his individuality and his steadfast manner in which he refused to give in to the life of the big business, choosing instead the handshake, and the honest buck instead of gobbling up his foes with lawyers.

    It makes me wish the creator would have succeeded in the early eighties when the tables were turned and it was he and the small company who wanted to purchase the big fish. Imagine the world of imagination then. Maybe the small companies inner american management isn't as bad as we think. Sometimes the best work comes last minute and in a time of crisis. They are finally wising up and listening to thier fans and trying to push the characters into the mainstream. It makes me wonder what they could accomplish with more money and little interference.

    If the characters do get swallowed now, it will be because of slow process due to their current owner, for it's greed and not selling them while they are gaining momentum. Their current owner for denying them success because of it's own failures and it's unwillingness to let go of it's mistakes. Whatever happens next lets hope it happens soon, before it's too late, and let's also hope that all the parties looking to buy them, use them shortly their after to keep the momentum going.

    Do I want Disney? No I do not. Not because their evil or because of what they produce, though yes it's a small part, but because at the present time all I see them doing is buying another company that gives them competion. So that that companies funds becomes their companies funds. In a time when Disney is starting to slump financially and see a drop in the success of their family line of animation, and their own products, what makes you think that they will throw so much money at making the muppets work again? I certainly don't see why that would happen. A company with so many properties to take care of that they only concentrate on a few at a time, because they really don't have the money to fund new ground, only buy the rights and syndicate what's already there.

    Yet we curse Valentine efforts for wanting an entertainment empire of his own. Who cares if he makes direct to video releases. It's the content of those videos that matters and if it's geared to the right place so be it. He has a clear plan and a belief that he is trying to buy a good product, more importantly a product that he feels the public wants to see.

    He himself said
    "We are committed to continuing the legacy of creativity, humor and humanity that marked everything Jim Henson touched," Valentine said in a statement. "At the same time we feel there is enormous potential for growth, not merely from Kermit and the Muppets, but from the expansion of the Henson brand into all areas of family entertainment."
    "The characters have really been, at worst, dormant," Mr. Valentine said. If they can once again be aggressively put in front of the TV audience with well- written material, he added, "I really do believe they are on the verge of a significant renaissance."

    It makes me wonder what the modified terms were that EM.TV placed on the deal to make it sour. It's sad really, we had the chance to see the company in the hands of someone who would put the company ahead of any other characters, since their are none. Someone who has already done so for the big fish we've been arguing about, and knows how to do it well. It's a shame really.

    Again, lets just hope for something to actually happen one of these days, and then let's hope the next crew doesn't screw it up like the current owner.

    Sorry so long winded. I'm tired and lost all of my ability to tell when to quit.

    later guys. take care.

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