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Theories why Bear came to an end

Discussion in 'Bear in the Big Blue House' started by beaker, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Just curious if anyone had any theories as to why the Bear character/Noel Macneil, the characters and the whole franchise was terminated by Disney? Not only is the main show gone, as well as any other spinoffs, but even the character and merchandise itself is no more.

    From 1997 til the early 2000's, parents and kids alike were in wonderment from BITBBH. Everywhere I went that sold Bear stuff, kids really lit up and parents were quite happy to buy it up. The dvds are always rented out at my local library, I remember parents even enquiring to Disney store up to a few years ago what happened to Bear and the merch or dvds.

    The last time Bear was used or seen was for the Jerry Lewis telethon in 2007, which has long been a traditional place for Muppet related appearances.

    But why...why would Disney pretty much terminate and kill such a beloved, smart and wonderful children's show? Even as a "grownup" I could fully appreciate and get into the show, and see how well it musta connected to a much younger audience.

    I greatly applaud what Disney has afoot for the Muppet gang, but I am confused and saddened as to why Disney has chosen to pack up what would still be a great franchise and series for kids. Especially compared to all the other stuff out there.
  2. Princeton

    Princeton Active Member

    A lot of people I've talked to seem to think that Whoopi Goldberg's guest appearance contributed to the cancellation.
  3. sparklefairy

    sparklefairy New Member

    I'm so sad that my son was born too late to go to a bear " live," show or " meet," bear. My little man is almost 3 and loves bear so much.

    There is so much rubbish on T.V for kids now. Bear always had good messages about friendship, love and how to be a good person. He could get these points across without preaching or talking down to children.
    There were always things that children could relate to, such as starting school, or pre school, ( first day at mouse school). My son really could relate to tutter as he himself has started pre school. I could relate to bear as he sat in the parents waiting area lol! I had to chuckle as I was the same, waiting ( Or hiding!) in the staff room spying on my little man through the window feeling soooooo emotional :cry:

    The songs are catchy without being overly annoying. The characters are funny, sweet, charming and capture that childhood innocence I wish we could all hold on to for a bit longer.

    I'm so sad that there is no more bear :cry:

    ( and bear stuff if next to impossible to find now!)
  4. NMac

    NMac New Member

    It's complicated but I can say this: 1.) Whoopi had nothing to do with the demise and 2.) Disney completely supported the show and even came up with the spin-off, "Breakfast With Bear."

    I'm very proud of the work Bear and I did and of everyone who helped make this show such a legacy in children's television. To everyone who came to "visit," thank you.
  5. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    It's such a beautifully filmed and crafted show. What appears seamless to us is likely far more complicated and expensive than we know. I hope they bring back Bear and Tutter someday. Things are cyclical so it's not out of the question. With the "Muppets Movie", "Power of the Dark Crystal" and "Happytime Murders" there could be a renaissance of puppetry that will inspire Disney to revive the beloved Bear. :cry:
  6. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I don't see how hard it would be to TRY to rerun this series soemwhere (there's talk of a Disney Junior network, that would probably fit pretty good there) or at LEAST rerelease the DVD's (or release some new ones) under the Disney label like Lionsgate did with Wubulous World of Dr. Seuss. I don't think they'd even need a big new shiny project to relaunch the character, just reruns and DVD's and new merchandise. It's really depressing how Disney just has the same kind of shows Nick Jr. has... bleh... all the while letting this slip by. I really dislike how Mickey's Clubhouse came out, nor do I like Pooh and Tigger as detective super hero things... and Handy Manny is a lame attempt at being another country... aside from being an obvious clone of Bob the Builder, it tries but fails at being the Postman Pat/ Fireman Sam type show it wants to be.

    At least give ol' Bear a cameo in the new movie.
  7. Luke

    Luke Active Member

    Nmac .. and so you should be proud. One of the best childrens series and characters in many many years. Fantastic work from all involved, which gave lots of little ones much enjoyment, and quite a few "big ones" too lol.

