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The Jim Henson Company
Muppets, Inc. (1958–1976; 1985)
Henson Associates, Inc. (1976–1987)
Jim Henson Productions, Inc. (1987–1997)
Industry Entertainment
Founded November 20, 1958; 65 years ago (1958-11-20)
Founders Jim and Jane Henson
Headquarters Jim Henson Company Lot, ,
Key people
Brian Henson (chairman)
Lisa Henson (president & CEO)
Products Puppetry, Animation, Computer graphics, Digital puppetry, Entertainment
Owner Henson family
Parent EM.TV & Merchandising AG
Divisions Jim Henson's Creature Shop
Henson Recording Studios
Henson Alternative

The Jim Henson Company (formerly known as Muppets, Inc., Henson Associates, Inc., and Jim Henson Productions, Inc.; commonly referred to as Henson) is an American entertainment company located in Los Angeles, California. The company is known for its innovations in the field of puppetry, particularly through the creation of Kermit the Frog and the Muppets characters.

Brian Henson is as chairman, while Lisa Henson is CEO. Since 2000, The Jim Henson Company is headquartered at the Jim Henson Company Lot, the historic former Charlie Chaplin Studios, in Hollywood.

The company was established in November 1958 by puppeteers Jim and Jane Henson, and is currently independently owned and operated by their children. Henson has produced many successful television series, including The Muppet Show (1976–1981), Fraggle Rock (1983–1987), and Bear in the Big Blue House (1997–2006); as well, the company designed the Muppet characters for Sesame Street (1969–present).

The company has also produced theatrical films, including The Muppet Movie (1979), The Dark Crystal (1982) and Labyrinth (1986). Henson also operates Jim Henson's Creature Shop, an animatronics and visual effects studio which has created characters and effects for both Henson productions and outside projects. In 1989, the company entered merger negotiations with The Walt Disney Company, which were canceled following Jim Henson's death in 1990.

Subsequently, control of the company was assumed by Henson's children: Lisa, Cheryl, Brian, John, and Heather. In 2000, Henson was sold to German media company EM.TV & Merchandising AG; by the end of that year, however, EM.TV's stock collapsed, and the Henson family re-acquired the company in 2003.

In the interim, EM.TV sold the rights to the Sesame Street Muppets to Sesame Workshop in early January 2001, following a December 2000 announcement. Henson sold The Muppets and Bear in the Big Blue House properties to Disney in 2004, but retains the remainder of its program library and assets.

As of 2024, Brian, Lisa, Cheryl, and Heather Henson maintain control of the company. Jane Henson died in April 2013, and John Henson died in February 2014.


1958 to 1990

Jim and Jane Henson officially founded Muppets, Inc. on November 20, 1958, three years after Sam and Friends debuted on WRC-TV in Washington, D.C. Aside from Sam and Friends, the majority of its work until 1969 was in advertising; appearances on late-night talk shows; and short "meeting films" primarily for enterprise use, produced from 1965 to 1996. In 1968, the company began designing characters and producing short films for the fledgling Sesame Street, which premiered on NET (succeeded by PBS) in November 1969.

One of the company's first characters to appear regularly on television, Rowlf the Dog, originated in commercials for Purina Dog Chow and became a regular character on The Jimmy Dean Show from 1963 to 1966. During this time, the show's host, Jimmy Dean, refused an opportunity to own 40% of the company, assuming that he did not attain that right. Jim Henson also pitched several different projects to the major American television networks, to little avail. Some ideas became unaired pilots, while others were never produced.

Henson Associates logo
Henson Associates Inc. logo from 1976 to 1987

In 1976, producer Lew Grade approached Henson to produce a weekly series in Grade's native United Kingdom. This series became The Muppet Show, produced by Associated Television (ATV) for the ITV network. The success of The Muppet Show led to the Muppets becoming an enduring media franchise. Another company controlled by Grade, ITC Entertainment, originally owned The Muppet Show, among other Henson productions, but Henson acquired the rights to these productions in the 1980s. During this time, Henson formed Jim Henson's Creature Shop, a special effects studio partially responsible for the films The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth; and television series The StoryTeller, Farscape, and Dinosaurs.

Jim Henson Productions
Jim Henson Productions logo from 1988 to 2001.

Later in his life, Henson produced Fraggle Rock and The Jim Henson Hour. In August 1989, Henson and Disney CEO Michael Eisner began merger discussions reportedly valued at $150 million, which also included a fifteen-year contract for Henson's personal "creative services." However, the deal did not include the rights to the Sesame Street characters, which were owned by Henson, although merchandising revenue was split between Henson and the Children's Television Workshop.

