Ron Howard & Disney Releasing New Documentary on Jim Henson

The Muppet Show Jim Henson, Kermit the Frog, 1980
Everett Collection

Muppet fans, this one is for you. The man behind the Muppets, Jim Henson, is getting a new documentary called Jim Henson: Idea Man. Directed by Ron Howard, the film will debut on Disney+ on May 31, 2024. The film received a blessing from the Henson family and access to his personal archives including photographs, diaries, home movies, and sketches. It will also feature interviews with Henson’s longtime collaborator Frank Oz and Henson’s children.

Idea Man promises to take viewers “into the mind of this singular creative visionary, from his early years puppeteering on local television to the worldwide success of ‘Sesame Street,’ ‘The Muppet Show,’ and beyond.” The Henson family added, “It will be thrilling to see the story that emerges from these materials in the hands of a truly great filmmaker like Ron Howard, who has the perfect spirit and personality to tell Jim Henson’s story.”

Jim Henson Idea Man documentary


The documentary will showcase many of his puppets but overall will center around Henson’s life and career. His daughter and now CEO of the Jim Henson Company, Lisa Henson said that she hopes the documentary can help fans get to know him as a person and not just the creator of the Muppets. She shared, “If there was going to be a definitive documentary about Jim Henson, we had hoped it would be in the hands of an accomplished filmmaker. Ron Howard is both a creative and personality match for my father, unlike anyone else we could have contemplated.”

The Dark Crystal producer, director, screenwriter Jim Henson, on-set, 1982

Universal Pictures/Everett Collection

While Howard admitted that he did not know much about Henson when he decided to take on the project, he was inspired by Henson’s “restless creativity.” He said, “It was sort of anarchy on the outside, but underneath it, there was always a smart idea—a witty point to make, an observation about the world. To see that evolve through the medium of puppetry and television, and then on into movies, was so interesting to me. I felt like you could actually observe a lot about entertainment, what entertains us and why, through his journey.”

The Muppet Show Kermit the frog, and Jim Henson the human, 1976-1981

Everett Collection

Sadly, Henson passed away in 1990. Just before his death, he was in talks to sell his company to The Walt Disney Company but talks fell through after his death. Even so, he is always tied to Disney because of the Muppets, who still have a strong fanbase.

Kid Stuff
Want More?

Kid Stuff

June 2018

Unleash your inner child by reliving your favorite kids TV shows, cartoons, toys and more!

Buy This Issue