Shock in the world of 'The Muppets' as Whitmire unexpectedly departs.
For only the third time since the 50s, a new actor is taking over as the voice of 'The Muppets' favourite Kermit the Frog. Matt Vogel will become the new permanent puppeteer, having worked with the Jim Henson Company since the 1990s. It's unlikely you would notice the change, however.
Kermit the Frog at 'Muppets Most Wanted' premiere
For the last few weeks, a number of characters who are voiced by Steve Whitmire - including Kermit himself - have not been making appearances on 'Muppet Thought of the Week', leading to reports that he had left the show. Now it seems that the news has been confirmed, and his replacement is Muppets veteran 46-year-old Matt Vogel.
He will be making his first appearance on 'Muppets Thought of the Week' next week, though it is unlikely you will be able to spot any difference to the actual voice. After all, Matt has been lauded over the years for his ability to mimic, having seamlessly picked up Big Bird from time to time from Caroll Spinney - most notably with the 'Journey to Ernie' segments on 'Sesame Street from 2006.
He was even selected by Jerry Nelson to take over Nelson's characters of Floyd Pepper, Lew Zealand, Crazy Harry, Robin the Frog and Camilla the Chicken following his death from 2008. He has also done Count von Count from 'Sesame Street' and a variety of other popular characters, including in the most recent movie 'Muppets Most Wanted' (2014).
Steve Whitmire has been a part of the Muppets family since 1978, and he was chosen by Jim Henson's son Brian to take over as Kermit after his death in 1990. Little is known about the reason for his departure, but at 57-years-old, perhaps he just fancied an early retirement. Both The Muppets Studio and Whitmire himself have either declined or have been unavailable for comment.
So, after 27 years, the question is: are we ready for another Kermit?