Also during the negotiations, management of the company's Henson International Television distribution unit based in the United Kingdom purchased their unit from the company, leading to the establishment of HIT Entertainment. On May 16, 1990, as negotiations continued, Jim Henson died of toxic shock syndrome. Following Henson's death, neither Disney nor Jim Henson Productions could come to an accord. Negotiations officially ended in December 1990, and Henson remained an independent company.

1991 to 1999

The Henson family assumed management of the company, and Brian Henson was named president, chairman, and CEO in January 1991. In the following years, Henson entered into deals with several companies, including television rights to the Henson library with Disney Channel and Nickelodeon; a record label with BMG Kidz; and a home media label with Buena Vista Home Video. In 1995, Henson entered into an agreement with ABC to produce primetime television series, leading to Muppets Tonight and Aliens in the Family.

Following the releases of The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island by Walt Disney Pictures, Henson formed Jim Henson Pictures with Sony Pictures Entertainment. In 1998, the company signed a deal with Columbia TriStar Home Video to launch Jim Henson Home Entertainment. By 1999, Henson held partial interests in two cable channels: The Kermit Channel (broadcasting in Asia) and Odyssey Network (broadcasting in the United States), both jointly owned with Hallmark Entertainment. After Hallmark (through Crown Media Holdings) assumed full ownership of these networks, the Kermit Channel was discontinued and Odyssey was renamed the Hallmark Channel.

2000 to 2004

Jim Henson Home Entertainment
Jim Henson Home Entertainment logo used since 2001.

In 2000, the Henson family sold the company to the German media company EM.TV & Merchandising AG, for $680 million. That summer, EM.TV sold Henson's stakes in the Odyssey and Kermit cable channels in exchange for an 8.2% stake in Hallmark-controlled Crown Media Holdings. By the end of 2000, after EM.TV subsequently experienced major financial problems, EM.TV sold the company's ownership of the Sesame Street Muppets and Henson's small interest in the Noggin television network to Sesame Workshop, and by early 2001, Henson itself was marked for sale. Disney, Viacom, HIT Entertainment, AOL Time Warner, Haim Saban, Classic Media, as well as Henson management, among others, were all parties reportedly interested in acquiring the company.

In December 2002, a deal was announced in which EM.TV would sell a 49.9% stake in Henson to an investment group led by Dean Valentine, a former executive at Disney and UPN. However, in March 2003, the deal was canceled, citing financial issues on Valentine's part. In May 2003, EM.TV was reportedly nearing an agreement to sell Henson to a consortium between Classic Media and Sesame Workshop (with financing from Sony Pictures Entertainment), until the Henson family re-acquired the company for a closing price of $84 million.

In February 2004, Henson sold the Muppets and Bear in the Big Blue House to Disney, who subsequently formed The Muppets Studio (known at that time as The Muppets Holding Company). The term "Muppet", likewise, became a legal trademark of Disney; Sesame Workshop retained permission to use the term for its Sesame Street characters under a license from Disney until 2023.

2004 to present

On April 1, 2004, Henson and HIT Entertainment agreed to a five-year global distribution and production deal which included distribution of 440 hours of the company's remaining library including Fraggle Rock, Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, The Hoobs and Jim Henson's Mother Goose Stories. In addition, the agreement also included the production of new properties, including Frances, in which both companies co-produced and also both co-own the copyright to the series. After that deal expired, Henson entered similar agreements with Lionsgate Home Entertainment and Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment. As well, the company became involved with computer-animated projects, including the direct-to-video Unstable Fables series; Sid the Science Kid; Dinosaur Train; and Splash and Bubbles, as well as the puppet series Pajanimals.

Henson later formed Henson Alternative, which specializes in adult content, including the live shows known alternatively as Puppet Improv, Puppet Up!, and Stuffed and Unstrung. In recent years, the Fraggle Rock characters have made several appearances, usually at special events. The characters appeared with Ben Folds Five in the music video for "Do It Anyway"; and in 2013, Gobo and Red Fraggle hosted a Fraggle Rock marathon on the Hub Network.

In 2019, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, a prequel to The Dark Crystal, premiered on Netflix. In 2022, Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock, a reboot of Fraggle Rock, premiered on Apple TV+.

On August 9, 2022, the company signed a worldwide distribution agreement with Shout! Factory which would allow Shout! to distribute thirteen series and specials from the Henson catalog on home entertainment and streaming platforms across all territories. A similar worldwide distribution agreement went into effect on January 1, 2024 for streaming, video on demand, broadcast, digital download, packaged media and certain non-theatrical rights for the films Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal, as well as behind the scenes specials Inside the Labyrinth and The World of the Dark Crystal.


