This story is getting worse and worse.

Kermit actor fired for ‘unacceptable business conduct,’ says studio

The Muppets Studio is blaming “unacceptable business conduct” for its dismissal of Steve Whitmire as the longtime performer of Kermit the Frog.

This explanation, issued Monday, follows Whitmire’s emotional blog post last week after his firing was made public. He said he learned last October that the role of Kermit would be recast.

Whitmire had been with the Muppets since 1978, and took over as Kermit after the untimely death of Muppets founder Jim Henson in 1990.

The Muppets Studio did not detail the nature of Whitmire’s “repeated unacceptable business conduct,” but said it spanned “a period of many years,” adding that “he consistently failed to address” his employers’ feedback.

Whitmire could not immediately be reached for comment, but in an interview Monday with The Hollywood Reporter he said the studio felt he had been too outspoken in expressing how the Kermit character should be portrayed on the ABC prime-time Muppets mockumentary series that aired in 2015-16. Whitmire said he had only been trying to help keep the show “on track.”

The studio said veteran Muppets performer Matt Vogel is now taking over as Kermit.


This is surprising news. Hope Matt Vogel sounds like Kermit.

Longtime Kermit the Frog Voice Actor Replaced After 27 Years

After 27 years, Steve Whitmire will no longer be the voice of Kermit the Frog, a Muppets Studio spokeswoman confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.

Whitmire took over the role of the beloved Muppet frog after character creator Jim Henson died in 1990.

Muppets performer Matt Vogel will take over as Kermit the Frog, his first time as the character will be in a “Muppets Thought of the Week” video next week, the spokeswoman confirmed.

Muppet fan site Tough Pigs was first to report Whitmire was leaving the Muppets.

Whitmire also voiced Kermit in ABC’s one-and-done live-action Muppets series. The Muppets Studio spokeswoman declined to discuss the details behind Whitmire’s departure.

Whitmire has been with the Muppets production since 1978, starting on The Muppet Show, according to the fan site.

Whitmire could not be reached for comment.


I’m more excited about the fact that there is going to be a Fraggle Rock movie more than I am about the fact that Joseph Gordon-Levitt will star in said Fraggle Rock movie.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt to star in Fraggle Rock movie

Hollywood has set its sights on a big screen adaptation of Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is set to star and produce the film, which will be released by New Regency in conjunction with The Henson Company and Jim’s daughter, Lisa.

Presumably, Gordon-Levitt will play the role of Doc, an eccentric inventor whose workshop is home to the Fraggles.

“The first screen personas I ever loved were Henson creations, first on ‘Sesame Street,’ and then on ‘Fraggle Rock,’” Gordon-Levitt said in a statement. “Jim Henson’s characters make you laugh and sing, but they’re also layered, surprising, and wise. From Oscar the Grouch, to Yoda, to the Fraggles. I’ve never stopped loving his work, even as a young frisky man, and on into adulthood. Collaborating with Lisa Henson makes me confident we can do something that Jim would have loved. I’m grateful and excited to be working with New Regency on this project.”

Prior to Gordon-Levitt coming aboard, a film version of Fraggle Rock has been stuck in developmental hell. At one point, The Weinstein Company was involved, enlisting Cory Edwards to pen a adaptation. Later, it was announced that Scissor Sisters were writing music for the project. It remains to be seen whether Edwards or Scissor Sisters will be involved in this newly announced iteration.


Time to go back for a visit!!

Miss Piggy joins Kermit in Smithsonian’s Muppet collection

Miss Piggy is finally joining her love, Kermit the Frog, in the Smithsonian Institution’s collection of Jim Henson’s Muppets, and Bert and Ernie will have a place in history, too.

Henson’s daughter, Cheryl Henson, donated more than 20 puppets and props Tuesday to the National Museum of American History. The donation included Miss Piggy and some of her co-stars from The Muppet Show including Fozzie Bear, Scooter and the Swedish Chef.

Henson also donated a number of puppets from Sesame Street including Bert and Ernie, Elmo, Cookie Monster, Grover, and Count Von Count.

