When Jim went to Los Angeles in August 1974, he was in the midst of negotiations for an exclusive development deal with ABC. His Valentine Special had aired on the network that January garnering nice reviews, and in March, he and his representative, Bernie Brillstein, had met with ABC President, Martin Starger. A couple years before, Jim had won over ABC programming executive Michael Eisner, paving the way for the special. Now, Jim and Brillstein were working every angle to try to convince the network that a Muppet series was a good idea. Starger was clearly impressed with Jim, setting up the August 5th meeting with another ABC executive, Brandon Stoddard. It was a success, and ABC signed the exclusive deal a week later. A week after that, Jim met with yet another ABC executive, Squire Rushnell, to start pitching specific programming ideas. ABC aired a Herb Alpert special featuring the Muppets (and the first appearance of Miss Piggy) that fall and then in March 1975, The Muppet Show pilot. Despite Jim’s getting to know what seemed like the entire executive population at ABC, the network failed to green light a Muppet series and Jim moved on to CBS.
In June 1965, 28-year-old Jim Henson started a written log of his activities in what became known as “The Red Book.” He noted down what had happened up until that point (deemed “Ancient History”) and then recorded anything that he felt was worth recording as single line journal entries until the end of 1988.
Selected curated entries courtesy of The Jim Henson Company Archives.