The Jim Henson Company is an American entertainment company, involved in the production of children's and family entertainment for more than five decades, and best known as the creators of the renowned Muppets characters. Founded in 1958 by puppeteer Jim Henson and his performing partner and future wife Jane Henson, the company is independently owned and operated by the children of its founders.
Henson has produced many successful television series including The Muppet Show, Jim Henson's Muppet Babies, Fraggle Rock, Farscape, and Bear in the Big Blue House, and created the Muppet characters for the long-running PBS television series, Sesame Street, produced by Sesame Workshop. The company has also produced many films, including The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth. Henson also operates Jim Henson's Creature Shop, a puppet, animatronics, and visual effects workshop, which has created characters and effects for Henson productions, as well as outside producers.
In 1989, the company entered merger negotiations with The Walt Disney Company, but the deal fell through following Jim Henson's unexpected death in 1990. Following Henson's death and the collapse of the Disney merger, the company was taken over by Henson's children, Brian, Lisa, Cheryl, John and Heather, with Brian at the helm. In 2000, The Jim Henson Company was sold to EM.TV & Merchandising AG, a German media company, but by the end of 2000, EM.TV's stock collapsed, and the Henson Company was sold back to the Henson family in 2003. In 2004, Henson sold the rights to The Muppets and Bear in the Big Blue House to The Walt Disney Company, but retains the rights to the rest of its characters, program library, and assets. As of 2014, Brian, Lisa, Cheryl, and Heather Henson run the company. Brian Henson serves as chairman of The Jim Henson Company, while Lisa Henson serves as CEO.