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'Wizard of Oz' Gets Muppetized

Follow the Road of Yellow Brick.

It's not an English-as-a-second-language exam. It's actually a line in "The Muppets' Wonderful Wizard of Oz," (search) airing Friday night at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC.

The phrasing is to prove that the TV movie is not based on the 1939 Judy Garland classic film.

Rather, it's based on the children's book written by L. Frank Baum (search), meaning that a lot of things you remember from the movie aren't there. For instance, Dorothy wears silver slippers, not ruby ones.

And, oh yeah, the singing Muppets.

The movie stars Ashanti (search), who won a Grammy in 2002, as Dorothy, surrounded by Muppets, including Kermit the Frog playing the Scarecrow and Miss Piggy playing all four witches — yes, in the book, there were four.

Fozzie Bear plays the Lion looking for courage, and The Great Gonzo plays the Tin Thing (beak and all) in search of a heart.

For the adults, there's a Quentin Tarantino (search) cameo, and Queen Latifah plays Dorothy's Auntie Em.

This isn't the first time Muppets have taken over a previously filmed story. In 1992, they made "The Muppet Christmas Carol" (with Kermit and Miss Piggy as Mr. and Mrs. Bob Cratchit) and in 1996, there was "Muppet Treasure Island," where Kermit battles pirates as Captain Smollett.

Those movies had pretty good music, too — Ziggy Marley is on the soundtrack for "Treasure Island" — but doing the "Wizard of Oz" provides a great excuse for the felt-y group to revive some old chestnuts, "It's Not Easy Bein' Green" and "The Rainbow Connection."