    It would be fabulous to see Bear cameo in a Muppet production sometime, if it were possible.
  8. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    And we thank you! In the 30 plus years I've been a huge Muppet/Henson related fan, your Bear character and his overall message and personality stands as one of my favorite characters. The "Bear brand" overall I feel is the best thing since Fraggle Rock. And even if the Jerry Lewis telethon ends up being the last Bear thing ever, Im grateful to have the dvds and vhs to
    show my future kids. There's something just inherently soothing and celebrational about the big orange furball and that furrowed brow of curiosity. I know as well, we'd be happy to see you working in the capacity of Sesame/Henson/Muppet related productions or projects, as well as take off with your own creative works.

    For many people, we'll continue to cha-cha-cha and sniff away long into the future:)
  9. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    Bear was at Muppetfest, but I think that even though Bear was technically part of the JHC "Muppet buyout", that Disney would see the character as part of the Muppets brand. It would be super cool tho.

    I agree 100% that Disney NEEDS to run Bear on one of their channels. Given how many episodes were produced, they could easily air it daily for some time to come. There's nothing at all dated about the feel or freshness of the show, and I guarantee the show's charm, kookyness, catchy songs and warmth would deeply resonate with children today. It's so rare for Henson to create a really magical post Fraggle Rock kid's show, and I feel they struck gold with Bear. What puzzles me is how Disney bought/retained ownership of the Bear property in 2004, but have done very little(if anything) since then. How does Disney not see it as a goldmine, even if its just endless reruns and new dvds/merchandise?
  10. KirbTreelo05

    KirbTreelo05 Active Member

    This is the very thread that encouraged me to start posting here again. I had to say something.

    I wish Disney would have at least said something regarding the anniversary plans. To say something like they tried doing this and that but it didn’t work out. I would have preferred it rather than leaving us hanging. That way we wouldn’t assume: “OH! DISNEY DOESN’T CARE ABOUT BEAR AT ALL!”

    They made it look like those who spread the word about the plans were lying… D:

    I still can’t get over that disappointment I had when next to nothing happened. It makes me sad to know that all the things they had in store for Bear ‘n’ Co. never came to existence.

    I got back into the series in late 2006, so I missed a LOT of what went on. Probably the most I regret missing out on were TV appearances by Bear. I’ve only been able to see two but I hardly saw either of them. The first when my sister let me know he was on “Hollywood Squares” (Only saw up from the “law school” quote), and second on the 2007 Jerry Lewis telethon (This appearance I saw even less of. I didn’t know when he was going to be on, so I tried watching it from the beginning. I was forced to go to bed. When he finally did appear the next morning, my brother kept preventing me from seeing much of it since I wasn’t finished with something for school. That one little girl he was talking to looked through him like a glass of water… ಠ_ಠ Heartbreaking.) I desperately want to see Bear’s appearances from The WDW Parade and The Wayne Brady Show. (Could someone please post or send me those if you can? :excited: )

    I know it’s already been said but it’s true: BitBBH is a heck of a lot better than what’s shown today. There are a few gems out there, but there will never be one with such quality and feel as this. Bear is such a keeper! I hope that whatever the problem(s) may have been can get resolved soon or whatever that needs to be done in order for a revival to take place. The franchise doesn’t deserve to be packed away in the vault like some forgotten memory; it’s special. Disney doesn’t know what they’re missing here!

    By the way, why do people think Whoopi Goldberg has to do with the cancellation? If it was, all they’d have to do is stop airing the only episode she guest stared in, not the entire series all together.

    I can totally imagine Bear on the Hub. Didn't they say they had "more Muppets than you can shake a Muppet at"? :) With Fraggle Rock already on there, it's even more fitting.

    Did a double-take at "Bear and I" as I was reading. Some how I forgot whose account that was. :o lol

    Thank you Mr. M C:

    Thanks to everyone else who also brought so much joy to my life and others through this fantastic work. ^u^

    Ohmygosh. If this can happen, it NEEDS to. ._. A crossover would be WONDERFUL. I’d love to see how they’d react to each other.
  11. HeyButtahfly

    HeyButtahfly Well-Known Member

    Thank you, NMac! I also miss Bear and when I remember the gentle and playful spirit about him, I smile.
  12. muppetperson

    muppetperson Well-Known Member

    Maybe Disney doesnt know what to do with Bear as he doesnt fit in with their "usual" style of films entertainment.It is a pre school learning show that Disney doesnt have much to do with.I think they should merge Bear into the Muppet troupe.
  13. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    Something's very fishy about the whole thing. Disney has been so supportive of the Muppets and yet they've totally forgotten about and dropped Bear like a hot potato.

