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Henson is Evergreen

Discussion in 'Muppet Headlines' started by Chad Kermit, Jul 12, 2002.

  1. Chad Kermit New Member

    This may be old news for the most part. But it is a positive article from Variety 07/01/02


    Posted: Mon., Jul. 1, 2002

    Henson reigns supreme as the king of evergreen


    It's common enough for a company to rack up instant name recognition within the close confines of the kids entertainment business, but that recognition rarely gets duplicated in consumer circles. In its 47-year history, The Jim Henson Company has never once strayed from its mandate to exclusively produce first-rate family entertainment programming. And the end-result of that steadfast refusal to consider less-than-stellar concepts is that its very name has become globally synonymous with timeless brands and characters. "Our success has to do with the fact that we tell fantastic stories, and we focus on high-quality classic brands," says CEO Charles Rivkin succinctly. "The library, like everything we do, is evergreen."

    Although the future ownership of Henson and its 600-hour library remains a little murky as EM.TV continues to entertain purchase offers from the likes of Disney, Viacom, AOL Time Warner and a Henson management contingent led by Rivkin, one thing is for sure: whoever buys the company is going to look like a genius in the next year or so.

    Not only will the lucky bidder have picked up the esteemed company for a song now that the asking price is hovering around US$ 200 million (as opposed to the US$ 680 million EM paid two and a half years ago), but it will also be associated with one of the most anticipated and highest-profile comebacks since Michael Jordan took to the courts again.

    To be sure, the Henson library is chock-full of high-quality hits for viewers of every age--including Bear in the Big Blue House, The Hoobs, Farscape and Brats of the Lost Nebula. But it's one of the company's oldest shows--and the one that cuts the widest target demographic swath--that's stealing all the limelight right now, as Henson ramps up to launch a new Muppets TV vehicle next spring.

    In development with Team Todd (the sister duo that spawned the Austin Powers franchise) and Fox Broadcasting Company, the revamp will break with the traditional Muppet Show framework and buttress the original cast with new characters. "We are already getting a lot of interest in the new Muppets project," says Patrick Elmendorff, president of television distribution for EM.TV, which was still selling the Henson catalog internationally at press time. "By looking at the producers, buyers know that the show will be a very different kind of revival."

    Licensees are also clamoring to jump on-board an all-new merchandising program that has already starting rolling out globally in celebration of The Muppets' 25th anniversary. The program is comprised of two distinctly separate lines: the funkier "Downtown Muppets" umbrella for teens and young adults ages 12 to 29, and the "Classic Muppets" product grouping for parents over 30. New licensees include Sugar D (lingerie and pajamas) 2 the Max (stationery items and fashion tees), Rittenhouse Archives (bobbleheads), Pyramid Posters, Photo Me (photo booths), Palisades (action figures) and TNS Accessories (clocks).

    Not to be outperformed, the Henson marketing team is putting all of its muscle behind the revival effort as well. The Muppets will be splashed on the cars of eight NASCAR teams this summer, and Miss Piggy and Kermit are the stars of a UPS TV ad in which they implore NASCAR driver Dale Jarret to swap his racecar for the brown UPS van. Also in the works for November is a large-scale in-store promotion with a major North American retailer. Says Rivkin: "We've never before given the Muppet franchise the type of support that we're giving it right now. You'll see tons of Muppets in the market all of a sudden, and it will certainly appear as if the keys to the kingdom have been found."

    If the Muppets comeback is well-received, Henson plans to explore other revival projects--with Fraggle Rock being sized up as the next candidate, according to Isabel Miller, executive VP of consumer products worldwide. But the company is equally dedicated to refreshing its catalog with new shows. Henson is currently working on 100 additional hours of programming, including It's a Wonderful Muppet Christmas Movie for prime-time NBC and a new show called Penelope that's in production Down Under with Yoram Gross--EM.TV.
  2. Phillip Administrator

    Thanks for the article Chad. Very interesting perspective with the glass is "half full" and not "half empty" approach.
  3. BlueFrackle Active Member

    Guys,

    Hmmmm...

    Interesting, I think a Fraggle Rock revival could work.
    Everyone is here except Richard, and David Rudman could pull Junior Gorg off i think.

    Lets see what happens!

    See ya
  4. Luke Active Member

    Jack and the Beanstalk ? Tomie DePaulo ? I rest my case and ask the jury to be lenient in sentencing.

    All i can say is, a) nice artcle but b)

    BOBBLEHEADS

    Yayyyyyyy !
  5. skankin-frackle New Member

    wow and just think what great charecters the muppet workshop could build.......oop"s they fired us oh well guess they will just use the old toasty rotten puppets and give them new names .too bad might have been an interesting project.
  6. Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Bobble heads...Didn't I ask for that a while back....?
  7. doctort13 Member

    DVDs

    With over 600 hours of programming, I sure hope that they intend to jump into the deep end of the DVD pool.

    The release of the Muppets Show to the retail market is a good sign. Let's hope that Fraggle Rock, Dinosaurs, and ALL of the company's work gets proper release on DVD.
  8. BoyRaisin2 Active Member

    My 100th message:

    Or for the people (them being me) who do not have DVD, put the library on VHS (or on TV so I can record it).
  9. gymkatarules New Member

    Dinosaurs, The Storyteller, and even Fraggle Rock would be easy to compile on DVD. Personally, I really would like some more Sesame Street of some sort on DVD. I have the 20th Anniversary Musical Celebration, but everything else available on DVD is, like, Elmo Says Boo and stuff that I don't want. It would be amazing if they could just put together a few DVD sets of "The Complete Bert & Ernie" or something like that. Just all of their skits on a few DVDs. Anything like that, meant for collectors and grown ups like us. Man. One can wish, can't he?

    -Chris
  10. Bean Bunny New Member

    Sesame Street Issue

    Henson, no longer has control over the Sesame Street characters, Sesame Workshop does.
  11. gymkatarules New Member

    Oh, I know. They meaning whomever would have the guts to go for it. Please.

    -Chris

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