The billing listed it as simply “A Newsnight exclusive”, providing no further details as to who or what the subject might be. But following an interview with the Afghan President, and a feature on the global economic crash, presenter Emily Maitlis shuffled her papers and ended the show with the announcement of an unexpected “star signing”.
“We end with the news tonight that the BBC reversed the flow of talent leaving the organisation today with a star signing,” said Maitlis. “Seame Street’s Cookie Monster joined our presenter roster.”
Maitlis admitted that the popular furry blue Muppet would be appearing “mostly on the children’s channel CBBC (sic)” before attempting to quiz him over the revelations.
“Cookie Monster – why Britain, why the BBC?” asked Maitlis.
“Cooookiiiieee!” replied Monster, before forcing a large chocolate chip biscuit into his mouth.
Despite his apparent reluctance to elaborate further on his new BBC project, RadioTimes.com understands that Cookie Monster will be joining long-term colleague Elmo for a new collaboration between the Sesame Workshop and CBeebies, entitled The Furchester.
The series will follow “a close-knit family of cheerfully incompetent monsters who own and operate an ‘almost’ world-class hotel” and is not expected to air until autumn 2014. Whether Monster will be involved in other BBC projects in the meantime remains unclear but insiders say a regular guest slot on Newsnight is a possibility, with one source even suggesting Maitlis herself “might want to watch her back”.