    Bear was a huge hit for Disney and was a much needed jolt to childrens television in general providing that increasingly rare animal - a heartfelt show that effectively taught, entertained, and totally captivated kids and was also embraced by adults/parents with incredible characters, writing, and songs.

    Breakfast with Bear seemed like a generic placeholder. Something to keep the brand active until "what came next". Not that it wasn't without its moments but it was largely a way to keep Bear visible. Not that that's a bad thing at all - that's certainly FAR more preferable than the nothingness of the last few years.

    Maybe Bear got lost in the shuffle amid the three management changes within the Muppet department of Disney. By the time they got their current leadership, perhaps the fact they still had Bear somewhere within their properties got totally lost.

    Yet wasn't there announecements that there would be quite a bit of stuff coming up with BITBBH's 10th anniversary? Maybe there was nothing official and it was all fan/fansite speculation but i could swear there was official announcements/press releases to that effect.

    No airings of Bear but also the complete disappearance of dvds/cds? Unacceptable. This is not a show that should be so actively forgotten about or let go. It's solely been the word of mouth and actions of former Bear fans passing the show on to their kids, relatives, and friends that keep it alive and that's just wrong.

    As a sidenote, there are lots of Whoopi haters out there so any rumors about her (voice only) guest appearance had anything to do with her are just those wackos imposing their agenda into something totally bizarre. Whoopi's numerous appearances with the Muppets and Sesame Street sure hasn't hurt them any, have they?

    The only reason i can see for Bear not continuing would be the sad loss of the actress who provided Luna's voice. But that's by no means insurmountable and in face Disney WAS able to go on with the show in regards to recasting her for live shows.

    Bear is desperately missed and needed. It filled a huge niche in childrens television which has only left all that much more bigger a hole since its departure. The show's been off the air for enough years to where all Disney would have to do is air the reruns/rerelease the dvds to a whole new group of kids and their appreciative fans. Given Disney Channel's early morning children programming, it wouldn't be out of place or not fit in. 2011 may be the Year of the Muppets but i think we fans should band together to make sure that what seems more like the "red-headed stepchild" doesn't get forgotten and ignored but rather revived.
  14. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    There are just so many things you listed that actually answered themselves.

    Bear was a much needed jolt, sure... but now people don't want jolt, they want (or are told to want) this anal retentive, highstrung stuff that treats the kids like they're all very slow and unintelligent, having characters wait around to answer their own questions while talking very slowly. I truly believe that Blue's Clues was one of the horsemen of the children's TV Apocalypse, and everyone who was everyone one was copying that format. EVEN Sesame Street (Journey to Ernie).

    Disney's preschool line up consists of multiple shows EXACTLY like that. I'd hate to see them do a CGI Bear where he asks viewers where the red triangle is (right behind him) for 20 seconds when an artificial audience voice over shouts the answer, then congratulating the real audience for not doing anything. I've said it a million times, TV (at least as we know it in ways we know) is NOT an interactive medium. Shows like Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers, and even Bear treated the audience as just that. They'd talk to them and encourage them to participate in on screen activities, but only like they're friendly TV personalities talking directly to their audience.

    As for DVD's... let's put it this way.

    Disney is HORRIBLE at releasing things on DVD. Sure, when it comes to movies, they can do no wrong, but when it comes to TV shows, they have no bloody idea what they're doing at all ever ever in the history of ever. We've been lucky thus far with the Muppet Show releases (some rights hiccup is definitely at fault with the lateness of S4, so you can't even say they don't wanna do it), but they feel like they have to sell the same amount of TV DVD's as their movies. We have incomplete Disney Afternoon releases. That was the best they could do. Even with their high rated Phineas and Ferb, they can't release the show unless they cobble it into "movies." Seriously, compete season sets won't KILL you!

    Think of it this way. You'd think that as Popular as Winnie the Pooh is, we would have seen better New Adventures of Winne the Pooh releases. We got like 2 3 episode singles and that was it.

    Now, I'm not expecting complete series sets of Bear with a milliondy trillion special features... a series of single disk releases, even subcontracted, may just get interest in the property again. Or reruns, but as they're set in their ways with preschool programming (which is like preprepreschool now), it's not such an easy task.

