5:30pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
ABC's 'The Muppets' Scores Full-Season Pickup
ABC is showing faith in The Muppets.
The network has picked up the freshman reboot for a full season — for a total of 16 episodes.
The additional three-episode pickup is six shy of the standard back-nine order, with insiders stressing the shortfall is to accommodate the network's midseason fare including family comedy The Real O'Neals and its all-black Uncle Buck redo.
The Muppets, which hails from Big Bang Theory co-creator Bill Prady and Bob Kushell (3rd Rock From the Sun) ranks as Tuesday's highest-rated new series among adults 18-49. The comedy, a more adult-themed reboot in which Miss Piggy — now broken up with Kermit — hosts her own late-night talk show, has improved the network's Tuesday slot by 69 percent among total viewers versus last season's short-lived Selfie (7.6 million vs. 4.5 million) and 86 percent among adults under 50 (2.6 vs. 1.4).
The Muppets, from Jim Henson Co. and ABC Studios, ranks as the network's strongest-performing Tuesday half-hour in four years and has helped solidify the network's comedy brand. The series had the benefit of receiving a massive promotional push built around Kermit and Piggy's breakup that ended up going viral.
Picked up straight to series based purely on a 10-minute pilot presentation, The Muppets revival is filmed documentary style and explores the personal lives behind the famed characters, including Fozzie, Gonzo and the rest of the gang in a bigger way than the franchise has ever done before.
The Muppets ranks as ABC's final fall freshman series to get a back-order. The network picked up six additional hours of Sunday drama Quantico and added a full back-nine to Friday comedy Dr. Ken. Meanwhile, ABC recently trimmed Sunday ratings dud Blood and Oil from 13 episodes to 10. (Rookie Wicked City, which opened poorly this week, is a limited anthology series.)
Among the fall freshman class, only CBS' recently launched Supergirl as well as medical drama Code Black and The CW's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend are awaiting decisions on a back-nine. (Worth noting, both Code Black and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend received additional script orders.)
The Muppets joins ABC's Quantico and Dr. Ken, Fox's Grandfathered, The Grinder and Rosewood, NBC's Blindspot and CBS' Limitless as well as Life in Pieces to score an additional episode order.
Of the fall's freshman comedy class, only NBC's Truth Be Told did not get a full-season after the network cut its order by three following its dismal debut.