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)