‘The Muppets’ Cancelled by ABC

The Muppets Ratings ABC
Courtesy of ABC

ABC has cancelled comedy series “The Muppets.” The show will not be picked up for a second season.

The decision to pull the plug on the show came after a midseason show runner change failed to turn around disappointing ratings. The show underperformed following a massive marketing campaign around its launch. Critics derided the series as not family-friendly enough and out of step with the history of the characters, created by the late Jim Henson.

“The Muppets” started hot as might be expected but had a quick fade, finishing with a 1.7 rating in adults 18-49 and 5 million viewers overall in Nielsen’s “live plus-7” estimates. ABC has been faring a little better of late in its Tuesday timeslot with “The Real O’Neals.”

Still, ABC had until recently been leaning toward a renewal for the series based in part on the franchise’s overall value to corporate parent the Walt Disney Co.

Bill Prady and Bob Kushell served as the original showrunners for the series, but Kushell departed in November amid reports of clashes with Prady. Kristin Newman was then brought in to take over as showrunner for the ABC Studios show.

The cancellation came amid a flurry of programming activity for ABC. The network on Thursday renewed fellow freshman comedy “The Real O’Neals” and gave series orders to two new comedies, “Downward Dog” and “Second Fattest Housewife,” with the latter set for a title change.

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  1. leahsodyssey says:

    I like the real O’Neils, but it is a lot less family friendly than the muppets.

  2. I wish they would bring it back. I loved it! I was reliving my childhood. It seems like it everything must have sex and violence in order to make the cut. What happened to good clean fun. Please bring it back!

  3. Sylvia says:

    So bummed to realize this show will not be renewed for a second season. It was hilarious and I loved the fact it wasn’t so P.C. “family-friendly” — it appeals to those who grew up watching the muppets especially since we’re now a bit older! Such smart writing, a shame to be cancelled! Hopefully another non-major network (hulu, netflix,etc.) where they’re not so ratings-obsessed will pick up where Kermit and Miss Piggy & Co. left off.

  4. Katie Peat says:

    Just come on to Google when it will be back on, only to find this!!! I loved it, it was so funny and refreshing, I’m gutted

  5. Cody Taylor says:

    I want to see more of it, It was so great I give this show 10 stars.

  6. mohsen says:

    I’m sad once again!! why would you cancel such a wonderful series?!?!?!?!

  7. Mik Scheper says:

    I was delighted by such a smart and hilarious return of the Muppets (especially after that disastrous Disney film a few years ago), and I’m extremely disappointed there won’t be a second series.

    I really don’t understand why the American ABC caved into complaints from so-called family groups, who clearly don’t remember the violence in the original series. The only downer in the new series was that in the end, Kermit was considering getting back with his abusive ex.

  8. Kris Haas says:

    I was watching this on Hulu after watching another comedy by a very well known actress that did not even bring a smile to my face (which is still on the air and is so boring as far as humor goes) so I stopped watching that show after two episodes and I found myself laughing out loud for the first time in a long time after only watching one episode of the new The Muppet show! I know the humor has matured a lot since it was originally on the air all those years ago and so have I, which is why I appreciated it so much more so. I am glad that Miss Piggy is not chasing Kermit anymore after all these years. Time to grow up and move on as a liberated woman pig should and she did. Good for her! Still the same characters with the same quirks but a little more human is ok by me because I felt like I could relate to the humaneness in them this time. It felt like for the first time in a long time that my inner child could come out and play again and that it was alright. I for one am glad for at least having watched the 16 shows and know that it is safe to come out and play again with my inner child and adult side by side! Thanks for those shows!

  9. sheapelt says:

    Love the muppets. Grew up on the shows. My favorite was Muppet Babies and Sesame Street and I enjoyed a few of the movies, but not all. But I have to admit that while The Muppets was funny and interesting at first it quickly grew uninteresting. I found myself not even paying attention to the episodes when I turned it on. I wanted to like the show, but it was just a miss for me. And I really didn’t like Piggy’s attitude. There’s a difference between being a diva and just being plain mean. I preferred Piggy when she was after Kermit. Some of the character personality change sort of ruined my childhood. I just don’t like variety shows or the like. I remember watching The Muppet Show just for the muppet skits. Like the Swedish Chef. But I turned the channel once the celebrities came on stage. I was too young to know who they were, anyways.