The donation also included Boober Fraggle and Travelling Matt from Fraggle Rock.

Many of the puppets are the first constructions of the characters.

The museum was previously home to Oscar the Grouch, Kermit and the cast of Henson’s early TV show Sam and Friends. The collection includes the original Kermit the Frog creation, as well as the more famous Kermit from Sesame Street and The Muppet Show.

The museum says Miss Piggy will go on display in March 2014 in the museum’s “American Stories” exhibit. The original Kermit and Cookie Monster will go on view in November in a special display case.

Muppets People

This truly is sad news, may she rest in peace.

Muppets co-creator Jane Henson dies

The Muppets co-creator Jane Henson has died at the age of 78.

The ex-wife of late star Jim Henson passed away at her home in Greenwich, Conn., on Tuesday after a long battle with cancer.

Henson met her husband-to-be at a puppetry class at the University of Maryland in 1954 and they subsequently made Sam and Friends, a forerunner of the famous puppets, for a TV station in Washington, D.C.

The Muppets was created in 1955 and went on to spawn films, television series and music recordings — most recently, the 2011 musical comedy of the same name featuring Jason Segel and Amy Adams.

Henson married Jim in 1959, but they legally separated in 1986, four years before the writer/director died in 1990.

Following their split, Henson continued her work with the Jim Henson Co. and became the point of entry to the company for several top puppeteers.

In 1992, the puppeteer founded the Jim Henson Legacy to conserve the artistic contribution of her late ex-husband, and in 2001 she created the Jane Henson Foundation for philanthropic work.


Call me super, duper excited!!

It’s time to get things started! Pics and plot details emerge for ‘The Muppets … Again!’

Thing are moving right along (doog-a-doon doog-a-doon) on “The Muppets” sequel as the first pics, a plot synopsis and official title have hit the online Rainbow Connection … courtesy of Kermit the Frog himself.

Kermit sat down for an interview with Entertainment Weekly to discuss the new Euro-adventure that’s now going by the name of “The Muppets … Again!”

“The idea of this film is that our gang is on this global tour, and we’re selling out these grand theaters all over Europe — in Berlin, Madrid, London — but we sort of get into a little bit of trouble when we run across my doppelganger,” said the longtime star. “He’s the world’s number-one criminal, Constantine, and he happens to look an awful lot like me. I won’t tell you any more than that, but let’s just say mayhem ensues.”

Will that “mayhem” involve, say, Electric Mayhem? It appears they’ll be back for the sequel, along with the rest of the gang.

“The Dr. Teeth Band had to cancel a couple of engagements,” said Kermit. “They were playing at this little bar in Hoboken and they let that go just to come to London to do the movie.”

Walter, the latest member to the Muppets gang and the star of 2011’s “The Muppets,” will also be returning for the sequel, though his brother Gary (Jason Segel) won’t be. In fact, “The Muppets … Again!” will feature a brand-new human cast, including Ricky Gervais (as Constantine’s villainous sidekick), Tina Fey (as a Russian prison guard) and Ty Burrell (as an Interpol agent). Gervais in particular seems to be a natural for all things Muppet.

“Ricky Gervais is kind of like a Muppet, if you think about it,” said Kermit. “He fits right in. He’s about our size. I actually think when this film ends it’s going to be hard to get rid of him.”

The human crew is pretty psyched about next year’s most sensational inspirational celebrational Muppetational movie, too.

“I always loved those classic jewel-heist capers from the ’60s and ’70s, so I was very keen to do a movie that had elements of that [genre] featuring the Muppets and comedy and songs,” said director James Bobin, who co-wrote the script with Nicholas Stoller.

Indeed, everyone seems to be having a merry old time while on location in merry old England, a prominent country in Muppet lore both behind the scenes and as the setting for 1981’s “The Great Muppet Caper.”

“We have lots of old friends here. And I’ve met the queen,” said Kermit. “She doesn’t know I’m in town yet but I plan to go see her. I try to stay close to the royalty. There’s always that outside chance I could get turned into a prince, you see. Pretty important stuff for a frog.”

