By December 1975, Jim was on the verge of production of his own prime time Muppet series. The year had started with post-production and a March airing of his Muppet Show pilot Sex and Violence, and his Land of Gorch characters began appearing on Saturday Night Live that October. He made a deal with Lord Lew Grade and his ATV Company in London to produce The Muppet Show, and plans were in the works for a January 1976 shoot of the first two episodes.
Between a trip to London with his agent Bernie Brillstein and producer David Lazer to set up the show and a trip to Vermont to ski with his family, Jim met freelance magazine writer Henry Weil at NBC’s SNL studios at Rockefeller Center and at the Muppet offices and workshop on East 67th Street. Their conversations and Weil’s observations became the cover story for the March 1976 Eastern Airlines’ magazine Pastimes, profiling Jim’s twenty years in the business and anticipating the explosion of media interest on the horizon.