Henson Family

  • Jim Henson (1936–1990) – Founder of The Jim Henson Company.
  • Jane Henson (1934–2013) – Co-founder of The Jim Henson Company.
  • Brian Henson – Chairman of The Jim Henson Company.
  • Lisa Henson – CEO of The Jim Henson Company.
  • Cheryl Henson – Board of Directors member, President of the Jim Henson Foundation. Formerly a liaison to Sesame Workshop from 1992 to 2000.
  • John Henson (1965–2014) – Board of Directors member.
  • Heather Henson – Board of Directors member.


  • Peter Schube – President and COO of The Jim Henson Company.
  • Lori Don – Executive Vice President and CFO of The Jim Henson Company.
  • Richard Goldsmith – Executive Vice President, Global Distribution, and International Consumer Projects.
  • Joe Henderson – Executive Vice President, Worldwide Administration.
  • Stephanie Schroeder – Executive Vice President, Business Affairs & Legal.
  • Halle Stanford – Executive Vice President of Children's Entertainment.
  • Nicole Goldman – Senior Vice President, Marketing and Publicity.
  • Karen Lee Arbeeny – Vice President, Business Operations, Global Distribution.
  • Faryal Ganjehei – Vice President and Studio Operations at the Henson Recording Studio.
  • Anna Jordan Douglass – Vice President, Digital Development & Interactive Media.
  • Howard Sharp – Vice President of Administration.
  • Peter Brooke – Creative Supervisor at Jim Henson's Creature Shop.
  • Jerry Houle - Vice President of Marketing 1977-1984

Other staff members



Production company Title Release date Production partners Distributor
Muppets Inc. Time Piece 1965 Pathé Contemporary Films
The Cube February 23, 1969 NBC
Henson Associates The Muppet Movie June 22, 1979 ITC Entertainment Associated Film Distribution
The Great Muppet Caper June 22, 1981 Universal Pictures
The Dark Crystal December 17, 1982 Universal Pictures
The Muppets Take Manhattan July 13, 1984 TriStar Pictures
Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird August 2, 1985 Children's Television Workshop Warner Bros.
Labyrinth June 27, 1986 Lucasfilm TriStar Pictures
Jim Henson Productions The Witches August 24, 1990 Lorimar Film Entertainment Warner Bros.
Jim Henson's Muppet*Vision 3D May 16, 1991 Walt Disney Imagineering Disney-MGM Studios
Walt Disney Attractions
The Muppet Christmas Carol December 11, 1992 Walt Disney Pictures Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Gulliver's Travels February 4, 1996 Hallmark Entertainment NBC
Muppet Treasure Island February 16, 1996 Walt Disney Pictures Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Jim Henson Pictures Buddy June 6, 1997
Sony Pictures Releasing
Muppets from Space July 14, 1999 Columbia Pictures
The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland October 1, 1999
Rat October 6, 2000 (UK)
Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story December 2, 2001 Hallmark Entertainment CBS
It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie November 29, 2002 Universal Pictures
Good Boy! October 10, 2003
Five Children and It October 15, 2004
  • Isle of Man Film Commission
  • Davis Films
  • UK Film Council
  • Endgame Entertainment
Capitol Films
Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars October 17, 2004 Hallmark Entertainment Syfy
The Muppets' Wizard of Oz May 20, 2005
MirrorMask September 30, 2005 Destination Films
  • Samuel Goldwyn Films (USA)
  • Tartan Films (UK)
The Jim Henson Company Unstable Fables: 3 Pigs and a Baby March 4, 2008
Genius Products
Unstable Fables: Tortoise vs. Hare September 9, 2008
Unstable Fables: The Goldilocks and the 3 Bears Show December 16, 2008
Sid the Science Kid: The Movie March 25, 2013
  • Nine Eye Stone Productions
NCircle Entertainment
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day October 10, 2014
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Lily the Unicorn June 26, 2015
  • Amazon Studios
Amazon Prime Video
Turkey Hollow November 21, 2015 Lifetime
The Star November 17, 2017 Sony Pictures Releasing
Dinosaur Train: Adventure Island April 10, 2021
  • Universal 1440 Entertainment
Universal Pictures
Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio December 9, 2022
  • ShadowMachine
  • Netflix Animation
  • Double Dare You Productions
The Portable Door April 7, 2023 Story Bridge Films
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Road Trip TBA
Untitled Labyrinth spin-off sequel
  • TriStar Pictures
  • TriStar Productions
Sony Pictures Releasing
Muppet Man Walt Disney Pictures Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
The Buried Giant
  • Netflix Animation


