The resurgence of The Muppets in a new Oscar-nominated movie, and as a satirical force, has apparently inspired BBC bosses to create some puppet-based chat of their own.
The Jim Henson Company – now run by Brian Henson, son of the late Muppets creator – is designing a set of puppets that could appear in a new Saturday teatime series on BBC1.
The show is intended to be a talk show format with the main puppet host potentially based on a real celebrity.
Interviews will be conducted in a “quite cheeky and brash” way intended to appeal to both children and adults.
The BBC will produce an initial not-for-transmission pilot for the project, currently given the working title No Strings Attached, reports Broadcast.
“It’s a really early doors development, but we have high hopes,” said Karl Warner, the BBC’s executive editor for entertainment. “The idea is that it will be very firmly anchored in the world of the chat show, but based around a new character created by the Henson Company.
“The Muppets were a massive phenomenon and nobody seems to have been developing anything in this area for a long time. The Henson Company has shown us some puppets, and their versatility is very exciting, but we are still only in talks at the moment.”
Warner said the puppet presenter could be based on a real person (rather than a frog) and would be “a warm, funny, cheeky, Saturday night host.”
But he added: “If it’s too much of a nod to someone else, we might not be able to do that.”