Disney+ is teaming with The Jim Henson Company on what they describe as an “out-of-this-world” talk show. The upcoming streaming service has given a series order to Earth To Ned, a comedic half-hour in which Ned, a blue-skinned alien, and his lieutenant Cornelius, interview celebrity guests, Deadline has confirmed. The series will stream exclusively on Disney+ in 2020.
As described by Disney+ and The Jim Henson Company: “The comedic half-hour series follows Ned, a blue-skinned alien and his lieutenant Cornelius, who were sent to scout Earth for an eventual invasion – but instead became obsessed with our popular culture. Now, they host a talk show, broadcast from the bridge of their spaceship hidden deep underground, where they interview our most precious commodity, celebrities, to talk about Ned’s current pop culture obsessions. Ned will be bringing real-life celebrity guests to his ship from across the known universe and interviewing them, late night talk show style, in hopes of producing the ultimate talk show – making Ned a celebrity and putting him further off mission. And the more Ned learns about our human culture, the more obsessed he becomes.”
Earth to Ned is produced by The Jim Henson Company and Marwar Junction Productions. The series is executive produced by Brian Henson and Vince Raisa from The Jim Henson Company and Joseph Freed and Allison Berkley from Marwar Junction Productions. Ned, Cornelius, their Artificial Intelligence BETI, and army of “Clods” (cloned living objects of destruction) are brought to life by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop (Netflix’s Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance).
The series greenlight comes just over a month after Disney+ opted not to move forward with Muppets Live Another Day, its scripted comedy series project written/executive produced by Frozen star Josh Gad and Once Upon a Time creators Adam Horowitz and Eddy Kitsis.
“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,” said Dan Silver, vice president, Originals – Unscripted Content, Disney+. “We’re lucky to have the talents of The Jim Henson Company 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.”
“Earth To Ned is what happens when a very traditional television format gets completely turned on its head, resulting in a wholly original talk show starring some of the most complex puppets we have ever created,” said Brian Henson, executive producer and Chair of The Jim Henson Company. “Our alien host Ned adores and embraces everything about Earthlings – including our quirks, and even our flaws. I think adults will especially appreciate his positive view of our world, which makes our show stand out in today’s often cynical TV landscape.”
“Every time someone launches a new talk show they say it’s unlike anything viewers have seen before. That might finally be true,” said Joseph Freed, executive producer and president of Marwar Junction Productions.
Earth To Ned joins Disney+’s nonfiction slate which includes The World According to Jeff Goldblum from National Geographic, Encore! executive produced by Kristen Bell, and the Marvel Entertainment series Marvel’s Hero Project.
The Hollywood Reporter was first to report on the new series.