The legacy of late night talk show hosts and their sidekicks shines with bright, iconic comedy talent. Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon. Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter. Now, as reported by Deadline, Disney+ and The Jim Henson Company have a new twosome to add to the pantheon: Ned and Lieutenant Cornelius. Oh, you’ve not heard of them? That’s because they’re alien puppets. At one point, they were given the task to destroy and take over Earth. Instead — they’re interviewing Earth’s celebrities. That is the irresistibly odd premise at the center of Earth to Ted.
Not since Space Ghost Coast to Coast have we seen a comedic talk show framed around a fictional creation eager to understand human beings’ quirks and behaviors. Earth to Ted promises to add to that conversation, featuring real-life celebrities interacting with the sure-to-be wacky Ned and Cornelius. The puppet creations, unsurprisingly given their Jim Henson pedigree, are astonishingly beautiful, and we can’t wait to see the personalities and potentially awkward interviews play out in their environments. “Disney has a long history of giving audiences a glimpse at faraway lands and bringing new talent into the spotlight,” said Dan Silver, VP of Unscripted Content at Disney+. “We believe Ned is next in line…And I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank Ned for promising to entertain us, rather than destroy us all.” Us too, Dan Silver! Us too!
It won’t just be Ned and Cornelius entertaining their guests (and us). They’re joined by an artificial intelligence system named BETI, and a group of “cloned living objects of destruction,” or CLODs. Every single new detail learned about the show makes it sound like a truly unique entry into the talk show world — and that’s precisely the goal of Brian Henson, chair of the Jim Henson Company.
Earth To Ned is what happens when a very traditional television format gets completely turned on its head, resulting in a wholly original talk show starring some of the most complex puppets we have ever created. Our alien host Ned adores and embraces everything about Earthlings – including our quirks, and even our flaws. I think adults will especially appreciate his positive view of our world, which makes our show stand out in today’s often cynical TV landscape.
If Earth to Ned sounds like your cup of tea, be on the lookout for the Disney+ series premiere some time in 2020. The official synopsis for the series is below. And for more on Disney+, here’s what else you can watch on the service.
The comedic half-hour series follows Ned, a blue-skinned alien and his lieutenant Cornelius, who were sent to scout Earth for an eventual invasion – but instead became obsessed with our popular culture. Now, they host a talk show, broadcast from the bridge of their spaceship hidden deep underground, where they interview our most precious commodity, celebrities, to talk about Ned’s current pop culture obsessions. Ned will be bringing real-life celebrity guests to his ship from across the known universe and interviewing them, late night talk show style, in hopes of producing the ultimate talk show – making Ned a celebrity and putting him further off mission. And the more Ned learns about our human culture, the more obsessed he becomes.