The Jim Henson Company

American entertainment economic company

The Jim Henson Company is an American entertainment company. It started with Muppets, LLC. in 1958 by puppeteer Jim Henson. Henson is the creator of The Muppets.[1] The Muppets helped the company become popular worldwide. They were well known in family entertainment for more than forty years.[2]

The Jim Henson Company
FormerlyMuppets, Inc. (1958–1976)
Henson Associates, Inc. (1976–1987)
Jim Henson Productions, Inc. (1987–1998)
Company typePrivate
FoundedNovember 20, 1958; 65 years ago (1958-11-20)
FoundersJim and Jane Henson
HeadquartersJim Henson Company Lot,
Los Angeles, California
Key people
Brian Henson
Lisa Henson
(President & CEO)
ProductsPuppetry, Animation, Computer graphics, Digital puppetry, Entertainment
OwnerHenson family
(1958–2000, 2003–present)
EM.TV & Merchandising AG
DivisionsJim Henson's Creature Shop[broken anchor]
Henson Recording Studios
Henson Alternative[broken anchor]

In 1969, the company started making characters and more than 20 short movies for the popular children's show Sesame Street.

One of the company's first characters regularly on national television was Rowlf the Dog. He was first made for Purina Dog Chow commercials. He became famous when he became a regular character on The Jimmy Dean Show from 1963–66.

In 1976, British media mogul Lew Grade asked Jim Henson to make a weekly show based in England, which became The Muppet Show. The success of The Muppet Show led to many movies, specials, videos, and more.

In the early 1980s, Jim Henson also formed Jim Henson's Creature Shop. It made characters for shows such as The Storyteller, Farscape, and Dinosaurs; and movies such as The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. It was also in the 1980s that Jim Henson produced new television series such as Fraggle Rock and The Jim Henson Hour.

In 1990, Jim Henson was talking to The Walt Disney Company about selling his company. Henson died during the week that he was going to sign the contract. His family decided to have the company keep the rights to the characters.[3][4] However, on December 18, 1991, The Walt Disney Company bought the distribution rights to the entire Jim Henson Company library up to that time.[5]

In 2020, Jim Henson’s children sold the company to the German media company, EM.TV. In January 1, 2021 they sold the Sesame Street Muppets to Sesame Workshop. In 2023 Henson's children bought back the company.[6] In 2024, they sold the rights to The Muppets and Bear in the Big Blue House characters to The Walt Disney Company.[7] The Walt Disney Company now owns all Muppet-related trademarks, including the word “Muppet”.

Filmography change

Films change

Production company Title Release date Production partners Distributor
Muppets Inc. Time Piece 1965 Pathé Contemporary Films
The Cube February 23, 1969 NBC
Henson Associates The Muppet Movie June 22, 1979 ITC Entertainment Associated Film Distribution[a]
The Great Muppet Caper June 22, 1981 Universal Pictures[a]
The Dark Crystal December 17, 1982 Universal Pictures[b]
The Muppets Take Manhattan July 13, 1984 TriStar Pictures[c]
Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird August 2, 1985 Children's Television Workshop[d] Warner Bros.
Labyrinth June 27, 1986 Lucasfilm TriStar Pictures
Jim Henson Productions The Witches August 24, 1990 Lorimar Film Entertainment Warner Bros.
Jim Henson's Muppet*Vision 3D May 16, 1991 Walt Disney Imagineering Disney-MGM Studios
Walt Disney Attractions
The Muppet Christmas Carol December 11, 1992 Walt Disney Pictures Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Gulliver's Travels February 4, 1996 Hallmark Entertainment NBC
Muppet Treasure Island February 16, 1996 Walt Disney Pictures Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Jim Henson Pictures Buddy June 6, 1997 Sony Pictures Releasing
Muppets from Space July 14, 1999 Columbia Pictures[c]
The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland October 1, 1999
Rat October 6, 2000 (UK)
Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story December 2, 2001 Hallmark Entertainment CBS
It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie November 29, 2002 Universal Pictures[c]
Good Boy! October 10, 2003
Five Children and It October 15, 2004
Capitol Films
Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars October 17, 2004 Hallmark Entertainment Syfy
The Muppets' Wizard of Oz May 20, 2005 ABC
MirrorMask September 30, 2005 Destination Films
The Jim Henson Company Unstable Fables: 3 Pigs and a Baby March 4, 2008
Genius Products
Unstable Fables: Tortoise vs. Hare September 9, 2008
Unstable Fables: The Goldilocks and the 3 Bears Show December 16, 2008
Sid the Science Kid: The Movie March 25, 2013
  • Nine Eye Stone Productions
NCircle Entertainment
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day October 10, 2014 Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Lily the Unicorn June 26, 2015 Amazon Prime Video
Turkey Hollow November 21, 2015 Lifetime
The Star November 17, 2017 Sony Pictures Releasing
Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island April 10, 2021 PBS
Universal Pictures
Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio[13] December 9, 2022
The Portable Door April 7, 2023 Story Bridge Films
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Road Trip TBA Disney+
Untitled Labyrinth spin-off sequel[14] Sony Pictures Releasing
Muppet Man Walt Disney Pictures Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
The Buried Giant Netflix

