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Old 12-07-2004, 06:46 PM   #1
Rumor has it ...
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Sarangel's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: San Francisco, CA USA
Posts: 3,110

Disney's Hold on the Muppets Slipping

Here's an article from Jim Hill on Disney's handling of the Muppets. Some of my favorite points are below:
"You have to understand that Disney basically bought the Muppets as a trophy for Michael Eisner. You see, Uncle Mike never quite got over the idea that the Jim Henson Company had slipped through his fingers back in 1990. That's why Eisner has continually pursued this company -- on and off -- for the past 15 years. All because Henson was 'the big one that got away.'

Well, once Eisner finally got his trophy, he had to actually justify the cost of acquiring these characters from Henson. Which is why Michael then turned to his trusted lieutenant -- Chris Curtin -- and said: "You're now in charge of selling the Muppets to all the divisions at Disney. So get these folks cracking on turning out new Muppet stuff."

The only problem is ... Most of the heads of the departments at Disney are still sitting on their hands when it comes to the Muppets. They're reluctant to spend good money on what many people consider to be a faded franchise."
Given that there's a very strong possibility that Michael Eisner may be out of power as early as June of 2005, some department heads are deliberately dragging their feet right now. Waiting to see if Disney's next CEO is just as gung-ho as Eisner is about Henson's creations.

That may explain why -- to date -- only three divisions of the Disney corporation have heeded Chris Curtin's call and begun working on Muppet-related projects. These departments of the company are:

Buena Vista Home Entertainment
ABC Television
Of course, it's fairly easy to understand why these three divisions at Disney were so quick to get in the Muppet business. Disney.com is always looking to up its hit count. So it just stands to reason that -- the sooner Muppets.com is up & running -- the sooner the Mouse can start snatching customers away from Henson.com, MuppetCentral.com, toughpigs.com and kermitage.com.

As for Buena Vista Home Entertainment ... These guys are constantly on the prowl for new titles to put in Disney's retail pipeline. Which is why these guys are already hard at work churning out those full season "Muppet Show" DVD sets.
2005 is the 50th anniversary of the Muppets. But do you think that Disney has any plans to acknowledge this anniversary? NOOOOOOO ... All of Disney's marketing might has been thrown behind that "Disney's Golden Celebration" event. Though I hear that there is a potentially fun idea in the works for 2006. Which is that Disney celebrates the Muppets' 51st anniversary in a rather hurriedly & deliberately-slapped-together-looking manner. As if both the Mouse & the Frog had forgotten that this anniversary was coming up.
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