BBC working with Muppets creators on puppet chat show
The BBC is working with the production company behind The Muppets to create a Saturday teatime chat show to be fronted by a new puppet.
A BBC spokesman said they were looking for "a warm, funny, cheeky, Saturday night host".
A pilot episode of the show - working title No Strings Attached - is to be created with The Jim Henson Company.
The BBC said it was "early doors" but it had "high hopes" for the project. A series could appear on BBC One in 2013.
BBC executive editor for entertainment, Karl Warner, said the show would be "firmly anchored in the world of the chat show".
Once The Jim Henson Company has created a series of new puppets for the project, which could also feature sketches and games, a non-broadcast pilot will be made.
"The Muppets were a massive phenomenon and nobody seems to have been developing anything in this area for a long time," said Warner.
He added that the Jim Henson company had "shown us some puppets and their versatility is very exciting".
Walt Disney bought the rights to the Muppet Show characters in 2004.
Meanwhile, a sequel to film The Muppets is to be made after a deal was struck between its director James Bobin and co-writer Nicholas Stoller,according to US entertainment website Vulture.
But the new film will not feature Stoller's The Muppets co-writer Jason Segel, Vulture reported.
Speaking to the BBC News website earlier this year, Bobin said the door was open for a possible return of The Muppet Show to TV.
"The film sort of ends with a half-hour new Muppet Show, which proves we can do it.
"And so I would love to think we would give it a shot at some point in the future."
Asked if he would direct it, Bobin said: "Maybe, we'll see."
Kermit the Frog, speaking in the same interview, said: "I don't know - it's not entirely up to us.
"We are now a wholly-owned subsidiary of a very large corporation.
"If I had my legs, you'd see a copyright on the bottom of my foot."
Some 120 full episodes were made of The Muppet Show, which originally ran in the US from September 1976 to March 1981.