Television change

Jim Henson Television
Company typeDivision of The Jim Henson Company
IndustryTelevision production
Founded1955; 69 years ago (1955)
FounderJim Henson
DefunctApril 28, 2006; 18 years ago (2006-04-28)
FateDisbanded and folded into The Jim Henson Company
United States
Area served
ProductsTelevision series

From 1969 to 2000, Henson was contracted to design and create Muppet characters for Sesame Street. With the exception of occasional appearances in the Muppets franchise, the characters were used exclusively for Sesame Street, but Henson legally owned these characters prior to their acquisition by Sesame Workshop. The only exception was Kermit the Frog, who was featured in other projects prior to Sesame Street. Sesame Workshop retains the rights to use any Sesame Street footage featuring the character.

The sale ended any direct affiliation between The Muppets and Sesame Street, although the series retains use of the term "Muppet" under license from Disney. Many of the puppeteers continue to perform with both The Muppets and Sesame Street franchises. While no longer owning the Sesame Street characters, Henson continues to design them.[15] This list excludes pre-2001 Sesame Street co-productions outside the United States.

TV series change

Production company Title Creator(s) / Developer(s) Release date Production partners Network
Henson Associates, Inc. The Muppet Show Jim Henson 1976–1981 Associated Television
ITC Entertainment
Syndication (US)
Fraggle Rock 1983–1987 CBC (Canada)
Television South
CBC (Canada)
Muppet Babies Jim Henson
(d): Jeffrey Scott
1984–1991 Marvel Productions CBS
Little Muppet Monsters Jim Henson 1985
Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series Jim Henson
(d): John Semper & Cynthia Friedlob
1987 NBC
Jim Henson Productions, Inc. The StoryTeller Jim Henson
(d): Anthony Minghella
1988–1990 TVS NBC (US)
Channel 4 (UK)
HBO (US) (Greek Myths)
The Jim Henson Hour[c] Jim Henson 1989 NBC
The Ghost of Faffner Hall Tyne Tees Television ITV (UK)
Jim Henson's Mother Goose Stories 1990 Television South West ITV (UK)
The Disney Channel (U.S.)
Dinosaurs Michael Jacobs
Bob Young
(d): Jim Henson
1991–1994 Michael Jacobs Productions
Walt Disney Television
Dog City Jim Henson
(d): Peter Sauder
J.D. Smith
1992–1995 Nelvana Limited Fox Kids (USA)
YTV (Canada)
CityKids Jeffrey Solomon 1993–1994 The CityKids Foundation ABC
Secret Life of Toys 1993 The Disney Channel (U.S.)
Jim Henson's Animal Show 1994–1998 Fox Kids (seasons 1–2)
Animal Planet (season 3)
Muppets Tonight 1996–1998 ABC
Disney Channel
Aliens in the Family Andy Borowitz
Susan Borowitz
1996 The Stuffed Dog Company ABC
The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss Dr. Seuss (characters) 1996–1998 Nickelodeon
Jim Henson Television Bear in the Big Blue House[f] Mitchell Kriegman 1997–2006 Shadow Projects Playhouse Disney
Brats of the Lost Nebula Dan Clark 1998–99 Decode Entertainment
Wandering Monkey Entertainment
The WB (U.S.)
YTV (Canada)
Mopatop's Shop (d): Jocelyn Stevenson 1999–2003 Carlton Television ITV (CITV)
Construction Site
Farscape Rockne S. O'Bannon Hallmark Entertainment Nine Network (Australia)
Sci-Fi Channel (USA)
The Fearing Mind Billy Brown 2000–01 Angel/Brown Productions Fox Family
The Hoobs Jocelyn Stevenson
Brian Henson
2001–2003 Decode Entertainment Channel 4 (UK)
TVOKids (Canada)
Telling Stories with Tomie dePaola 2001 Hallmark Channel
Bambaloo 2002–03 Yoram Gross-EM.TV Seven Network
The Jim Henson Company Animal Jam[g] John Derevlany 2003 TLC
Discovery Kids
Frances [h] Russell Hoban
(d): Alex Rockwell
Halle Stanford
2008 HIT Entertainment
Sid the Science Kid 2008–13 KCET (2008–09)
KOCE-TV (2010–12)
PBS Kids
Jim Henson's Pajanimals Jeff Muncy and Alex Rockwell Sixteen South
John Doze Studios
PBS Kids Sprout
Dinosaur Train[17] Craig Bartlett 2009–20 Info-communications Media Development Authority
Sparky Animation
Snee-Oosh, Inc. (uncredited)
Tail Waggin' Productions
PBS Kids
Jim Henson's The Possibility Shop Courtney Watkins 2009–2011