  10. Kermit: “You know Rowlf, there are so many selfish people in this world who won’t lift a finger to help anyone, sometimes I wish I were more like them”

    Rowlf : “But then you wouldn’t be you, and that’s no way to live”

  11. William says:

    The Muppet return to televison should have capitalized on what made them great. A variety show with guest hosts and musical guests… They could have easily brought back that format and opened with… I don’t know… Foo Fighters as musical guests and (insert actor/celebrity here)… Guess that would have been… I don’t know… Too SIMPLE?

  12. brad says:

    Good! I’m glad its cancelled. This show was awful! The muppets shouldn’t be jaded, cynical and miserable. That’s what we are!

  13. Jason says:

    This is typical corporate bullcrap. Take an intelligent, funny show with beloved characters and dump it in favor of “Second Fattest Housewife”.

  14. MicahW says:

    I thought the show was quite good and at least deserved another season. I liked how they tried to use the style of The Office. I grew up watching The Muppet Show and I love The Office, so I thought the show was great.

  15. Katie says:

    I am very sad to hear ABC is canceling The Muppets. I enjoyed the new take on this classic. Variety shows are long gone. This reboot was the closest thing to a modern variety show. I found the jokes to be original. I liked how they worked in some classic skits (I.e. Rowlf and Janis doing the hospital skit. If you don’t know that, you are not a true fan). I looked forward to this 30 minutes of silliness that was never annoying. Most of the comedies on TV right now are so irritating. I hope this show gets picked up by Hulu or Netflix.

  16. Rebecca Sawyer says:

    bad news , I loved the new version

  17. Melissa S. says:

    The reason it was a massive fail is simple…the fans turned in to see the old style Muppets we loved. We anticipated being able to share it with our children and we’re instead accosted by a show that was not family friendly in many instances and had developed the characters into a mere resemblance of what they once were.

  18. Ammon says:

    Everybody misses the point: it wasn’t that the show was too “adult”, it was actually that the show was too bland – not enough explosions, muppets eating other muppets, or talking vegetables. The Muppets became to human-like and not the wacky, offbeat characters we’ve come to love over the past 50 years.

  19. Matt. says:

    It was my favorite show. After Big Bang the jokes where perfect very well written.

  20. Jason Melby says:

    The show was great. It was the perfect fit for the current generation of muppets as far as humor balance. I grew up watching the original show and I’ve seen all the original movies and it just felt like the muppets were maturing along with me and it was great. Bad move on ABC’s part. Maybe they’ll fill the void with another ‘by the numbers’ family sitcom while allowing something refreshingly different slip away.

    • I loved this format myself. I thought it was so cool to give them real lives and real problems. We all have to wear different masks to fit different contexts and I loved how they interlaced that in the story lines. I grew up with the Muppets and I loved this behind the scenes twist. I’m sad because I’m just now finding out that it’s cancelled. I’m over here waiting for its return. The cliffhanger between Piggy and Kermit. Sad face.

  21. Nicholas Serna says:

    I loved the show! The humor was top notch especially coming from the Muppets! I don’t have cable so I watched it on my streaming service. Don’t know if that counts into the ratings for the show though.

  22. Karen Knase says:

    REALLY? Funniest thing I’ve seen in a LONG time. First thing I have watched in many years. I don’t watch TV for a reason and that reason being because it sucks.

  23. Emily says:

    I adored this show– I honestly can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard at something on TV. The jokes were smart as hell and a refreshing twist on the characters from start to finish of the season. Fingers crossed that The WDC will allow a Netflix/Hulu type deal and license the characters out so the team can keep going!

  24. Will R Wills says:

    I dunno – I liked the show. No, not the original muppets but pretty innovative and Office style. Some good skewering of pop culture, perfect Kermit voice. Miss Piggy was difficult to understand for me (literally, not philosophically) but good nonetheless. I, too, was hoping to see Kermit and Piggy getting back together in Season 2.

    It’s a shame.

  25. Jack says:

    Yay! It’s time to stop the music! It’s time to dim the lights! It’s time to put an ending on the most abominable, most depressable, aggravational, most distasteful, this-is-how-we-wreck-the-Muppets shoooowwww!

    • Tim Caldwell says:

      You “sir” don’t know anything about The Muppets if you can sink so low as to do an awful parody of their theme song. This series was the most perfect Muppet Show since the original. True to the characters, funny and above all original. Everyone thinks that Jim Henson’s creation was aimed at kids. No. He created the Muppets for an adult audience and it also appealed to kids. And this series lived up to it. I will miss this show since it’s the only major project that Disney did since they bought them that was good. (We’re not allowed to speak about those 2 films in my family)

      • Philip says:

        The two films were amazing, stupid Tim! Allow them to be mentioned in your house, @$$-hole! 😡

      • Haggis says:

        Oh, look. Someone thinks his opinion has more validity than another person’s. Bravo, smug lord.