    I'm not saying we need new episodes (though that would be great) but just releasing what you have will go far enough.
  15. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    I couldn't have said it better! Disney owns all the rights now, heck it was a Disney/JHC venture to begin with, and had always had Disney Channel television rights....such is why their refusal to air it on any of their channels makes no sense.

    I think some sort of internal politics or *something* we're not privy too is the reason. Barney is still on the air, and I would never ever let my kid watch that insult of a show.
    I'm grateful I at least have some of the dvds.

    I agree...I think Muppet fans should petition Disney for two things: 1) Bring back Bear and 2) Have an official Muppet gathering/weekend at their parks!

    I say fans should just take to downloading. Seriously, I know thats "taboo" to say, but honestly...waiting 15-35 years for the home release of shows is baloney. Yes, downloading is what killed the anime dvd industry in America...but these companies have to learn that they can't toy with fans like that.

    Second, it is absolutely terrible just how far down the evolutionary scale children's morning programming has fallen.
    I thought it was bad with Blue's Clues, Barney and Telletubbies...but the "pause" stuff is just ridiculous.
    Not to mention, wayyyyy too many shoddy cgi series. The cgi is so bad, that it would have been laughed out of a room back in 1984. Reboot had better cg in 1994 than this stuff(like that Mickey Mouse one)

    Bear treated kids with respect while celebrating the senses, imagination and discovering fun and warmth. I was 19 when the show debuted, and it "jolted" me as you'd say for just how darn magical and infectious it was. I'm glad the Hub is showing Fraggle Rock, as its about time FR was shown on cable...but Bear, why Disney would abandon the franchise is beyond me.
  16. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    It's a PBS thing. They have shows that last for god knows how long and then they slowly ease them out. heck, the flop bomb failure of Boohbah was on for at least 3 years of deep discount clearance toys and merchandise no one wanted before they got rid of it. It is the same longevity that kept Sesame Street on for 40 + years (as well as Mr. Rogers for 30 something), and unfortunately it kept a lot of flash in the pan garbage like Barney long after anyone even cared. Teletubbies was on for 10 years about. It was an annoying fad, and that's it.

    Well, it partially did... the Japanese animation studios give us such annoying red tape when it comes to licensing it to another company, and they're completely fumble thumbs when they license it themselves. They also push the new, similar, and frankly uninteresting stuff (mostly lame moe garbage) and we never get the great classics that shaped the tropes of all the dumb kiddy toy commercials that they still show. Not to mention the idiotic cultural gaps that keep us from getting GOOD kid's shows like Doraemon. So basically the downloaders have a hand in it, but its also their own dang fault (people who bought just as illegally taped off TV stuff from Korean grocers in the 80's were the same thing anyway, but they brought interest into it when no one else cared).


    Exactly. It's all about how cheap and ugly and loud they can make these things. They're all really disposable (unfortunately not Dora which has been around WAAAAY longer than it should have) and replaceable with similar looking and sounding junk. I wish more shows took the Wubzy and Mr. Men show route and actually made a SHOW first and put educational stuff intermittently into it, instead of making the entire show about pausing and looking for stuff like it's a cheap computer game.

    Bear just doesn't fit into that. He's not a cheap CGI character that sits around asking questions an imaginary audience answers. Sesame Street even bowed down to that bad model to some extent (they shook it off for the most part). All the shows Disney wants to air are exactly the same as everything else. Sure, I'm glad they got Pete and Ludwig VonDrake in that show, but all the taken for granted Disney characters in the world can't make MMCH interesting for kids over the age of too young to have an imprint.
  17. beaker

    beaker Well-Known Member

    I feel Sesame Street is quality. I know some(including those in a somewhat unofficial Sesame Workshop capacity) feel annoyed by Murray Monster's sudden rise to Sesame fame(yet there's zero merchandise or anything for him as of yet), but it's nowhere like Elmo proportions.(I've made my piece about the Elmo takeover, and realize part of Sesame Workshop's ability to even survive is due to Elmo merchandising power and viability...plus "Being Elmo" the doc about Kevin Clash's life with Sesame Street is having major film industry buzz right now)

    Since the early 80's as a Muppet fan I've rarely seen a character like Noel's Bear capture a sense of warmth, inclusion, and fun.
    I couldn't get into Big Bag. I definitely could not get into Animal Jam(as much as I like the puppet designs) And maybe it's a cultural thing, but I had a hard time getting into The Hoobs(tho I do have a softspot for Mopatop)
    However I strongly feel Bear In the Big Blue House is the rightful heir to being a strong third franchise, and it is truly the best franchise in Muppetdom since Fraggle Rock ended. One of the intentions of a Henson product is to both entertain but comfort and bring out a sense of wonder. CGI is too sterile to do that, as much as I know JHC has worked hard on Sid and Dinosaur Train.

