The French Muppet Show: Muppets TV
The review of the home release of The Muppets 2011 will be posted soon but in the meantime let's take a look at a Muppet project that most people don't know about, even though it starred most of the original cast. If I'de ask people how many iterations of the Muppets Show have aired most will say one, referring to the original Muppet Show. Most Muppet fans will say two, referring to both the original Muppet Show and the short lived Muppets Tonight that aired in the mid nineties. Ask this question to a French Muppet fan however and he'll probably answer "trios" (three) since France got their own version of the Muppet Show. This wasn't a simple dub of the Muppet Show or Muppets Tonight but an entirely new program, made specifically for the French market starring the original Muppets alongside French guest stars called Muppets TV.
How did this all come about? Let's take a trip back to this year 2005...
French network TF1 and French radio comedian Sebastian Caudet made a deal with the Walt Disney Company to produce a new series for the French market where the Walt Disney Company send the actual puppets to France to get puppeteered by French puppeteers. Caudet himself provided the voice of the French Kermit and was a guest star in the final epsiode.
The show started in 2005 as a 15 minute pilot which featured French humorist Franck Dubosc as the guest star. The pilot contained several sketches including a parody on French TV series Mon Incroyable Fiance starring Miss Piggy. After the pilot a ten episode season was made to air in 2006.
Besides Kermit, a large part of the original cast of the Muppet Show was used in Muppets TV, including Muppets that had been retired for a long time in American Muppet productions like Rowlf, Scooter, the Muppets Newsman and Dr Teeth. Complementing these established stars were new Muppets like Denise and several Whatnots. (nameless Muppet 'extras') In contrast to the American series which were set in a old theater (The Muppet Show) and a television studio (Muppets Tonight) Muppets TV was set on a talk show stage. Like Muppets Tonight, it featured two guest stars per show. Each episode lasted 45 minutes and was broadcast on Sundays. The best bits of each weeks episode where rerun in 5 minute segments from Monday through Friday
Unfortunately, the show failed to hold the interest of the viewing audience and was cancelled in mere months with only 10 episodes produced. While the show was exclusively in France, foreign Muppet fans today can catch a glimpse of the show on Youtube: