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Fremantle, Gaiman, the Jim Henson Company partner for The Storyteller series

As a child of the ‘80s who was more or less raised on the works of Jim Henson and his talented team of puppeteers, I’m always excited to learn that yet another of the Muppets creative’s timeless endeavors is set to return for more magical mayhem on the big or small screen. Today, Fremantle has announced that they’re partnering with The Jim Henson Company and iconic fantasy author Neil Gaiman for a reimagined version of Jim Henson’s iconic ‘80s anthology series The Storyteller for television.

As a master of delivering fresh takes on folklore and mythology to the masses, Gaiman has served as a monument to creativity throughout most of his illustrious career as an award-winning novelist. Now, Gaiman will lend his refined talents to The Storyteller as the projects writer and executive producer. As per Fremantle’s press release related to this exciting announcement, THE STORYTELLER will create a mystical world combining various fairy tales and folklore that have been passed down from generation to generation, designed for today’s co-viewing audience.

As the story goes, Henson created the original version of The Storyteller in 1987 after being inspired by his daughter Lisa’s university studies in folklore and mythology. In addition to creating the property, Henson also directed several episodes of the show that combined top-notch talent both in front of and behind the camera. Oscar-winner Anthony Minghella wrote all of the episodes, while Henson’s Creature Workshop (famously known for their work on films such as LABYRINTH and THE DARK CRYSTAL) brought the critters and chaos of The Storyteller to life on screen. The world of The Storyteller was inhabited by various mystical and magical characters – heartless giants, enchanted beggars, white lions and human hedgehogs – exploring themes such as fear, desire, death and destiny, and challenging notions about good and evil.

The Storyteller, Jim Henson, Neil Gaiman

The Storyteller, Jim Henson, Neil Gaiman

The Storyteller, Jim Henson, Neil Gaiman

“There is currently nothing like The Storyteller in the television landscape and the themes these stories will explore are even more critically important today,” said Dante Di Loreto, President of Scripted Entertainment, Fremantle, North America. “We are honored to be working with Lisa Henson and her illustrious company to bring their esteemed property back to television, and to be yet again partnering with Neil on another project that will further showcase his brilliant narrative power.”

“The Storyteller has been a longtime favorite for our fans who appreciate the beautiful artistry and faithful visualizing of these classic tales.  It has always been a special project for me as well, having worked so closely with my dad on the original concept,” said Lisa Henson, CEO of The Jim Henson Company. Neil Gaiman is an expert in traditional folklore and mythology, in addition to himself being the modern ‘storyteller’ for our times.  It is especially exciting to have Neil’s reimagining of the series brought to life by our Creature Shop, allowing us to share these classic stories with a whole new audience all around the world.” 

Jim Henson was always ahead of his time,” said Neil Gaiman. “He found ways to retell folk and fairy tales for a televisual generation. The original The Storyteller was a brilliantly written, directed and told set of stories. It's a terrifying and inspiring task to reinvent what Jim Henson did for the golden age of television we are in right now, and I'm honored that The Jim Henson Company would entrust me with the task of bringing back the storyteller and his magical stories, and sending him out into the world for a whole new round of tales.”

“We would love to have John Hurt as our Storyteller, but alas, he’s no longer with us. But absolutely the actors from the original Storyteller series, bringing them back would be a marvelous thing to do, and we really did have the cream of the crop,” Gaiman added.

Over the past several years, Jim Henson's The Storyteller has enjoyed a tremendous resurgence thanks in-part to comic book publishers Archaia and BOOM! Studios. Boasting an awe-inspiring roster of talent, Archaia/BOOM! have released a series of comics and graphic novels set in Henson's The Storyteller universe, such as The Storyteller: Witches, The Storyteller: Sirens, The Storyteller: Fairies, The Storyteller: Giants series. Each collection explores the many creatures, locales, and enigmatic themes of The Storyteller universe, making certain that all things magical remain in the eyes and hearts of today's youth and beyond.

The Storyteller will be produced by Fremantle in association with The Jim Henson Company, with Lisa Henson serving as executive producer and Blanca Lista as co-executive producer.

Source: Fremantle

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