    I believe there is a deep longing, even a sadness amongst parents who feel dismayed by not having Bear around. Who remember the great 1997-2002 run and are confused as to why the carpet was so suddenly yanked from the franchise. I can almost guarantee there are still parents who send emails to Disney or inquire to Disney stores as to why Bear is no more.
    I just remember how 1999-2001 parents and kids alike just really lit up with joy when they happened upon Bear merchandise, or even Bear dvds. For Disney to have taken that away for no given reason seems pretty lousy.

    I sometimes feel like the rabid Muppet fans into TMS and Fraggle Rock tend to shun from Bear, simply because it's post JH "children's programming". If more Muppet fans opened themselves to and took a BITBBH test drive, they'd see what a magical and engrossing show it is.
  18. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    There is something very special about Fraggle Rock that I have to say I'm liking more than SS and TMS (and I love them both)... the multilayered co-existance of species going through similar problems, maybe? I dunno what it is, but it shines throughout.

    Now, I didn't think much of Bear at first until I saw some clips and bits of episodes (and mostly Bear's appearance on Hollywood Squares where he got a question about shaving... his "And I know about that why?" totally won the character for me) I thought this was a clever little series that's too good to be stuck on cable while PBS farted out bad Thomas the Tank Engine knockoffs (ewww! Jay Jay the Airplane). I'm wondering, just like FR, would it have hit a bigger audience outside of cable. But then again, Disney was standard by then and most of everyone had cable by then.

    I knew I should have bought some of the VHS when they were clearing them out...

    As for Murray? Well, any character in the situation they put him in would have been scrutinized. Personally, I LOVE that they take a character out on the street and have him interact with others (much like Traveling Matt), but I don't like how they reuse so much footage, and I wish they'd refilm new tune ins with Ovejita by his side. Murray's great, but he's even better when he's palling around with the little lamb.
  19. Convincing John

    Convincing John Well-Known Member

    Super Why's gotta be the worst of all of that. (Why don't they cancel that garbage and put Mr. Rogers or Reading Rainbow back on the air in its place?) I wish PBS could air Bear episodes. Kids who didn't get the Disney Channel when Bear originally aired could get a chance to see him.

    Convincing John
  20. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Super Why is utter trash. The CGI looks like an unlicensed Disney movie Knockoff (Ratatoing, The Littlest Cars, the Littlest Toy Story 3). But it supposedly makes money, and it must've been cheap to acquire, as it was produced for Canadian TV and they already got Canadian TV tax credit for it (Someone from Canada has to fill me in about that). I have the same problem with it I have with Barney... basically the whole "Kids like Superheroes" bit, so they wind up making a disturbingly repressive toned down babyfied version of them. Come on... they have Hulk and Spidey diapers now, and even toddlers know super heroes punch stuff. I still don't even GET the super hero angle of the program, actually. Seems they could have been anything. Among other things, I still find the tone of the show and shows like it BEYOND patronizing.

    I swear, PBS was on a rush to get rid of Reading Rainbow, but it wasn't entirely their fault. One of the most depressing things I've seen was LeVarr Burton going up to get the Emmy for outstanding whatever that Reading Rainbow won and basically pleading for someone to fund them. Worst part is, I haven't even seen it on our PBS stations in years before that. PBS wants flashy junk reminiscent of cable to get in as many sponsors as possible because they don't have kid's pledge drives anymore, and everyone watches cable garbage anyway (BEar was not said cable garbage... it was too good to be stuck just on cable). Same reason why SS has to "dumb itself down." PBS is struggling, and it's mainly due to political nature, but mostly their will to be competitive with channels people actually watch.


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