The Jim Henson Company and former late night talk show host Craig Ferguson are teaming up to watch puppeteers battle to the death.  Okay, not quite to the death, but to some sort of reality show elimination.

Top Puppet is an upcoming TV special being produced for NBC that may or may not be good enough to be picked up for a full series.  The event will pit puppeteers against each other, with one winner walking away with some sort of big prize.

As of right now, Craig Ferguson (who happens to really love puppets) will only be a producer, and not the host.  Bummer.

With the critical success of Creature Shop Challenge, The Jim Henson Company seems to be doing the wise thing and cementing themselves as the overall experts in all things puppetry, giving their gold seal to acts, performers, and creators who prove themselves worthy of the Henson nod.

What doesn’t make much sense to me is how they can conceivably compare these apples and oranges.  The announcement claims that entries can be as elaborate as the puppets from War Horse or The Lion King, or they can be as simple as a sock puppet.  I have to assume that they’ll make the criteria for the winners abundantly clear, but I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea on how to start.

This idea isn’t too far from America’s Next Muppet, which was a scripted competition show from the Muppets in which they’d be auditioning new characters for their troupe.  A pilot was filmed back in 2005 and never saw the light of day.

Top Puppet is currently auditioning acts, so if you think you’ve got what it takes… well, I don’t know exactly how you’d get in those rooms.  The announcement doesn’t give any details on how to be considered, and a quick Google search doesn’t reveal anything.  I guess the first challenge in becoming the next Top Puppet contender is to figure that out on your own.

Top Puppet is scheduled to premiere next Summer!

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by Joe Hennes –

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