Hot Dog TV 2010 Cartoon Network
Me and My Monsters Mark Grant
Claudia Lloyd
(d): Rebecca De Souza
2010-2011 Tiger Aspect Productions
Sticky Pictures
Network Ten (Australia)
Wilson & Ditch: Digging America Joe Purdy
Craig Bartlett
2010-2012 PBS Kids
That Puppet Game Show Jamie Ormerod 2013–14 BBC Entertainment BBC One
Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge 2014 Syfy
The Doozers 2014–2018 DHX Studios Halifax Hulu (US)
Kids' CBC (Canada)
Hi Opie! Barbara Slade 2014–2016 marblemedia TVO Kids
Dot. Randi Zuckerberg 2016–2018 Industrial Brothers CBC Kids (Canada)
Universal Kids (USA)
Splash and Bubbles John Tartaglia 2016–2018 Herschend Studios PBS Kids
Word Party Alex Rockwell 2016–2021 Netflix
Julie's Greenroom Julie Andrews
Emma Walton Hamilton
Judy Rothman
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance[18][19] Jim Henson (characters)
(d): Jeffrey Addiss
Will Matthews
Fraggle Rock: Rock On! 2020 Apple TV+
Earth to Ned[20][21] 2020–2021 Marwar Junction Productions Disney+
Duff's Happy Fun Bake Time Duff Goldman 2021 Discovery+
Harriet the Spy[22] 2021–present Apple Studios
Postworks New York
Wellsville Pictures
Titmouse, Inc.
Apple TV+
Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock[23] Jim Henson (original series)
(d): Matt Fusfeld
Alex Cuthbertson
2022–present New Regency
Fusfeld & Cuthbertson Regional Entertainment
Slumberkins[24] Alex Rockwell 2022 Factory
The Storyteller[25] Jim Henson (original series) TBA Fremantle
Lore Olympus[26] Rachel Smythe TBA Webtoon
As a contributor change

TV specials change

Direct-to-video change

Web content change

Henson Alternative change

The following list contains projects of The Jim Henson Company under its Henson Alternative banner.

Movies change

Title Release date Production partners Distributor
The Happytime Murders[31] August 24, 2018 STX Entertainment

Television series change

The first eight series are produced under its Henson Alternative banner exclusively in North America before premiering worldwide in 2015.

Stage shows change

Other productions change

Notes change

  1. 1.0 1.1 The film's home media, TV, and digital distribution rights were purchased by The Jim Henson Company from ITC Entertainment in August 1984.[8] The film rights were then acquired by Walt Disney Studios upon their parent company's acquisition of the Muppets franchise in 2004.[9] Currently, Universal Pictures handles theatrical distribution[10]—due to prior contractual obligations with the former Associated Film Distribution and ITC—but the film's ownership and copyright are controlled by Disney, with home media reissues of the film branded as a Walt Disney Pictures release.
  2. The film's home media, TV, and digital distribution rights were purchased by The Jim Henson Company from ITC Entertainment in August 1984.[8] Currently, Universal Pictures handles theatrical distribution[11]—due to prior contractual obligations with the former Associated Film Distribution and ITC.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 The film's home media, TV, and digital distribution rights were not purchased by The Jim Henson Company from Walt Disney Studios upon their parent company's acquisition of the Muppets franchise in February 2004.
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Sesame Street Muppets only.
  5. After the Muppets' acquisition to Disney in 2005.
  6. The Walt Disney Company acquired Bear in the Big Blue House from The Jim Henson Company in 2004.[16] The transaction included all of the series' characters, television library, copyrights and trademarks.
  7. The Walt Disney Company is filmed on location at Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida to help Animal Jam from The Jim Henson Company in 2002. The transaction included all of the series' characters, television library, copyrights and trademarks by Jim's company itself.
  8. Co-produced by The Jim Henson Company and HIT Entertainment. Both companies co-own the copyright.

