The Muppets make their return to prime-time broadcast television Tuesday after a 19-year absence, opposite the opening half-hour of the two-hour premiere of “Scream Queens” on Fox.
“The Muppets,” which airs at 8 p.m. on ABC, is their first prime-time broadcast series since “Muppets Tonight” ran for 10 episodes in 1996, also on ABC.
The new series is a documentary-style look at the characters first made famous in the 1976-81 syndicated comedy-variety series “The Muppet Show” as they produce a late-night talk show, “Up Late with Miss Piggy.”
“What we are trying to do is very much honor ‘The Muppet Show’ but at the same time, do something that is contemporary and works on television now,” co-creator Bill Prady, a co-creator of “The Big Bang Theory,” said at last month’s Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour.
“The goal here is to be exactly the same and completely different.”
“Scream Queens,” which airs from 8-10 p.m. on Fox, is a comedy-horror murder mystery in which a devil-clad killer targets a university’s most-elite sorority house where a tragedy occurred 20 years earlier.
“Scream Queens” was created by “Glee” creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan. Its large cast includes “Glee” alumna Lea Michele, Emma Roberts and Abigail Breslin along with and frequent 1970s and 1980s horror star Jamie Lee Curtis.
“What’s so fantastic about this show is it is a social satire,” Curtis said. “We say what people think. We all live in this protected bubble where we’re all trying to behave and look a certain way.
“The thing that’s so brilliant about this show is it strips away, it flays the imagined behaviors of human beings and it actually shows what people are, which is inherently dark, inherently unhappy and angry, frustrated human beings who are trying to desperately to hold it together.”
CBS has a premiere at 10 p.m., the sequel to the 2011 film thriller “Limitless,” whose star, Bradley Cooper, is an executive producer and has a recurring role as a senator running for president.
Executive producer Craig Sweeny said he flew to New York when Cooper was starring on Broadway in “The Elephant Man” and “just sat with him and we talked about the scene that he ultimately shot in the show.”
“A lot of the lines of dialogue that are in that scene are just lines that we came up with at that meeting,” Sweeny said.
Jake McDorman, who stars as a man who discovers the brain-boosting power of the mysterious drug NZT and is coerced by the FBI into using his extraordinary cognitive abilities to solve complex cases for them, said Cooper “checks in with me pretty regularly just actor-to-actor to see how I’m doing.”
The series “uses the format of the police procedural to tell fast- paced, visually innovative stories,” said Sweeny, who had also been a producer on “Elementary” and “Medium.”
“Our goal each week is to show the audience something that they haven’t seen before in the movies on TV, to make use of the advances in technology to show truly surprising and inventive sequences to the audience.”
—City News Service