Muppets Take Tokyo


Even now, somewhere in Tokyo, Japanese Muppeteers are being trained to tickle kids fancies with Elmo or munch cookies as Cookie Monster.

A Japanese version of Sesame Street will launch on TV Tokyo in October 2004, Sesame Workshop said today. The initial flight of big Bird and company (though we guess Big Bird is flightless) will be 104 half-hours over two seasons. The workshop will also create some new Japanese-themed Muppets for the show, though none are yet in hand.

Kevin Clash, the man behind Elmo, has been in Tokyo for the past couple of weeks picking and training his opposite numbers, according to a workshop spokeswoman.

The U.S. version of Sesame Street has been airing on Japan's NHK for the past 25 years (there is also a theme park), but NHK didn't want to produce the new series and TV Tokyo did, said the spokeswoman. NHK's license to run the U.S. version is up this summer and is not being renewed.