"The Muppets" return to primetime with a contemporary, documentary-style show.
Bob D'Amico—ABC via Getty Images
By Brad Tuttle
September 22, 2015

Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, and the rest of the madcap Muppet crew will once again be back on the small screen on a regular basis thanks to the new TV version of “The Muppets,” debuting on ABC on Tuesday night. Instead of repeating the old variety show format of the original show, “The Muppets” is shot documentary style a la “The Office,” and its focus on behind-the-scenes action and the personal lives of the Muppets is sure to intrigue many viewers, while upsetting others with more “traditional” concepts about what the Muppets should be.

Here are some of the numbers that show the impact of Jim Henson and his mischievously loveable characters on business and culture over the decades:

0.3% Reported percentage of Goldman Sachs emails in which the use of the word “muppet” referred to its (dumb) clients, amid a 2012 scandal in which Goldman executive Greg Smith publicly quit the company via a New York Times op-ed. A Goldman Sachs internal review later showed that 99.7% of “muppets” references in company emails were related to an outing to see the 2011 film “The Muppets.”

2 Number of new museum exhibits opening this fall related to Jim Henson and the Muppets—at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City, and at Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts, which is devoting half of its new expansion space to a special Jim Henson Collection.

12 Number of events and attractions at the annual Frogfest, to be held on Saturday, Oct. 24, in Leland, Miss., where Jim Henson grew up, and where a Henson exhibit and gift shop welcomes Muppets fans year-round. The Frogfest kicks off with a fun run that starts on the Rainbow Connection Bridge (named in honor Henson, Kermit, and the gang), and features painting and cartooning activities for the kids, as well as a chili cookoff. Frog’s legs are certainly not on the menu.

40+ Cover versions of Kermit’s immortal “The Rainbow Connection” recorded over the years. It’s been sung by Justin Timberlake (on “Saturday Night Live”), Ed Sheeran, Sarah McLachlan, and more. Here’s an especially heartwarming version from Willie Nelson:

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=deebKNI-dTE&w=640&h=360]

60 Number of years the Muppets have been around, as Jim Henson created his first characters in 1955 for a local five-minute TV segment called “Sam and Friends.”

$99.99 Price of a design-your-own Muppet character via FAO Schwartz.

120 Total number of hosts (or host duos) during the 1974-1981 run of the “The Muppet Show” on TV. There was a different host for each show, and, looking back, the list of guest hosts is truly amazing, including legendary stars like Johnny Cash, Milton Berle, Julie Andrews, Peter Sellers, Pearl Bailey, Harry Belafonte, Dizzie Gillespie, Bob Hope, Liza Minneli, Vincent Price, Roy Rogers, Ethel Merman, and Diana Ross—plus some surprisingly edgy ones like Alice Cooper and Debbie Harry. (Interestingly, Kermit and the Muppets once served as guest hosts on “The Tonight Show” in 1979 when Johnny Carson needed a night off. Here’s Alice Cooper singing “Welcome to My Nightmare” in a creepy “Muppet Show” performance that probably, as promised, gave lots of young viewers nightmares:

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iz0lXNNkqac&w=640&h=360]

$385 Current estimated value of a vintage 1977 Muppet Show lunchbox.

$2,700 Asking price on eBay for a Kathrine Baumann Miss Piggy 3-D Swarovski Crystal purse collectible.

$4,750+ Starting listed price at eBay for Jim Henson’s drawings of Muppets characters, the priciest category of Muppet memorabilia on the site, which has over 2,000 separate Muppet listings.

$50,000 Reported minimum auction price set in 1999 for the psychedelic Electric Mayhem bus featured in the original “Muppet Movie”; no one bid high enough, though, and the bus never sold.

1.2 Million Estimated number of times the three-minute trailer for the new show has been viewed online:

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfJkusicBa4&w=640&h=360]

1.36 Million Estimated number of times a longer 11-minute “first-look presentation” created to convince ABC to make the show has been viewed:

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2B5d-8H588&w=640&h=360]

235 Million Number of viewers, in 106 countries, that tuned in to watch “The Muppet Show” when it was the world’s most popular TV program, in 1978.

$671 Million Total box office revenues, after adjusting for inflation, of the eight major Muppets movies released in theaters. The original 1979 “Muppet Movie” and the 2011 reboot “The Muppets” with Jason Segal are the biggest hits in the franchise, while 1999’s “Muppets from Space” is the stinker in the bunch.

$680 Million Price paid by German media company EM.TV to acquire the Muppets in 2000. Just three years afterward, the Henson family bought the franchise back for only $78 million, and the family soon thereafter sold Kermit and the gang off to Disney.

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