The Muppets are an American ensemble cast of puppet characters known for an absurdist, burlesque, and self-referential style of variety-sketch comedy. Created by Jim Henson in 1955, they are the focus of a media franchise that encompasses television, film, music, and other media associated with the characters. Originally owned by the Jim Henson Company for nearly five decades, the franchise was purchased by the Walt Disney Company in 2004.
The Muppets originated in the short-form television series Sam and Friends, which aired on WRC-TV and in syndication from 1955 to 1961. Following appearances on late-night talk shows and in advertising during the 1960s, the Muppets began appearing on the PBS children's television program Sesame Street (1969–present) during their formative years and attained celebrity status and international recognition through The Muppet Show (1976–1981), their flagship sketch comedy television series that received four Primetime Emmy Award wins and 21 nominations