Bob Kushell Out As Exec Producer of ABC’s ‘The Muppets’

muppets abc tca
Image courtesy of ABC

Bob Kushell is exiting as exec producer and co-showrunner of ABC’s “The Muppets.”

Kushell’s departure comes amid reports that he had been clashing over the creative direction of the series with co-showrunner Bill Prady.

Though no replacement has officially been appointed, insiders tell Variety ABC is in talks with comedy producer Kristin Newman to step in for Kushell. Newman already has a standing relationship with the network, as she’s a co-exec producer on “Galavant” and held the same position on the alien family laffer “The Neighbors.” Her other major credits include “How I Met Your Mother,” “That ’70s Show,” “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Chuck.”

ABC last week ordered three more episodes of the ABC Studios comedy, bringing its first-season total to 16 episodes. But the show’s take on the beloved Muppet characters has had a mixed reception. Some critics have complained that the characters have become too shrill in the mockumentary format set behind the scenes of a late-night talk show hosted by Miss Piggy and produced by Kermit the Frog.

Prady, co-creator and exec producer of “The Big Bang Theory,” and Kushell teamed for the primetime revival of “The Muppets” last spring when the project came together late during pilot season and fast-tracked on the strength of a presentation reel.

Kushell is a sitcom vet who came to “Muppets” after most recently working on FX’s “Anger Management.” His other credits include “3rd Rock from the Sun,” “Malcolm in the Middle” and “The Simpsons.”

(Pictured: Bill Prady, Kermit the Frog, Bob Kushell and Miss Piggy)

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  1. Danny says:

    First of all, the new showrunner should ditch the Denise character. Second, follow up on the latest episode’s effort to make Miss Piggy a person instead of a one-note caricature. That was actually effective and enjoyable. Third, as any good voice coach would tell him, Eric Jacobsen (voice of Piggy) needs to slow down and clean up his diction. Fourth, don’t get the frog and pig back together if it means the same old one-sided chase crap like in the old show. Let the frog chase HER for a change, if anything. At least that would be refreshing. The best thing the Muppets have is that relationship, and they keep screwing it up. Oh, and it would help if the frog would stop being such a douche.

    And fifth, having the frog sing “Rainbow Connection” for the hundredth time might make Muppet fan dorks wet their pants, but the rest of the public is over it. Not a solution.

    Frankly, it’s probably too late to fix things. Mistakes have been made for years with those characters, and Disney isn’t really responsible for them. Speaking of Disney, it will probably never make any decent merchandise money off those faded characters, so I’m surprised it’s still trying to continue them. We’ll see what happens.

  2. Gabe says:

    uh oh I don’t like the sound of that

  3. Jiminy Critic says:

    Surprising that the creators of “Episodes” aren’t suing.

  4. Truth Teller says:

    They have done a pretty decent job so far, but they SHOULD AVOID continuing to show a lot of characters as being ‘over it’ in terms of how they view their jobs and other characters. Miss Piggy is actually a big weak spot on the show, because she is a 1 note character and completely predictable. While other characters have changed a bit and evolved, Piggy hasn’t changed or grown/improved 1 little bit.

  5. ben fox says:

    the last few episodes have shown what should be the direction of this show, more of the “show” and less of the “Behind the Scenes.” This is what made the show great back in the day. nobody cares about the “real life” of the Muppets but enjoys seeing them sing, dance, act and make people happy. Remember the movie?

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