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Apple orders 'Fraggle Rock' reboot for Apple TV+, buys streaming rights to back catalog [u]

Classic children's television series "Fraggle Rock" has found a new home on Apple TV+, with the tech giant buying streaming rights to all classic episodes and ordering a reboot that will include full-length installments.

Apple struck a deal with the Jim Henson Company to produce new episodes of the beloved kids' show that will air on Apple TV+, reports Vulture. Original puppet characters Gobo, Red, Boober, Mokey, Wembley and Uncle Travelling Matt are set to star in the series.

As part of the arrangement, Apple purchased exclusive streaming rights to 96 episodes of the original series that aired from 1983 to 1987. The company's thinking on the acquisition — its first for previously filmed and aired content — is that viewers will be able to watch all live-action "Fraggle" episodes in one place instead of going through previous owner HBO, according to people familiar with the matter.

While not initially persuaded by a pitch from Henson executives to bundle old with new, Apple ultimately decided it made sense to consolidate the show's assets under one umbrella, sources said. The move makes Apple TV+ the de facto home of "Fraggle."

Apple's "Fraggle" back catalog will be available for streaming on Apple TV+ in 100 countries on Wednesday, May 27.

Vulture sources claim Apple is not eyeing a move into library curation, a strategy that Netflix and others leveraged to kick off the streaming revolution. Originals will continue to be the focus of Apple TV+, though the company is open to purchasing library titles if it plans to work on a new production related to existing property, the report said. A report last week claimed Apple is in talks with studios to fill out its Apple TV+ catalog with a library of older movies and series.

News of the "Fraggle" purchase and series order arrives weeks after Apple debuted the shot on iPhone "Fraggle Rock: Rock On" special, a series of mini-episodes that deal in part with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The show's finale, which debuted on Tuesday, features notable special guests including Alanis Morissette, Common, Tiffany Haddish, Neil Patrick Harris, Ziggy Marley and Jason Mraz.

Update: Apple confirmed the new series in a tweet on Tuesday.