Earth to Ned

Even though we won’t be getting that new Muppets series that was previously in the works for Disney+, there will still be a little bit of magic from The Jim Henson Company and their incredibly puppetry in the form of something a little different than they’ve done before.

Earth to Ned is a new comedic half-hour series that has been given a straight-to-series order by Disney+. The series will be a fairly traditional late night talk show kind of format with celebrity guests, but the host will be Ned, a blue-skinned alien, and his lieutenant Cornelius, who were sent to scout Earth for an eventual invasion but became obsessed with our pop culture instead. That sounds like it has the potential for a lot of fun.

Earth to Ned will be “broadcast from the bridge of their spaceship hidden deep underground,” and the show will feature real-life celebrity guests who come on the show to talk about Ned’s pop culture obsession. In the process, the show turns Ned into a celebrity himself and puts him even further off-mission. But as obsessed as Ned becomes with pop culture, I wouldn’t be surprised if his lieutenant and some other characters on the show continually try to get him back on task, which could make for some hilariously awkward situations with celebrity guests.

In addition to Ned and Cornelius, there is also their artificial intelligence BETI and army of “Clods,” or cloned living objects of destruction. You can see them all together in this photo from the show’s stage:

Earth to Ned

The Hollywood Reporter says hose outstanding puppets come from the same team who made Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance such an incredible feat of puppetry.

This isn’t the first time a series like this has been attempted. The late night Cartoon Network series Space Ghost: Coast to Coast had a similar approach to the late night talk show (long before Adult Swim existed), but with animated characters interacting with celebrity guests. More recently, Comedy Central had The Gorburger Show from T.J. Miller, featuring a giant alien puppet interviewing celebrity guests after taking over a Japanese TV station. But this will like be more family friendly than those efforts.

Earth to Ned will be exclusively available on Disney+, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the series was used as a way to help promote upcoming new content on Disney+ or any other property that might fall under The Walt Disney Company banner. The same will likely happen with another Muppets project still in the works at Disney, a shortform interview series called Muppets Now where Kermit the Frog talks to celebs for a bit.

Here’s Disney’s official publicity fluff from Dan Silver, vice president of unscripted originals at Disney+:

“Disney has a long history of giving audiences a glimpse at faraway lands and bringing new talent into the spotlight. We believe Ned is next in line. We’re lucky to have the talents of the Jim Henson Co. and the folks at Marwar Junction Productions helping Ned, Cornelius, BETI and the Clods to execute and fully realize their vision. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank Ned for promising to entertain us, rather than destroy us all.”

It’s nice to hear that this is coming from the unscripted part of Disney+. That means the show will allow room for improvisation and natural conversations, just like a real late night talk show. But there will presumably be parts of the show that are a little more scripted to keep up the facade of the fictional talk show premise.

Earth to Ned will be produced by the Jim Henson Co. and Marwar Junction Productions with Brian Henson (Jim’s son) and head of development and production Vince Raisa executive producing along with Joseph Freed and Allison Berkley from Marwar Junction. As of now, there’s no indication as to how soon after launch this series might be available, but we’ll keep you posted. Disney+ launches on November 12, 2019.
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