    • The Muppets are not abominable. They would not be abominable had they have God made parts representing the species. I want to see Kermit and Miss Piggy get back together again healing the rift that grew between them.

      Proverbs 15:26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.
      Proverbs 12:22 – Lying lips [are] abomination to the LORD: but they that deal
      truly [are] his delight. Proverbs 11:20 – They that are of a froward heart
      [are] abomination to the LORD: but [such as are] upright in [their] way [are]
      his delight.
      Proverbs 15:8 – The sacrifice of the wicked [is] an abomination to the LORD:
      but the prayer of the upright [is] his delight.
      Proverbs 24:9 – The thought of foolishness [is] sin: and the scorner [is] an
      abomination to men.
      Proverbs 8:7 – For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness [is] an
      abomination to my lips.
      Proverbs 28:9 – He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his
      prayer [shall be] abomination.
      God’s law is love works not ill to your neighbour.
      Proverbs, 6: 16 -These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an
      abomination unto him:
      17A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that are swift in running to mischief, 19A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

  26. JB says:

    And yet, ABC just green-lighted a show called “Second Fattest Housewife”?

    With the cancellation of “Castle” too, looks like I’m down to just “Once Upon a Time” and “Quantico” on ABC. Sticking more with CBS, NBC, and Netflix.

    • How are the Muppets any of the verses? Please tell me?

    • Ella says:

      “Second Fattest Housewife” is a scripted comedy. The title is clearly meant to be satirical.

      • The Real Dorothy Gale says:

        Once Upon A Time ought to be cancelled too. It portrayed Dorothy Gale as a lesbian. Gross. The progressives can’t even keep their depraved hands off of children’s characters and fairy tales. What a bunch of mental midgets

  27. Larry says:

    This show is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Let another network produce it, if you can’t find a way to keep producing it with ABC.

  28. terrykaye2013 says:

    It’s funny that the original Muppets motto in the writers room was “if the Mouse would do it, we wouldn’t.” And then they got bought by Disney. This major disparity in philosophy may have contributed to the demise of the show. But I also think it was people who didn’t grow up with the original and didn’t realize how adult the humor always was. Since it was responding to feedback and hearkening back to its roots more and more in the second half of the season, I hoped it would win back some people but it seems that in our society today, second chances are few and far between. Attention spans are just too short. And yes, FrankTheTank, the Swedish Chef rapping will be a cherished memory of this season. I even showed it to naysayers to convert them to fans. Worked every time!

    • The Real Dorothy Gale says:

      Yeah, the idiots behind the Muppets dissed Disney until they were forced to crawl to them and beg to be financially rescued. More proof they were unworthy of Walt’s company.

      • Molly says:

        LOL, that’s one version of the story. The real version is that Michael Eisner attempted to buy the Muppets for 15 years before he finally succeeded. He tried relentlessly to buy Sesame Street as well but Jim Henson refused. Get your facts straight.

    • Ella says:

      “But I also think it was people who didn’t grow up with the original and didn’t realize how adult the humor always was.”

      I had the impression that it was people who, like me, DID grow up with it, and found the modern version too much of a departure from the original.

  29. Stevil3000 says:

    Seriously? Cancelled? It was a really cute show, I watched it every week. It should have been given another shot. Oh ABC, how you disappoint me.

  30. FrankTheTank says:

    This is dumb. If you didn’t like watching the Swedish Chef do karaoke to Rapper’s Delight I feel sorry for you.

    • Haggis says:

      Thanks, I don’t need your sympathy.

      • Tim Caldwell says:

        It wouldn’t let me comment to you on my post, so I’ll do it here. No. I’m not a smug lord. I just hate it when people don’t stop and think. This is a very good show and it was shot down because people who didn’t know the muppets made comments about how it strayed from the original. When in fact, it was closer to Jim Henson’s ideas than other modern takes on The Muppets. This show, while it had moments that made me wonder, still treated the characters in a respectful manner and kept them true to their personalities. The biggest mistake ABC did was fire the original show runner and replaced him with someone who was actually turning the show bland. So no. I respect and welcome everyone who has an opinion. But I do hate trolls!

  31. Jen says:

    Disney should just sell the Muppets back to Henson. They don’t seem to really make much effort to develop them. They shut down the Muppet attraction at Disneyland just before the show aired. Give them back to people who care about them.

