According to the Hollywood Reporter, Disney+ is changing gears with its planned new scripted take on The Muppets.
Creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis (Once Upon a Time) and Josh Gad (Frozen) have walked away from the scripted comedy, called Muppets Live Another Day, which they had been quietly at work on for months, and Disney+ has opted to abandon work on the series. (Though never officially announced, the project has been in the works since at least February.)
Sources say the creative differences arose after producers Muppets Studios recently changed executives. Kitsis, Horowitz and Gad had been prepping what they playfully referred to as Muppets 1984, an eight-episode limited series that took place after the events of Muppets Take Manhattan. Kitsis and Horowitz had been working directly with Muppets Studios vp Debbie McClellan on the project.
However, McClellan recently departed and Disney CEO Bob Iger tapped Disney Parks Live Entertainment senior vp David Lightbody to take over Muppets Studios. Lightbody, sources say, wanted to do his own take on The Muppets, while Kitsis, Horowitz and Gad felt strongly about their vision for the show. Lightbody is said to have offered the trio the opportunity to move forward with The Muppets in a new way, but they opted to walk away from the show entirely rather than throw away months of work and a concept they believed in. Sources note that the parting was amicable.
The decision to retool the planned Muppets show will not impact the unscripted shortform series Disney+ announced last month at D23. That show — Muppets Now — will feature beloved characters like Kermit and Miss Piggy alongside celebrity guests.
This is probably good news, since the last time ABC/Disney “retooled” The Muppets in 2015, as a sexy, cynical adult show, it was an abysmal failure by every measure. We should count our blessings I suppose.