During my recent trip to Los Angeles with Disney for The Good Dinosaur Red Carpet event, I had the joy of visiting the “Up Late with Miss Piggy” set from the The Muppets on ABC! I also sat for an exclusive chat with Randall Einhorn (and director) & Bill Barretta (and performer). Both of them are also executive producers to the show. Finally I discovered Secrets from The Muppets Set on ABC
It wasn’t easy. Miss Piggy’s entourage is very tight lipped, but here are the Secrets from The Muppets Set on ABC I was able to uncover:
Secret 1: Pepe wants Sofia Vergara to be a guest star on the show! I am not sure how that will fly with Miss Piggy, but I would love to see her on the show too! Choosing the guest celebrities involves a lot of calling friends. For the most part all stars are fans or happy to be on the show. There are many celebrities who have been on the show, and doing repeats with them would be a dream come true for The Muppets, like Ringo.
Secret 2: Guest stars walk the plank! Because the puppeteers need ample space to work around on the set, celebrities have a designed narrow walkway on which they work with the puppet right by their side. That means that the puppeteer is on a lower level to the guest star.
Secret 3: Not all Muppets are created equal. Bill Barretta confirms that there are different types of puppets. “Kermit for example, is a puppet that you can almost see the knuckles of Steve Whitmire’s hand and they create those facial manipulations. He also has arm rods that go into his wrists so he’s what we call a Rod Puppet. A character like Fozzie, is usually operated by two people.” There are some Muppets that require 6 people to operate them!
Secret 4: The process to air one episode of The Muppets on ABC TV every Tuesday at 8-8:30pm ET is quite time consuming. It takes 5 days of preparations, and 6 days of shooting which entails moving around the floors, and fixing the monitors to watch what is being filmed (to make sure every character is on point). On a regularl comedy or drama, one scene takes about and hour to prep: 15 minutes to talk about it and 45 minutes to get the camera rehearsals and lighting just perfect. On The Muppets it takes double that because of all the logistics involved, shared R. Einhorn.
Secret 5: Why a late night show? Barretta let is slip that “they (the writer’s staff) liked the idea of having a Female Late Night Talk Show host. It gave Piggy a place to be a Diva, to make everything about her. The Show is all about her.”