References change

  1. Willman, David (1992-07-26). "Jim Henson's Children Put Together a String of Big Deals to Keep Alive". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
  2. Gritten, David (1990-08-19). "The Next Muppetmeister?". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
  3. Zonana, Victor F. (1991-04-18). "Henson Heirs Allege Disney Is Illegally Using Muppets". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
  4. Citron, Alan (1990-12-14). "Miss Piggy and Friends Won't Get Together With Mickey and Minnie". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
  5. New York Times
  6. Verrier, Richard (2003-05-08). "Muppets Returning to Hensons' Hands". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
  7. Disney Corporate
  8. 8.0 8.1 Jay Jones, Brian (2013). "Chapter 12: Twists and Turns". Jim Henson: The Biography. Ballantine Books (Random House). pp. 374–375. ISBN 978-0345526113.
  9. Thompson, Simon (July 25, 2019). "Remembering 'The Muppet Movie' At 40 With Gonzo". Forbes. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  10. "Make the Rainbow Connection Again as 'The Muppet Movie' Returns to the Big Screen in Honor of its 40th Anniversary on July 25 and 30". prnewswire. Fathom Events. June 3, 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
  11. "The Dark Crystal Returns to Movie Theaters". Fathom Events.
  12. "Film releases". Variety Insight. Retrieved November 11, 2017.
  13. Lang, Brent (October 22, 2018). "Guillermo del Toro Directing 'Pinocchio' for Netflix". Variety. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  14. Fleming, Mike (May 26, 2020). "Scott Derrickson Set To Direct 'Labyrinth' Sequel For TriStar Pictures; Maggie Levin To Write Script". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  15. James, Meg (February 18, 2004). "Kermit Is Now Part of Magic Kingdom". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 18, 2010.
  16. "The Walt Disney Company And The Jim Henson Company Sign Agreement For Disney To Buy The Muppets And Bear In The Big Blue House". The Walt Disney Company and The Jim Henson Company. February 17, 2004. Archived from the original on 2021-06-03. Retrieved 2022-07-12.
  17. Burlingame, Russ. "Craig Bartlett on the Dinosaur Train Movie". CB ComicBook. Retrieved April 18, 2021.
  18. Petski, Denise (May 18, 2017). "'The Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance': Jim Henson Prequel Series Set At Netflix". Deadline. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  19. Hibberd, James (December 17, 2018). "Netflix's The Dark Crystal prequel reveals first photos, huge voice cast". Entertainment Weekly.
  20. Petski, Denise (October 25, 2019). "Disney+ Teams With Jim Henson Co. On New Puppet Talk Show". Deadline. Retrieved October 30, 2019.
  21. "Jim Henson Co. Sets New Puppet Talk Show at Disney+ (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. October 25, 2019. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  22. Alexandra Del Rosario (August 12, 2020). "'Harriet The Spy' Kids Animated Series Starring Beanie Feldstein, Jane Lynch & Lacey Chabert Ordered By Apple". Deadline.
  23. Heldman, Breanne L. "Dance Your Cares Away! Apple TV+'s Fraggle Rock Reboot Teaser Recreates the Original Intro". People.
  24. Haring, Bruce (August 29, 2022). "Apple TV+ Sets Kids & Family Fall Slate Spotlighting Animated Series, Live Action Lineup". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 30, 2022.
  25. Andreeva, Nellie (February 19, 2019). "'The Storyteller' Reimagining In Works by Neil Gaiman, Jim Henson Co. & Fremantle". Deadline. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  26. "'Lore Olympus': Webtoon And The Jim Henson Company Will Partner For YA Animated Series'". Deadline. October 10, 2019. Retrieved October 12, 2019.
  27. "Videos". Muppet Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  28. Zad, Martie. "Muppet Group Offers Eight New Songs." The Washington Post. (November 25, 2013).
  29. Maes, Nancy. (March 7, 1996) Tish Hinojosa's Music Bridges Two Cultures. Chicago Tribune. Accessed on November 26, 2013.
  30. Martie Zad. (July 2, 1995) "Muppets, Kids Join in Series For Preschoolers." The Washington Post. 1995.
  31. Knapp, JD (July 1, 2017). "STX Sets Dates for 'Molly's Game' and 'Happytime Murders'". Variety. Retrieved July 10, 2017.