    • Matt Garner says:

      I’d rather they sold the Muppets to someone who cares about them. The Henson kids have all but stated they hate the Muppets (as if the characters’ treatment in the show wasn’t evidence enough).

    • Can’t sell it back to a ghost, Jim Henson DIED In 1990. How else could Disney ever have had them while Jim lived? I say NETFLIX PLEASE BUY THEM and let’s do the show uncensored a la Archer on FOX

      • Joe Gonzalez says:

        I believe he meant Henson Studios, which currently still owns the rights to Sesame Street, as well as the Henson Creature Shop. All of this is managed by Brian Henson, Jim’s son, as well as a couple of Brian’s siblings.

  32. Larry Bundy says:

    Muppets has always been one of Disney’s biggest money pits, the two movies bombed and I wasn’t surprised to see the TV show die too.

    To be honest the franchise has never really sat well within Disney.

    • Rickman says:

      Pretty sure the first movie was critically acclaimed and won an Academy Award…

      • Haggis says:

        Pretty sure he was referring to the two movies made while being owned by Disney, genius.

    • Shara says:

      Agreed. The Muppets were never worthy of the Disney name. Disney did everything it could to revive them, but the people behind the puppets are their own worst enemies. Good riddance.

      Also: Disney, learn the lesson. Don’t make family-friendly characters UNfamily-friendly. Apply it across the board, and especially DON’T MAKE ELSA A LESBIAN.

    • Robert Hubbs says:

      It’s because Disney has no clue what they are doing with the Muppets since they bought them. I thought the last two movies were great. The show had its hits and misses, but played to a different tune that the majority of fans didn’t get. I enjoyed but I’m the minority it seems.

      BTW Love your videos on youtube Larry.

  33. Heather Poppell says:

    This version of the Muppets was a bastardization of what was the life work of a creative genius. Anyone can put a puppet on their hand and make a show, but without the content, it’s nothing. Raunchy plots and adult topics have no place in the world of Jim Henson’s Muppets. The writers of this showe should be embarrassed. Henson elevated children’s content with wit that adults would appreciate as well. He didn’t use slummy content. Learn the difference.

    • EricJ says:

      The Muppets died not with Jim Henson, but when the original 70’s-show head writer Jerry Juhl left (after the big Beatles-breakup in the organization during “Muppets From Space”).
      Juhl wasn’t interested in hip trend-dropping 10’s jokes about the Muppets in our world, and whether Piggy would do duets with Lady Gaga, but created the Muppets’ own crazy surreal “everything talks” world that WE occasionally lived in.
      When Juhl left, it all just turned into sour sitcom gags.

      (And FTR, the real Henson performers were vocally up in arms at the “snotty” tone of the ’11 Disney movie during filming, and its sniggering that the characters were dysfunctional “70’s relics”, and protested loudly enough to get some last-minute changes in the script, but like ABC, thought they “had” to support the movie to keep the franchise alive.
      Especially when things like what they were protesting kill it.)

  34. That is a shame. Bring the Muppets back. Don’t toss them out.

  35. Jiminy Critic says:

    RIP Don Juan Prawn! He’s by far the best crustacean comedian working in television today (that includes Kevin Hart). He’ll be missed and deserves his own show.

  36. ME says:

    HOLY GREEN DO-DO!

  37. Dave J says:

    The time slot was awful!

  38. EricJ says:

    ABC wanted to go on Disney’s assumption that they wanted to continue the first Disney Muppets movie’s momentum in deconstructing the characters for hip Millennial jokes and watch them argue with each other about their relationships. As they found out from the second movie, that’s not how most of the fans see it.
    It had a show-runner reboot after the disastrous first half of the season but let’s face it, the hip Disney movie is So Over, and now we just want the classic reruns on disk before anyone else ruins them again.

    • Bill says:

      That’s precisely it. In the name of being hip, Disney destroyed a generation’s worth of good will with this show that was rarely funny.

      • The Real Dorothy Gale says:

        Disney didn’t “destroy” the Muppets. They destroyed themselves. They were going downhill before Jim Henson died. Disney rescued them and gave them another chance, but they blew it. End of story.

    • Denver says:

      youre old

      • Todd Storey says:

        So, the Muppets “destroyed themselves” long ago, and gays are “deviants”. Gee, “Real” Dorothy, shouldn’t you be off supporting Trump? Don’t you know us “deviants” are called “Friends of Dorothy”? Not YOUR friends, of course. Be gone.

      • EricJ says:

        Old enough to remember variety shows where the characters LIKED each other…

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