The Walt Disney Co. has completed its previously announced acquisition of The Jim Henson Co.’s Muppets and Bear in the Big Blue House. The brands are now officially part of Disney Consumer Products and are overseen by Chris Curtin, former Disney synergy head and special assistant to Michael Eisner.
Disney has wasted no time in putting the beloved Muppet characters to use. Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy recently performed with newlyweds Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey on ABC’s ratings-grabbing premiere episode of The Nick and Jessica Variety Show. Other proposed puppet projects include 3D animation projects, live-action features, theatrical productions and theme park attractions.
While Sesame Street remains property of Sesame Workshop and all other Jim Henson Co. creations remain under the control of sibling heirs Brian and Lisa Henson, Disney acquires all Muppets assets, including rights to principal characters Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo and Animal. The Mouse House also owns the Muppet film and television library, worldwide distribution and licensing rights and all associated copyrights and trademarks, as well as the Bear in the Big Blue House characters, television library, copyrights and trademarks.
The Jim Henson Co. will continue to be involved in developing new Muppets and Bear in the Big Blue House projects through a non-exclusive production and consulting agreement.