“The Muppets … Again!” will raise the curtain in theaters on March 21, 2014.


I want her to go to there!!!

Tina Fey rumored to appear in new ‘Muppets’ movie

“SNL” emeritus and “30 Rock” showrunner/star Tina Fey is very close to joining the cast of Disney new “Muppets” movie, which aside from the Muppets themselves also includes Ricky Gervais and “Modern Family”’s Ty Burrell. The script is being kept under tight security but sources say the character Fey will be playing is a Russian prison guard.

The new “Muppets” movie is said to feature the titular beloved brood on an adventure in Europe. Mark Bobin, the director of the highly successful 2011 “The Muppets” is returning, as is his co-writer Nicholas Stoller. Production begins in London this month.

Tina Fey can also be seen co-hosting the Golden Globes this Sunday with frequent collaborator Amy Poehler. The “30 Rock” series finale is due to air January 31st.


This is sad, sad news.

Elmo puppeteer quits ‘Sesame Street’

This episode of Sesame Street brought to you by the letters W, T and F?

Elmo’s World was sent into a tragic orbit on Tuesday, as the man behind his famous voice Kevin Clash resigned.

The end to Clash’s relationship with perhaps the world’s most famous collection of cloth came after a second alleged victim has come forward with claims he had underage sex with the puppeteer.

Sesame Street has a history of tackling tough subjects in a way that even children might understand — from tolerance to standing up to bullies.

But the sordid headlines over the puppeteer’s private life proved too much for him to continue to have a home on Sesame Street.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Sesame Workshop made the case on why Clash had to leave Elmo behind.

“Sesame Workshop’s mission is to harness the educational power of media to help all children the world over reach their highest potential,” they wrote.

“Kevin Clash has helped us achieve that mission for 28 years, and none of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization.”

However, the statement continued: “Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin’s personal life became a distraction that none of us want, and he has concluded that he can no longer be affective in his job and has resigned from Sesame Street.

“This is a sad day for Sesame Street.”

A second accuser, identified as Cecil Singleton, is demanding more than $5 million in damages from Clash, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday. Singleton alleges he was 15-years-old when he met Clash, then 32, in a gay chat room in 2003.

Last week, a 24-year-old unnamed man alleged that he had had an underage relationship with Clash. The man apparently later recanted his story.

But it was enough to force the artist to reportedly come out as a gay man.

As for Elmo, and the children he speaks to, life on TV will go on.

The same as it did after the August death of Jerry Nelson, who, over decades, gave a hand to Count von Count.

Other puppeteers have regularly been used to fill in when Clash was away.

Kids won’t care. They love the puppets and not the humans behind them.

Life is good on a street that makes even monsters friendly.

Though they’ll grow up to find out why innuendo is the real-world bogeyman.



Muppet movie sequel confirmed

Kermit, Miss Piggy and the rest of their felt-covered friends will be returning to the big screen.

Disney announced at CinemaCon on Tuesday that it’s working on a sequel to the 2011 hit “The Muppets.” James Bobin is returning to direct the project, and is co-writing the script with Nicholas Stoller, who co-wrote last year’s movie with star Jason Segel.

A release date for the sequel has not yet been announced.

Last year’s “The Muppets,” the first film starring Jim Henson’s creations in 12 years, has amassed a worldwide gross of more than $158 million on a $45 million budget, according to Box Office Mojo.

The film also won several awards, including an Oscar in the Best Original Song category for “Man or Muppet.”


No movies for me this weekend…but next weekend…THE MUPPETS!!!!

‘Breaking Dawn’ rises to $283.5M worldwide debut

LOS ANGELES (AP) — “The Twilight Saga” has staked out another huge opening with a $139.5 million first weekend domestically and a worldwide launch of $283.5 million.

The domestic total gives “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1” the second-best debut weekend for the franchise, after the $142.8 million launch for 2009’s “The Twilight Saga: New Moon.” ”Breaking Dawn” did more than half of its business, $72 million, on opening day Friday, while the movie’s debut weekend was the fifth-best on record.

