Muppets return to TV: 10 things you didn't know about Kermit and the gang

Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and other familiar Muppets characters may be returning to the small screen in a Muppets Show revival.

A pilot of a television series, produced by ABC and Disney's The Muppet Studio, is in the works, US media reports said over the weekend.

Bill Prady, co-creator of the hit sitcom The Big Bang Theory, is bringing the well-loved characters back to life again in the planned variety show. He started his writing career working for Muppets creator Jim Henson.

A new generation of viewers may be surprised to findout that the original Muppets were created in 1955 - 60 years ago.

Here are 10 things you may not have known about Kermit, and the rest of the gang:

1. Kermit the lizard?


Kermit The Frog, the most famous of the late puppeteer Jim Henson’s creations.   PHOTO: CAMTEC MARKETING SERVICES

Now a major star, Kermit first appeared as a minor character in children's show Sam And Friends in 1955. It was never clear what species he was back then, and he was originally conceptualised as a lizard-like creature.

He became a frog and acquired a pointy-ended collar for a TV special "The Frog Prince".

The original puppet, made of an old coat owned by Henson's mother with ping pong balls for eyes, was donated in 2010 to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

2. The story beneath Rainbow Connection

Kermit is Henson's most famous creation, and was performed by his creator until Henson died of pneumonia in 1990 at age 53. His most famous song Rainbow Connection reached No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979.

The song was the opening act of The Muppets Movie (1979), and Kermit sang it while sitting on a log in the middle of a swamp.

That meant that Henson had to perform while sitting in a diving bell underwater. He controlled Kermit through rubber sleeves attached to the bathysphere. It took five days to film that scene.

3. How Kermit met Miss Piggy


Miss Piggy, the plus-sized diva who has a tempestuous love-shove relationship with Kermit the Frog.  PHOTO: CAMTEC MARKETING SERVICES 

Next to Kermit, his on-again-off-again girlfriend Miss Piggy is the most recognisable Muppets character. The prima donna pig, who first appeared in 1974, alternates between smothering Kermit with kisses and sending him flying with a karate chop.

Miss Piggy first broke into showbusiness by winning the Miss Bogen County beauty contest, an event documented in The Muppet Movie (1979). She also met Kermit for the first time there.

4. Did Kermit and Miss Piggy ever get married?

There are 50 shades of grey to this simple question. They have been married on screen a few times, but Kermit usually maintains that they were all fictional weddings between the characters they were playing.

One movie, The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) end with the two getting married in a grand church wedding.

Miss Piggy, meanwhile, has said that they agreed to say they were single in public, but are privately married. Kermit has admitted they are married in a few interviews.

5. Is Fozzie Bear Kermit's brother?


Fozzie Bear, famous for his corny jokes and catchphrase "Wocka wocka!".  PHOTO: DISNEY ENTERPRISES

"Wocka wocka wocka!" That's the famous line of The Muppet Show's infamously bad resident comedian, Fozzie Bear.

In The Muppet Movie (1979), Fozzie is friends with Kermit, and got to know Kermit after failing as a standup comic, but in The Great Muppet Caper (1981), Fozzie and Kermit are identical twin brothers and share the same father.

6. Inseparable curmudgeons

Statler and Waldorf are the two disagreeable old men who heckle the cast of the Muppets. They almost always appear together, and so audiences frequently do not know which one is Statler and which Waldorf.

Waldorf is the one with the wider face, mustache and white hair. They are named after two New York City hotels, the Statler Hilton and the Waldorf-Astoria.

7. Gonzo the whatever


Gonzo the Great, daredevil stuntman.  PHOTO: DISNEY ENTERPRISES

Officially he is known as Gonzo the Great, and unlike many other Muppet characters, Gonzo is not of any known species.

In 1981's The Great Muppet Caper, Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo were shipped to England in crates. Kermit's crate was labelled "Frog", Fozzie's was labelled "Bear", and Gonzo's crate read "Whatever".

8. The Swedish Chef

This chef who speaks gibberish is delightfully funny despite being incomprehensible.

His mock Swedish has become so iconic that there are websites and programmes that claim to translate English into "Chefspeak".

9. Famous scientists

Dr Bunsen Honeydew and his assistant Beaker, who bears the brunt of his failed experiments, beat Star Trek's Spock when British viewers were polled on their favourite cinematic scientists.

Beaker performs a popular, and funny, version of Beethoven's Ode To Joy in this 2009 Youtube clip.

10. Muppet Rhapsody

One of the most popular videos on Youtube is one of the Muppets performing operatic rock anthem Bohemian Rhapsody, originally sung by Queen.

The popularity of the clip helped to convince Disney to produce the new Muppet movies that came out in 2011 and 2014.

It has clocked close to 45 million views since it was uploaded in November 2009.