Do you feel like you’re just not clicking with the Muppets TV reboot on ABC? You’re not alone. Heck, the decidedly mixed reception that greeted this latest Henson-affiliated offering even includes the network’s president among the gaggle finding fault with the series.
ABC Entertainment Group chief Paul Lee pulled no punches when speaking with the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena. Variety reports that Lee fessed up to those assembled that he didn’t think the show was up to snuff and that its disappointment extends beyond any ratings worries.
“The show itself didn’t quite feel it had the joy and the laughter and the heart that it should have,” Lee said.
We suppose it would be a pretty tough gig to push a Muppets program that’s light on joy, laughter, and heart. You can’t exactly roll with “Embrace the bleak and let Miss Piggy pummel the joy out of you on the American Broadcasting Company!” as a marketing hook, can you? ABC is hoping to find the elements it considers to be missing thanks to their late 2015 showrunner shakeup. Series co-creator Bob Kushell has exited that position with Galavant producer Kristin Newman now at the reins. Lee seems to be fairly bullish on Newman’s new direction for The Muppets.
“We’ve done some fantastic scripts going forward,” he said at the Television Critics Association press tour. “We have very high hopes for them and hope [the episodes are] going to be as good as the scripts were.”
Newman has shared that she felt the show needed “more heart, more zaniness” injected into it when she arrived. It seems like a safe bet both dials will be cranked up a tad when The Muppets makes its return to ABC on February 2. In addition to bringing in a shiny new showrunner, the felt-flavored workplace comedy will have a new human villain to contend with before season one is through. The Mindy Project‘s Utkarsh Ambudkar will be making life hard on everyone as a branding guru with some big changes in mind.