Jim Henson Television
Division of The Jim Henson Company
Industry Television production
Fate Disbanded and folded into The Jim Henson Company
Founded 1955; 69 years ago (1955)
Founder Jim Henson
Defunct April 28, 2006; 18 years ago (2006-04-28)
United States
Area served
Products Television series

From 1969 to 2000, Henson was contracted to design and create Muppet characters for Sesame Street. With the exception of occasional appearances in the Muppets franchise, the characters were used exclusively for Sesame Street, but Henson legally owned these characters prior to their acquisition by Sesame Workshop. The only exception was Kermit the Frog, who was featured in other projects prior to Sesame Street. Sesame Workshop retains the rights to use any Sesame Street footage featuring the character.

The sale ended any direct affiliation between The Muppets and Sesame Street, although the series retains use of the term "Muppet" under license from Disney. Many of the puppeteers continue to perform with both The Muppets and Sesame Street franchises. While no longer owning the Sesame Street characters, Henson continues to design them. This list excludes pre-2001 Sesame Street co-productions outside the United States.

TV series

Production company Title Creator(s) / Developer(s) Release date Production partners Network
Henson Associates, Inc. The Muppet Show Jim Henson 1976–1981 Associated Television
ITC Entertainment
Syndication (US)
Fraggle Rock 1983–1987 CBC (Canada)
Television South
CBC (Canada)
Muppet Babies Jim Henson
(d): Jeffrey Scott
1984–1991 Marvel Productions CBS
Little Muppet Monsters Jim Henson 1985
Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series Jim Henson
(d): John Semper & Cynthia Friedlob
1987 NBC
Jim Henson Productions, Inc. The StoryTeller Jim Henson
(d): Anthony Minghella
1988–1990 TVS NBC (US)
Channel 4 (UK)
HBO (US) (Greek Myths)
The Jim Henson Hour Jim Henson 1989 NBC
The Ghost of Faffner Hall Tyne Tees Television ITV (UK)
Jim Henson's Mother Goose Stories 1990 Television South West ITV (UK)
The Disney Channel (U.S.)
Dinosaurs Michael Jacobs
Bob Young
(d): Jim Henson
1991–1994 Michael Jacobs Productions
Walt Disney Television
Dog City Jim Henson
(d): Peter Sauder
J.D. Smith
1992–1995 Nelvana Limited Fox Kids (USA)
YTV (Canada)
CityKids Jeffrey Solomon 1993–1994 The CityKids Foundation ABC
Secret Life of Toys 1993 The Disney Channel (U.S.)
Jim Henson's Animal Show 1994–1998 Fox Kids (seasons 1–2)
Animal Planet (season 3)
Muppets Tonight 1996–1998 ABC
Disney Channel
Aliens in the Family Andy Borowitz
Susan Borowitz
1996 The Stuffed Dog Company ABC
The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss Dr. Seuss (characters) 1996–1998 Nickelodeon
Jim Henson Television Bear in the Big Blue House Mitchell Kriegman 1997–2006 Shadow Projects Playhouse Disney
Brats of the Lost Nebula Dan Clark 1998–99 Decode Entertainment
Wandering Monkey Entertainment
The WB (U.S.)
YTV (Canada)
Mopatop's Shop (d): Jocelyn Stevenson 1999–2003 Carlton Television ITV (CITV)
Construction Site
Farscape Rockne S. O'Bannon Hallmark Entertainment Nine Network (Australia)
Sci-Fi Channel (USA)
The Fearing Mind Billy Brown 2000–01 Angel/Brown Productions Fox Family
The Hoobs Jocelyn Stevenson
Brian Henson
2001–2003 Decode Entertainment Channel 4 (UK)
TVOKids (Canada)
Telling Stories with Tomie dePaola 2001 Hallmark Channel
Bambaloo 2002–03 Yoram Gross-EM.TV Seven Network
The Jim Henson Company Animal Jam John Derevlany 2003 TLC
Discovery Kids
Frances Russell Hoban
(d): Alex Rockwell
Halle Stanford
2008 HIT Entertainment
Sid the Science Kid 2008–13 KCET (2008–09)
KOCE-TV (2010–12)
PBS Kids
Jim Henson's Pajanimals Jeff Muncy and Alex Rockwell Sixteen South
John Doze Studios
PBS Kids Sprout
Dinosaur Train Craig Bartlett 2009–20 Info-communications Media Development Authority
Sparky Animation
Snee-Oosh, Inc. (uncredited)
Tail Waggin' Productions
PBS Kids
Jim Henson's The Possibility Shop Courtney Watkins 2009–2011
Hot Dog TV 2010 Cartoon Network
Me and My Monsters Mark Grant
Claudia Lloyd
(d): Rebecca De Souza
2010-2011 Tiger Aspect Productions
Sticky Pictures
Network Ten (Australia)
Wilson & Ditch: Digging America Joe Purdy
Craig Bartlett
2010-2012 PBS Kids
That Puppet Game Show Jamie Ormerod 2013–14 BBC Entertainment BBC One
Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge 2014 Syfy
The Doozers 2014–2018 DHX Studios Halifax Hulu (US)
Kids' CBC (Canada)
Hi Opie! Barbara Slade 2014–2016 marblemedia TVO Kids
Dot. Randi Zuckerberg 2016–2018 Industrial Brothers CBC Kids (Canada)
Universal Kids (USA)
Splash and Bubbles John Tartaglia 2016–2018 Herschend Studios PBS Kids
Word Party Alex Rockwell 2016–2021 Netflix
Julie's Greenroom Julie Andrews
Emma Walton Hamilton
Judy Rothman
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Jim Henson (characters)
(d): Jeffrey Addiss
Will Matthews
Fraggle Rock: Rock On! 2020 Apple TV+
Earth to Ned 2020–2021 Marwar Junction Productions Disney+
Duff's Happy Fun Bake Time Duff Goldman 2021 Discovery+
Harriet the Spy 2021–present Apple Studios
Postworks New York
Wellsville Pictures
Titmouse, Inc.
Apple TV+
Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock Jim Henson (original series)
(d): Matt Fusfeld
Alex Cuthbertson
2022–present New Regency
Fusfeld & Cuthbertson Regional Entertainment
Slumberkins Alex Rockwell 2022 Factory
The Storyteller Jim Henson (original series) TBA Fremantle
Lore Olympus Rachel Smythe TBA Webtoon
As a contributor

