I recently saw the Muppets movie. It's the first time I've ever seen anything on the Muppets.

Then I saw the Cookie Monster, but that he was not in the Muppets movie. I found out that only the original Muppets were in the Muppets 2011 movie, and that the rights for the Sesame Street characters are not owned by Disney, who could not then use the characters.

I see a list of complete Sesame Street muppets but no list of exactly which ones are/are not in Sesame Street.

So how did this split/merge happen? Did someone else create Sesame Street?

Was there bad blood here?

2 Answers 2


Sesame Street began in 1969, under the direction of the Children's Television Workshop (now known as Sesame Workshop). Jim Henson was contracted to provide the puppets for that show.

At that time, Jim Henson was also producing a number of specials starring other Muppet characters (Kermit, for example, had been created for a local TV show in 1955, and Rowlf for a commercial in 1962).

In 1976, The Muppet Show began. Most of that show's major characters, except for Kermit and Rowlf, were new creations either for the show itself or for a special intended as a pilot the previous year.

In 2000, Sesame Workshop bought the Muppet characters that had been appearing on their show from the Henson company.

In 2004, Disney bought the Muppet Show, its characters, spinoffs, movies, and a few precursor specials (along with the word "Muppet") from Henson (along with Bear in the Big Blue House).

Fraggle Rock and some other specials not starring either of the above-mentioned sets of characters (except in small roles) remain under the Jim Henson Company's ownership.


Nothing so dramatic.

Prior to Sesame Street's creation, Jim Henson (creator of the Muppets) already had a show called The Muppets. The cast of this show are the Muppets of The Muppets franchise (including the movies).

When The Children's Television Workshop started developing Sesame Street they wanted puppets to be part of the program, so they asked Jim Henson to provide these puppets. So Jim Henson developed a separate cast of Muppets for Sesame Street, but also added his signature character from the original Muppets: Kermit the Frog.

That's why the two franchises have different characters, and thus different rights.

  • The other answer contradicts you on which series came first.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Nov 11, 2017 at 16:08

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