"The Muppets" will return as a regular prime time series for the first time in more than 15 years -- airing Tuesdays on ABC, starting Sept. 22 -- but that wasn't the big news at the ongoing TV Critics Association's press tour Tuesday. That, in fact, would be this: Miss Piggy and Kermit are splitsville.
In a sharp and quite possibly whimsical reminder that news, fake or otherwise, actually breaks out on occasion here, Kermit the Frog -- voiced pretty much forever by Steve Whitmire -- announced that he and Miss Piggy (voiced by Eric Jacobson) are no longer an item. "Piggy and I have gone our separate ways," he announced to a roomful of TV writers, who otherwise learned a little more about what probably is the network's most important new entry of the fall season.
ABC said the newcomer will be a mockumentary about "Up Late with Miss Piggy," a (fake) late-night series that airs behind (the real) "Jimmy Kimmel Live."
But along with Kermit's momentous news, the network offered a few more details about the show, which will feature dozens of Muppets as they go about their daily and nightly show biz chores behind the scenes.
The idea, says Bill Prady, who is producing this along with Bob Kushell, "is to do something that's contemporary and works on TV now [but] anyone who hasn't seen the Muppets in the past will see this whole new world and it will feel fresh and original, and anyone who's grown up with them, it will have that nostalgic feel."
Because this is a behind-the-scenes mockumentary on a late-night TV series, major stars are expected to have cameos each week (Reese Witherspoon for one and bands such as Imagine Dragons).
Also announced Tuesday: "Jimmy Kimmel Live" will broadcast a full week of shows from the Brooklyn Academy of Music the week of Oct. 19.