TV specials

  • Hey, Cinderella! (1969)
  • The Great Santa Claus Switch (1970)
  • The Frog Prince (1971)
  • The Muppet Musicians of Bremen (1972)
  • Out to Lunch (1974)
  • The Muppets Valentine Show (1974)
  • The Muppet Show: ... (1975)
  • Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas (1977)
  • The Muppets Go Hollywood (1979)
  • John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together (1979)
  • The Muppets Go to the Movies (1981)
  • Of Muppets and Men (1981)
  • The Fantastic Miss Piggy Show (1982)
  • Rocky Mountain Holiday (1983)
  • The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years (1986)
  • The Tale of the Bunny Picnic (1986)
  • The Christmas Toy (1986)
  • A Muppet Family Christmas (1987)
  • Sesame Street... 20 Years & Still Counting (1989)
  • The Muppets at Walt Disney World (1990)
  • The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson (1990)
  • Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree (1995)


  • Jim Henson Play-Along Video (1988)
  • Muppet Sing Alongs
    • Billy Bunny's Animal Songs (1993)
    • It's Not Easy Being Green (1994)
    • Muppet Treasure Island Sing Along (1996)
    • Things That Fly (1996)
  • Muppet Classic Theater (1994)
  • Jim Henson's Preschool Collection (1995)
    • Mother Goose Stories: Humpty Dumpty
    • Mother Goose Stories: Mary Had a Little Lamb
    • Muppets on Wheels
    • Yes, I Can Be a Friend
    • Yes, I Can Learn
    • Yes, I Can Help
  • Kermit's Swamp Years (2002)

Web content

  • The Skrumps (2007)
  • The Sam Plenty Cavalcade of Action Show Plus Singing! (2008)

Henson Alternative

The following list contains projects of The Jim Henson Company under its Henson Alternative banner.


Title Release date Production partners Distributor
The Happytime Murders August 24, 2018
STX Entertainment

Television series

The first eight series are produced under its Henson Alternative banner exclusively in North America before premiering worldwide in 2015.

  • Tinseltown (2007)
  • Alt/Reality (2010-2011)
  • Simian Undercover Detective Squad (2012)
  • Late Night Buffet with Augie and Del (2006)
  • Del's Vegas Comedy Binge (2007)
  • Late Night Liars (2010)
  • Marvin E. Quasniki for President (2011–12)
  • Neil's Puppet Dreams (2012–13)
  • Ketchup with the Hot Dogs (2013–14)
  • Good Morning Today (2013–14)
  • No, You Shut Up! (2013–2016)
  • The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell (2018)

Stage shows

  • Puppet Up! - Uncensored (2006–present)
    • Stuffed and Unstrung (2010-2013)

Other productions

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: The Jim Henson Company para niños

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