Frank, Hayes scripting 'Wizard' retelling

ABC execs might soon be singing a chorus of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow Connection.”

Alphabet is readying a Muppet-ized version of “The Wizard of Oz” with producers Jim Henson Prods. and Fox TV Studios. Telepic would likely be the first major production to emerge from Disney’s deal to take control of Muppets brand and characters (Daily Variety, Feb. 18) — though the project was actually in the works long before the sale was announced.

Debra Frank and Steven Hayes are writing a script for the pic, which will feature familiar Muppet characters retelling the classic “Wizard of Oz” story. It’s possible the movie will include a human character as well, most likely Dorothy, insiders said.

Pic will be based on the original L. Frank Baum novel “The Wizard of Oz,” and not the classic 1939 MGM musical. That means no ruby slippers, and no chance of Miss Piggy belting out “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Of course, the Muppet library has its own rainbow song that could be pressed into service: “The Rainbow Connection,” sung famously by Kermit the Frog in “The Muppet Movie.”

Henson Co.’s last telepic Muppetization of a classic property was “It’s a Very Muppet Christmas Movie” for NBC, which was a take on “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Frank and Hayes wrote “Home Alone 4″ for FTVS and ABC’s “Wonderful World of Disney.”

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