Opening in 54 overseas markets, “Breaking Dawn” pulled in $144 million internationally, according to studio estimates Sunday.

But the Warner Bros. dancing penguin sequel “Happy Feet 2” stumbled in its debut, pulling in just $22 million over opening weekend. That’s barely half what the first film in the animated franchise earned in its 2006 opening.

The comparison is even worse considering the original did not have the sequel’s price advantage for 3-D screenings, which cost a few dollars more than 2-D shows.

The previous weekend’s No. 1 movie, Relativity Media’s action tale “Immortals,” fell to third-place with $12.3 million, raising its domestic haul to $53 million.

George Clooney had a great start with Fox Searchlight’s comic drama “The Descendants,” which broke into the top-10 despite playing in just a handful of theaters.

“The Descendants” finished at No. 10 with $1.2 million in 29 theaters, averaging a whopping $42,150 a cinema. That compares to an average of $34,351 in 4,061 theaters for “Breaking Dawn.”

Directed by Alexander Payne (“Sideways”), the film stars Clooney as a distressed dad tending to his daughters after his wife falls into a coma from a head injury. The film expands to about 400 theaters Wednesday.

In an industry whose main audience is young males, “Twilight” is a rare blockbuster franchise driven by female viewers. Distributor Summit Entertainment reported that women and girls made up 80 percent of the audience for “Breaking Dawn.”

The popularity of “Twilight” has left many men scratching their heads, even those involved in releasing the movies.

“I’m 53 years old, and I haven’t figured it out yet,” said Richie Fay, head of distribution for Summit. “It relates really to young girls and things that are important to them, their romantic ideas of love and relationships, without getting so physical, at least on screen, that it becomes a worry for their parents.”

“Breaking Dawn” has brooding teen Bella (Kristen Stewart) marrying vampire lover Edward (Robert Pattinson), whose family strikes an uneasy alliance with jealous werewolf Jacob (Taylor Lautner) to protect the bride and the baby she’s carrying.

The movie’s big start points to even better business for next year’s “Breaking Dawn — Part 2,” the finale in the five-film series based on Stephenie Meyer’s best-selling novels.

“Breaking Dawn” was a windfall for Hollywood in general, whose domestic revenues continue to trail 2010’s despite rosy projections last spring of a record box-office year.

Domestic business totaled $222 million, up 14 percent from the same weekend last year, when “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” led with $125 million, according to box-office tracker

The penguins of “Happy Feet 2” were left in the cold compared with the big debut for the first film, a critical favorite that won the Academy Award for feature animation.

The sequel, featuring returning voice stars Elijah Wood and Robin Williams, received mixed to bad reviews. Still, Warner Bros. reported it earned high marks from audiences, which could keep it afloat in the coming weeks.

“We honestly feel we’ll pick up some steam and play some catch-up as we get into the holidays,” said Dan Fellman, head of distribution at Warner.

But the competition for family audiences turns intense in the next few days with Martin Scorsese’s youthful adventure “Hugo,” the musical comedy “The Muppets” and the animated holiday tale “Arthur Christmas” all opening Wednesday for the busy Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

The newcomers, combined with “Breaking Dawn,” could lift Hollywood above the Thanksgiving record set in 2009, when “New Moon” paced the industry to a $273 million domestic haul from Wednesday to Sunday.

“This could be one of the greatest movie-going weekends ever in the midst of a year that has really had its ups and downs at the box office,” said analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

Here are the estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1. “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1,” $139.5 million.
2. “Happy Feet 2,” $22 million.
3. “Immortals,” $12.3 million.
4. “Jack and Jill,” $12 million.
5. “Puss in Boots,” $10.7 million.
6. “Tower Heist,” $7 million.
7. “J. Edgar,” $5.9 million.
8. “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas,” $2.9 million.
9. “In Time,” $1.7 million.
10. “The Descendants,” $1.2 million.